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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Suit and Tie.

Suit and tie and jacket and scarf. Shoes and pride and anxiety and awe.

I wore all of them the day I went to Canary Wharf in London, to interview at Morgan Stanley. I did the application. 3 of my friends got turned away at the first stage, but not me for some reason. I was invited to take some aptitude tests and attend a Q&A session at a placement that is rumoured to pay £35,000 a year. I was in dream land.

Maybe I was a somebody.

Cabot Square glistened like glacial treasure in the London twilight. This was a different personality of London. Not the low rise, crafted buildings you see in central London, with wrought-iron balconies you can only dream of. This was what Manhattan and Prague's child would look like. Those beige coloured architectural bimbos that London is famous for are still there, but they're draped in New York and Hong Kong's Autumn/Winter Collection. Stock ticker tapes dance across skirts of glass and metal, letting you know in no uncertain term what work goes on behind the grand revolving doors.

So, to 25 Cabot Square. I am taken up stairs, to a conference room full of other youngsters like myself. All dressed in suits, all eyeing everyone else up. Half are brown. What an interesting mix of people. I have no time to analyse though: I am a bit late. People were in exam mode; eyes glazed over with focus.

You could cut the competition in the air with a knife.

After the first test - some ridiculous test of 'accuracy' through matching numbers and letters - I glance across at the window. What a window. It was like one of those helicopter shots in action movies, to introduce Singapore or Tokyo or some futuristic metropolis. Goldman Sachs and Barclays stare back in their evening gowns and make-up. The artificial lights don't let the ladies down. At ground level, many a banker scrambles down the catwalk and into a train.

I return to exam mode. Beautiful hatred of the people all around me is pumped head to toe by my excited heart. It is hatred as short-lasting as my chance at Morgan Stanley.

2 weeks later a polite email tells me I am in fact a nobody.

1 comment:

Vijay Bhat said...

Turning disappointment into fuel for inspirational writing. Way to go!

Definitely the mark of a SOMEBODY.