meal

A hot meal...what's that?

Blessed are they who enjoy the luxury of savouring the taste of hot food after seeing steam rise from their plate. Verily, they belong to a class of people for whom time is no master. One may even say that they are quite privileged. Slave or no slave, much do they differ from the rare breed of women and men we know – personally, for those of us who are so lucky – as investment bankers.

Everyone of us is slave to at least one master in life. And a master no real banker takes lightly is time. It does not forgive, forget or fail.

From the moment an individual seals over his or her commitment to the bank via contract, joins a team and embarks on a journey into the corporate world’s greatest money making establishment, time will define his world. Soon after it may come to change everything about him or her.

Having a young army of energetic souls willing to sacrifice all of their waking hours to the service and pursuit of money certainly adds to an investment bank’s arsenal. However, the organization is able to deliver jaw-dropping results by also simultaneously pushing the limits of human productivity. Before joining an investment bank we see a boy who may be comfortable running around his neighbourhood for a half hour if he paces himself and breathes correctly. A few years into the job we encounter a man whose ambitions only Everest will satisfy. His ability to now achieve much more in a fraction of the time partly due to his growing respect for time.

Rise at 6 in the morning. Shower and dress rapidly. Rush to work. Don’t be late to your morning meeting. Finish the client presentation. Dial in to all the important calls. Meet clients. Send your loved one an I-miss-you SMS. As the list of priorities, tasks and objectives continually rises, so does the need to break down time into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Yet just as it takes time to tame a wild beast, it also takes time to appreciate the gravity of time itself, though of course time is a beast none can tame. [READ MORE…]

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Pulling a Stretch

There’s a lot of truth to the notion that a meal tastes even better when it’s free. While working in the bank many a meals were on the house. Stay past 8pm and you were entitled to a dinner, compliments of the company. This was one of the many perks which, collectively, keep you chained to the job.

Given a bank’s enormous budget, it didn’t really matter how much you spent on dinner when you worked late at the office. After all, it was normal for many bankers to spend thousands on drinks in one go while entertaining clients in nightclubs, restaurants and lounges. So what was £30 or $50 for dinner? Nothing really.

When it came to those long nights, which, to be perfectly honest, was the case 95% of the time, no expenses were spared. We’d head out somewhere nearby, often a sushi restaurant, and would order more than enough food. It wasn’t about how much room you think you had in your stomach as it was what you felt like seeing in front of you as you sat down to eat. Like a rich Gulf Arab at Harrods you grabbed whatever you liked. ‘Just order it’, we’d tell one another if someone’s eyes stayed fixated on a particular menu item longer than a split second. If you were undecided between two mains, you ordered both. Plain and simple.

[READ MORE…]

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