The London Paper – 26 Nov 2007
‘Don’t hate the player, hate the game’ said my smug old school-friend – a broker at Goldman Sachs who I’ve always had an unhealthily competitive relationship with. I still have no idea what the hell that means and all it did was irritate me further. I was already fuming after he had told me over a quiet drink at ‘The Fine Line’ about how his bonus was going to be just fabadabadozy. He knew damn well that the sub-prime crisis condemned me and many other bankers to getting shafted this year and even ordered a vintage bottle of shampoo just to rub my nose in it.
You’ve got to hand it to those boys at Goldman Sucks – they keep pulling it out the bag year in, year out. Whilst the likes of Citigroup and Merrill Lynch have been revealing ever bigger losses due to lending money to poverty-stricken yanks those smart chaps at Goldmans actually made money by taking a bet that the US housing market would go Pete Tong. The clever bastards! Apparently, their bonus pool for 2007 is going to be so massive it could literally fund the entire Chinese army. All my colleagues are hideously jealous.
Now I don’t want to appear bitter, jealous or insecure (all of which, of course, I am) but there’s a damn good reason why those jokers over at Fleet Street keep laughing all the way to the bank: THEY HAVE NO LIFE. These characters work all hours God sends and then some. They have been moulded by the Goldmans machine into personality-less automatons through a long and deeply tedious induction programme and an insidious culture of conformity. Apparently, when you leave you have to be de-programmed like a Moonie.
However, even more worrying is the (probably apocryphal) rumour that the Goldman’s HR department have a remit to look for CVs from graduates who ‘were probably bullied at school’. The concept is that these insecure characters will have the necessary drive to make them willing to throw away the best years of their lives so they can prove to themselves, and the demons that still plague them, that they have ‘made it’. Only the dream of driving a Ferrari with a blond in the passenger seat around the estates of their former tormenters shouting ‘Can you see? I’m somebody now!’ can explain working 70+ hours a week on pointless horseshit.
I know my bonus is going to be rubbish and that those for the Goldman boys are going to be sweet as a nut. If the only comfort I can take from this situation is that they are all no-life losers who will wake up on their fortieth birthday ready to slit their wrists then that’s what I’ll have to tell myself. Apparently ‘you can’t be envious and happy at the same time’ but who’s envious when the price you pay for the life you choose is such an onerous one? … well, apart from me that is.