The London Paper – 19 Nov 2007
‘Rule number one, you don’t get caught’. That’s what my first City guru told me when we discussed the pros and cons of having an office affair. He had preceded this simple advice by telling me that generally ‘you shouldn’t piss on your own chips’ which I think was a somewhat impolite way of saying that it ain’t wise to dip your nip in the company ink.
I have adhered to these wise words for over a decade … that is until last week. Rules are, after all, meant to be broken. The problem is that there’s a very good reason why having extra-curricular activities at an investment bank is generally deemed an unwise move. Office affairs usually end in tears and when that happens it could be goodnight Vienna to your extremely lucrative career.
It was after an office piss-up that the misdemeanour occurred. I’d told a colleague that I’d fancied this particular lady many months ago but had forgotten all about it. He had, of course, informed her of this. After a Bacchanalian knees-up at a City bar it was, as always, the lady who took control. Following a bit of playground flirting we went out for a cigarette and before you could say ‘lawsuit’ she was all over me like a bad rash, your honour. Soon the little head was telling the big head what to do and the rest is history.
The problem is that my experience with the fairer sex suggests that Hell really does have no fury like a woman scorned. Assuming that this affair ends in tears, which it inevitably will considering how absurdly incompatible we are, then its only tangible outcome will be pissing off this particular lady who works about forty feet away from me.
Of course, since the transgression we have done everything to avoid giving the gossip-mongers any clues as to what happened. We carefully staggered our entry into the building on the morning after and have studiously avoided eye contact ever since. Fortunately for me, she’s in America this week and hence things can simmer down.
Unfortunately, the one conversation that me and ‘Mrs Jones’ had in the canteen suggested I may have a proper bunny boiler on my hands. I’ve personally never been referred to as ‘my horny little hobgoblin’ before and her eyes were darting around liked she’d just hoofed about four grams of gak. If she is a nutter then the chances of this ending happily are akin to Gary Glitter’s chances of becoming a primary school teacher.
Affairs in the City are commonplace because we work such preposterously long hours and have so little time to spend our vast fortunes that we sometimes feel as if we are just pissing our life away. There’s nothing like a cheeky shag to remind us that we’re not just career-orientated robots sleepwalking to death.
We financial analysts’ main job is to assess risk and reward. Only time will tell if this particular risk really was worth the reward or whether I should have listened to my old guru’s wise words all those years ago.