I wrote this last year after reading yet another bit in the daily papers that irritated me.
Sod off, City Boy
Right I read this in thelondonpaper on the way home and it’s really pissed me off.
Here goes (can’t find online so have to type it!) [Edit: emphasis added by me]
CITY OF GOD(LESS)
You can take the boy out of the church, but you cannot take the church out of the boy. Having had a religious upbringing, I’ve never doubted those sentiments and they were confirmed a few days ago when Lord Myners, the City Minister, said he had “found god” and was giving up his day job to study theology with a view to possible becoming ordained. Myners, who was brought up in a religious children’s home, said he may have “neglected” the moral purpose of his life and despaired that “money has become everything” for most people.
The spiritual conflict religious City boys experience when they enter the Square Mile is not to be dismissed lightly. Many well-meaning Godly types become stockbrokers hoping they can serve both the good Lord and Mammon (the false god of riches), but soon find things aren’t that easy.
The spiritual man will not thrive in the City as well as the ruthless, cynical man. You have to sell assets you don’t believe in, lie through your teeth to clients on a regular basis, and play office politics like a demon if you are to maximise your earnings potential. Insider trading, spreading false rumours and sticking £20 notes in strippers’ G-strings also generally do not sit comfortably with religious types*.
Myners is not the first City boy to seek more spiritual climes. In 1997 Jim O’Donnell, the then head of brokers HSBC James Capel, left to become a priest. Indeed, my own brother who secured me my first position at an investment bank left the City to join the clergy one year after I’d signed up. He is now a Baptist minister in Sicily. Ultimately he, too, could not reconcile his beliefs with his job.
Thank God I used to be an atheist! I succeeded in the City precisely because I had no such ethical reservations restricting my ambition. However, after a few years of raking it in, my religious upbringing did begin to nag at me. I became increasingly uncomfortable with the world I worked in. And despite my massive fall in earnings since leaving the City, I found the decision to leave my job the easiest I’d ever made.
If you have religious convictions and want to enter the City, go for it. But understand this: you may not succeed like the person next to you who has equal ability, but fewer moral qualms.
Sorry, but what the f***.
* all this stuff he describes doesn’t ‘sit comfortably’ with many of us -religious or not. I am absolutely disgusted by firms’ use of sex encounter establishments in entertaining clients and dragging all staff in on it with them. Bonus culture, greed, all of it is questionable to many of us whether we’re involved in it or not and whatever our beliefs are.
His continual assertion that atheism equates to lack of morals really angers me (even though it’s an oft-heard argument) and I’m really, really disappointed by this column.
Please do e-mail in with complaints if you see fit; I will take a couple of days to compose a decent one! [Edit: probably not worth doing this about 8 months after the event!]
“I guess I’m used to the whole “Atheists are immoral” bit. We get a lot of that here in America.
” … sticking £20 notes in strippers’ G-strings also generally do not sit comfortably with religious types.