Leaving Drinks

The London Paper  –  11 Feb 2008

And so it begins. At banks across the City unfortunates who have recently been informed that they’re getting a doughnut (e.g. a zero bonus) are quitting their jobs. These comedians have no incentive to wait until pay day and some like to show their disgust with a melodramatic gesture. On receiving the bad news they slam the door to their boss’ office with righteous indignation, immediately pack their things and mince their way across the trading floor with a campness that Alan Carr would deem excessive. It was a drinks hosted by such a loser, sorry I mean leaver, that I went to last week.

There is a sick tradition in the City … in fact there are many. But I’m not discussing well-known City customs such as the ruthless exploitation of the workers or the unrelenting rape of our once-beautiful planet. No, the practice I refer to is the one whereby the person who’s leaving a bank has to host a leaving drinks, invite pretty much everyone he’s ever met AND pay for all the booze. Of course, as with all City customs, there is a degree of self-interest. All Cityboys knows that you must pretend to be everyone’s best mate no matter how repellent they actually are because that colleague you’re leaving may one day turn up as your boss or client. Thus smarmy smiles and disingenuous nonsense are always on the menu in the Square Mile.

Anyway, this particular loser/leaver didn’t just get a doughnut, he neglected to secure another job to go to. Perhaps he should have considered this fact before he waltzed off in his petulant huff. Still, you might have thought that we rich, employed ‘winners’ who’d just received our bonuses would take pity on his disappointing financial circumstances and desist from demanding that ancient traditions were adhered to.

You might … but you’d be 100% wrong. We rinsed that poor (and soon to be even poorer) man for every penny we could. Endless rounds of expensive cocktails and magnums of shampoo were all consumed with impunity. Not only that but he had made the schoolboy error of hosting his mournful soiree on a Friday, which meant that there were shed-loads of liggers and that some of us stayed out drinking with his cash until closing time. I didn’t see the bill but my name’s Bob Hope if that clown wasn’t well over a grand out of pocket by the end of proceedings.

Optimists may claim that what happened was a pleasing example of traditions being maintained. In reality, it simply reflected the fact that we Cityboys are generally selfish, greedy tossers who couldn’t give a rat’s arse for the plight of our fellow man. What loser-boy’s experience revealed once again was that the rich stay rich by seizing every opportunity to get ahead on the deal and never allowing silly things like compassion to cloud their judgement.

There’s a moral somewhere there … I’m just not sure what it is.

Thoughts ?

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