Leaving office: The misery of a long handover
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Leaving office: The misery of a long handover

There are few unpleasant things that can trump having to watch someone else take your job.

When I was running Asian debt syndicate at a French bank many years ago — surrounded by people who treated drinking as a cultural experience, rather than an inevitable descent into tie-on-the-head, trying-to-start-a-rumba-on-the-trading-floor, chaos — I was told that my services were no longer required. (It might have had something to do with that failed rumba.)

At least, I would get some time off, eh? Alas, no. I was seen to be such a risible competitive threat to my overlords that I was asked to stay on until my successor could take over. Apparently, the idea that I might be able to use my notice period to steal clients, data or anything more than the stationery seemed laughable.

Knowing that I was to be replaced by someone considered more suitable to the job, and feeling aggrieved that my attempts to make cov-lite great again had basically failed, I decided to try to destablise things on my way out.

I gave a rousing speech to my few supporters — including a man in a Viking-style horned headdress — and encouraged them to raid our capital. When they actually did what I suggested, putting together trades that significantly depleted the capital position of la banque, I quickly realised the error of my ways. I condemned my former allies, made the man in the Viking costume cry, and thought about how I would spend my last days in the office.

The only thing left? A request for pardons. I asked all of my colleagues to excuse me for my bad behaviour over the years. They graciously forgave me, but I heard the same refrain time and time again: “You’re very entertaining, mon ami. But I’m not sure syndicate heads are supposed to be entertaining.”


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