Mastering the ancient art of indolence
Back when I was an undergrad, the minute summer term came to an end, we’d be off to an exotic destination to sample the local delights.
When a chap finally got around to graduating with a third in classics or philosophy after three years of developing his beer tasting palate, his father would get him a job with the family bank or hong. Simple.
Now that we’re in the midst of Hong Kong’s sweaty summer months, banks are positively heaving with interns. Apparently, these identikit grunts are all studying tedious degrees like finance or business. Word has it that they’re labouring under the illusion that these subjects are in some way relevant to banking.
What a load of tosh! All that’s required is the ability to slip complex financial terms you don’t understand into conversation, outdrink the client, and not get caught photocopying certain parts of your anatomy after the Christmas party.
But now, in order to get a job after graduation, these sorry souls spend six weeks trying to look as busy as possible without actually doing anything more complicated than taking down the lunch order.
Which reminds me that with banks bulking up their compliance teams, no one can get any business done anyway. In fact, a chum tells me that you can barely visit the gents these days without getting sign-off from the chief legal counsel.
Mind you, I gather this intern thing is not all bad in an age where clients want somebody on the end of the phone at all hours of the day or night. It means you can leave the intern in charge to answer client calls while you’re living it up on holiday.