I’m leaving the trading floor after a long career. I’m done and dusted. Experienced just means old.
Maybe I’ll miss the camaraderie of the bond desk, but somehow I doubt it. I glance at my boss’s corner office, which looks like a Siberian ice cap on a winter’s evening - darkened, empty and unloved. A little bird told me he’s on his way out too - as have many others recently.
It’s highly ironic, because only recently I was being read my marching orders in that same office. Once you’ve been shown the door a few times in the banking world you get kind of blasé. It’s a bit like bonus time - only the pay out is now better. You know you’re going to get some kind of severance, and these days that’s a lot better than a non-existent bonus anyway.
‘You wouldn’t actually want me to offer you another year’s contact anyway,’ my boss quipped, in a sympathetic manner. ‘No fear!’ I replied, ‘ I really think I’m done with this lark after 30 years behind a screen.’
My friends are all telling me how darned liberating it’s going to be - no more stress. Of course it’s liberating going on an extended holiday, but it doesn’t pay the rent. Then people tell me how experienced I am and how there will be firms out there just gagging for my services. But, in my book, experienced just means old, and these days experience is outdated within a few years in any case. During the few interviews where I’ve used that term, I swear I’ve seen eye-balls rolling. My impassioned enthusiasm and knowledge is unfortunately no match for a full head of hair.
I don’t want to write any more about how tough the markets are, how jobs have changed, or how there's hardly any human interaction any more. That’s just embittered talk, and I’ve had a great innings.
‘A brilliant career,’ my boss called it over a few drinks one evening recenly. But that was when I was still enthused about things here, and so was he. His last piece of advice was succinct:
‘Don’t be bitter. Everyone in the market is just trying to make a buck. It’s not personal.’
How true. And here’s another truism - the dogs may bark, but the caravan moves on.