Monday: What the Fuck have I done? This place is vast. In fact, vast doesn’t begin to do justice to the scale. Hundreds of people on desk after desk after desk.
Having come from a place where I know every body, every process, this is beyond terrifying. I’m supposed to be here to provide a one-stop shop for foreign offices who are growing tired of being bounced from one person to the next every time they have a query. On day one, I get lost going to the toilet, have to retrace my steps, and ask the nameless girl at the next terminal to me to direct me to the loo.
Go home very disturbedâ€¦
Tuesday: This is just like Merrill’s. Fourteen years ago, I left a vast, bloated, chaotic American Investment Bank to go to a small start-up Japanese CM Boutique. Guess what? This feels very much like the place I left half a lifetime ago. Of course, the difference now is that I’m being paid a vast salary, and am that little further up the food chain.
Still, there’s the gargantuan scale of the place, the daunting scope of the numerous problems, the incredible level of staff turnover at the lower levels (we’ll soon see what they’re like at the upper echelons!), and the fact that there are people, at several levels of the organisation, who don’t seem to be remotely bothered by any of it.
I’m asked, on day two, to help out with either the scarily large number of aged confirmation discrepancies or the similarly nightmarish situation on the Nostro accounts. I can choose my own poison. I choose Nostros.
They’re an absolute zoo. A rec report that looks like Baghdad AFTER the shock and awe had finished. It also becomes apparent that management aren’t too happy with the guy who’s managing the recs, and that I’m the blunt weapon they’re using to alter the situation.
Mind you, by Wednesday, I’m asking questions about the notes on the recs, and getting answers that make me think they might be right to worry: There seems to be a lot of stuff here that, under anything stronger than a cursory inspection, falls to pieces.
Still, where the fuck do I start? What am I doing here? I start at the beginning that’s where. And if you cant find the beginning? Start at a fixed point, and work outwards from there. What am I doing here? Working. It’s been so long since I felt this bizarre mixture of fear, excitement, disconcerting uncertainty, horror at the insanity of the situation, self-doubt and self-confidence. Of course the sudden reacquaintance with it is shocking, but what I’m doing here is what I said I wanted to do: I’m pushing myself…
Thursday & Friday: Long story short(ish): I’m here. It’s huge. And scary. I still don’t know whether I can do what needs to be done. But I know they think I can, and that’s a good start. I know more by Friday evening than I did on Monday morning, although I’m still several continents away from being anywhere near what I need to know. But hey, it took 14 years to know Capitalist Bastard Markets inside out. Let’s see what we can do at Feng Shui Bank in 14 weeks.
It’s worth a shot. And if all else fails, thanks to the success of the health and fitness regime, I can always become a go-go boy.