Leaving your job for a zero salary - it mostly sucks

Bravery is when you have precious little in the bank, and you get shoved out on the street through no fault of your own.

How I laughed at the latest account of a senior banker who left the City a few years ago to start a tech firm.

And how I grimaced at the 42 year old’s comments that he just loves what he’s doing now - it’s his show - and he feels he’s making a difference.

I know, I know, it’s all sour grapes on my part and I should be applauding from the side-lines and shouting 'jolly good show'. But there’s a competitive side to me that frankly hates it when overpaid former heads of desks can afford to leave their seven figure salaries to risk their savings on a risky venture.

You see most of us will never even get a sniff of a seven figure salary - that’s over a million to you and me. In fact I reckon that of the people reading this article, there will not be one who is paid seven figures, and there will probably be very many earning under £50,000. This is not to criticise. Far from it. I know only too well how hard it is to make ends meet on a low six figure salary - let alone the five figure variety - especially if you have kids and are living in London.

No, what gets me is the blithe acceptance that there are many bankers who’ve coined in the millions year after year, and that somehow this great, bright future awaits all of us, after it’s all over. Well that's simply not the case.

You need to have a seriously huge nest egg to live and work in London on zero salary, not to mention the capital outlay to launch a new business. Bravery is when you have precious little in the bank, and you get shoved out on the street through no fault of your own, and you still manage to keep yourself motivated, and land a new job.

Let’s also mention the extent of 'savings' while we’re at it. People who have earned big year after year generally have the sort of nest egg and property holdings with low mortgages that would make most of us wince. People like that never risk all their savings because they don’t have to. They are well connected, and they have assets to back up their borrowings.

I know it doesn’t make as good copy, but sometimes I just wish they’d write about the other 99.9% who don’t get to choose what they do next - and certainly have no say in the time of their going. Not everyone in banking is a whizz kid success story. If I was, I too would have got out of this merry game years ago!

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