The London Paper – 21 April 2008
‘Hoist by our own petard’ must be the only conclusion now that it appears a racing certainty that serious job cuts are on the cards for we Cityboys. Last week the CEBR (a leading economics think-tank) published a report estimating that 20,000 jobs in the financial services industry (of 350,000) would be lost over this year and next. Most ordinary Londoners must be crying … with uncontrolled, hysterical laughter.
There is currently a real sense of disquiet around the Square Mile. Bankers have long ceased boasting about their potentially massive boners, sorry I mean bonuses, and instead have taken to wearing their long-forgotten brown underpants such are the current fears about being given the ‘Spanish Archer’ (el bow). Glum faces, gallows humour and short tempers look to be the order of the day for at least another 18 months. The only poor sods we feel able to laugh at are the recent batch of graduate trainees who, despite ‘only’ earning around £40K a year, are likely to be the first up against the wall if the age-old tradition of ‘last in first out’ is adhered to.
To say that bankers bought this on themselves may be a little harsh on those unsuspecting fools who slaved away last year blissfully unaware of what ‘sub-prime’ or ‘collateralized debt obligation’ meant. How those words are now imprinted on the brains of every poor drone who considers his bleak future! Our short-term greedy actions, or at least those of certain clowns who did ‘clever’ things with mortgage-backed securities, brought this current crisis about and no amount of BS can cover that up. We raked in the cash when the good times rolled and now, to quote Arnie, it’s payback time. I feel like we bankers are in a 16th century morality play where events brought about by own actions force us to ‘choose a godly life over one of evil’ (to quote Wikipedia’s definition).
Frankly, I say ‘BRING IT ON!’ Our bosses may well do me and my colleagues a favour by kicking us out. You need balls like watermelons to leave a lucrative job in the City so perhaps forced retirement will mean that certain gifted Cityboys can go off and do something more worthwhile with their lives – like helping save this much-abused planet.
I, for one, am considering pre-empting any potential nasty developments by knocking this career on the head and trying something different. They say that ‘everyone has a book in them’ and although for most people (e.g. Jeffrey Archer) that’s where it should stay, I’ve been busy writing an account of City life. I hope to blow the lid on the hideous goings on I’ve witnessed and do so before the contract killers are sent out to get me. Perhaps a new career beckons … it’s a long shot but it might just work!