Since my career in the financial markets went belly up, I've been keeping a relatively low profile.
That's to say I haven't exactly been treading the City streets with my palms outstretched. I've come up to play a few games of squash and see a few old colleagues, but to be honest it just depresses me. It's always better to make a clean break in life, and an endless round of hastily gulped coffees with market mates anxious to get back to their desks has made me realise that I am in no way different than anyone else who has been laid-off - I'm soon yesterday's news.
Sadly, after my departure, I was soon to be found in the lobby of my old firm, relegated to a quick five minutes with whoever could be bothered to make it down to say a quick hello. I felt a stab of envy when those who had survived the latest pruning told me about business they were doing - especially if it was with my (former) clients! Interestingly, however, several of my former work colleagues appeared to be jealous of my new status - me apparently enjoying life on the outside! You couldn't make it up.
Now earlier in the week - when I was busy trying to get a new job - a text pinged on my phone: 'The Big Boss is no more. A nation mourns', it said. So no one is safe any more. Managers under pressure to cut costs make decisions about who to let go and restructure their businesses. But when they've done the dirty work, they in turn get canned. It's the law of the jungle - our kind of jungle, anyway.
The weird thing is I found myself being invited to this guy's leaving drinks: 'Come on mate, we'll have a laugh. It'll be like old times. A few pints, and good old moan!' Except I'm not part of the furniture there any more. Neither, of course, is he!
I'm having lunch with some of the other leavers soon, and I'm sure we'll slag off the old times and blame everyone and everything for our own demise. The guys who survived this latest cull, however, will now be employed and paid for the next few years - however grim the backdrop. Yet the survivors still complain about not being appreciated. They don't get it, do they ? Appreciation is for wimps these days - you just keep your head down and just get on with it. After all, anyone can lose their job at any time - I know a number of people who are living proof of that!
PS - Since writing this, our Highly Placed Professional has returned to the markets in gainful employment.