Getting a job - the old-fashioned way

Bowler Hat

'I went to a reunion last week'.

Here's the latest from our Highly Placed Professional:

'It was my old first city firm - a now defunct Japanese bank where I was hired in the mid 80s as a 'trainee Eurobond salesman'.

These days, of course, MBA and Economics graduates would tear off their own right arms to get a job offer like that. In fact, jobs like that hardly exist in this day and age, as you have to do the hard graft of sucking up during summer internships, show your ardent interest in all things financial by organising odious investment clubs, and offering potential employers the perfect do-goody CV. If you are really lucky, you'll end up hired - but in this environment, chances are that you’ll be fired after a year or two anyway.

My first City boss gave me my chance:

'See you’ve been to good school. That’s good. Now tell me something, do you like a curry ?', he asked.

'Well yes, actually, I most certainly do - and lashings of lager too!', I replied with youthful impetuosity.

'And do you smoke at all?', he probed.

'No, sir. Hate the things'.

'Good, good. I’ve given up you see'.

My putative boss went on to explain to me what the bond sales job consisted of as if we were old mates and were already working together. My nerves steadied as I realised that the interview was going well. And I asked, as only a young buck will, if I could take a peek at the dealing floor.

'With the greatest pleasure, my lad', he chortled, 'But don’t go nicking the paintings!'.

And there I was last week, clinking glasses with this mythical figure from deep within my memory, who I hadn't seen in over 25 years (much to my shame).

And like the fool I am, I couldn’t resist asking him what he saw in me and why he had hired me all those years ago.

'Oh, it’s very simple', he replied, 'If I liked someone it was usually because they had some good qualities, and the City is hardly rocket science is it?!'.

And it really was that simple back then. The good old days; nostalgia isn't what it used to be!

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