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What to do when a job description goes south

By Jonathan Breen
03 Oct 2019

An evening at Captain’s Bar always provides me with an endless source of gossip, anecdotes and entertainment. This week proved as reliable as ever, when I took up my perch with my usual glass of whisky.

In came a young-ish guy in a suit, face flushed, eyes wide and glassy, as he made a beeline for the bar. One look, and I knew he had a good story to tell.

I wasn’t wrong, as the chap obviously needed someone to offload to, and I was happy to lend an ear. It appeared he had had the worst, most embarrassing, day of his banking career.

This chap had recently been asked to relocate to Hong Kong from his bank’s European headquarters and somehow got it into his head that he was being flown out to take charge of a considerable chunk of the firm’s Asia capital markets business.

So naturally, head held high, he swiftly went about town introducing himself and not-so-subtly bragging about his new position in the way bankers are so good at. But little did the poor chap know he was not being asked to head up the Asia team. Instead, he was being asked to lead the, much smaller, south Asia business.

But that wasn’t the worst of it. Most of the bankers he had met in Hong Kong knew what his actual job was going to be, but instead of setting him straight, opted simply to string him along.

The evening I met him, he had come to the bar straight after his boss had found out what he was doing and enlightened him as to the truth. Luckily, the chap was finding the positives in the “new” job description, pointing out that the slower nature of the market would allow him more time at the pub. We drank to that.

By Jonathan Breen
03 Oct 2019