The Trader: Losing sleep over losses in the City

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The Independent Culture
YOU'D THINK, wouldn't you, that if you were launching something as important as a new currency, you'd pick a better time of year to do it. February, perhaps, when everyone's bored. Or March, when they're still bored. At any rate, not a week after Christmas and the day after New Year's Eve. It makes you wonder how firm a grip our Eurocrats have on reality, doesn't it? Perhaps every day is Christmas for them.

Anyway, thanks to their unhealthy obsession with the significance of 1 January - though in fact it's only been New Year's Day since 1752 - even Christmas Day wasn't really a holiday for us. When you know that a 16-hour stretch awaits you the next day and the next and the next, that bottle of champagne and those glasses of Baileys seem less enticing, somehow.

Laura and I tried protesting to Rory. As we pointed out, we only ever deal in dollar-denominated products; so why should we concern ourselves with the euro? We might as well have saved our breath. As far as our chief honcho was concerned, it was all hands on deck, with no exceptions at all.

"He probably just wants us where he can keep an eye on us," said Laura. "Thinks if we're not here, that we'll be at home dealing futures on our own account and losing millions."

"As you do, of course, when there's nothing good on TV," I said sarcastically.

So while everyone else was at home, flat out on the sofa watching Bond films, we were at our desks crunching numbers. Luckily, the computer system had a thorough overhaul two months ago, so it's been pretty straightforward to modify it. Still, you never know what may be thrown up on the day, so we've been testing and testing until our eyes cross.

Findlay is the only one of us who's really excited by the euro. As our resident rocket scientist, he gets to mess around in pretty much anything he wants, so a whole new currency is something to smile about. He has the credit department wrapped around his little finger, too, so they only say "no" to one of his deals once a month, just to show they can. The only thing that could make him happier would be one of our customers ringing up and asking about a euro deal, but we're six days in and it hasn't happened yet.

Luckily, we're a bit busier on the dollar side, otherwise I'd have nothing to distract me from the Great Watch Disaster. You'll remember - though not as painfully as I do - that I woke the day after our Christmas party with a man's watch on the bedside table. And since the last thing I recalled from the previous night was getting into a taxi with Jaap... well, you can see how I jumped to a ghastly conclusion.

Bad enough sleeping with your boss at the best of times, but it's even worse if you happen to have a lovely boyfriend, too. I thought I'd never be able to look Olivier in the face again. We would split up and I'd be miserable and it would all be my fault. Plus, of course, I'd have to leave my job as well. Unemployed and heartbroken: what a way that would be to start 1999.

Just as well, then, that Olivier rang me at work the same day to say he'd lost his watch somewhere and did I have it? Relief all round, until it turned out Jaap had also lost his watch. So whose watch was on my bedside table?

"That's what I want to know," Olivier yelled down the phone at me last night. "I've found my watch in my other coat. So who's been leaving his watch in your bedroom? And don't call me until you have an answer." And he hung up.