Simon English: Without the money, what's the point?

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The Independent Online

Outlook: You don't have to be a disaffected Goldman Sachs employee to think that working in the City sucks. A lot of finance folk feel like that just now.

There's a bunch of traders unwinding in Catch, the bar at the Great Eastern Hotel near Liverpool Street station, and not one of them is having a good time.

All want a new job, some are seriously thinking about a complete change of lifestyle and are depressed to discover that their skill set and knowledge isn't that transferable.

Bonuses this year were zero for many – anyone who earnt their firm less than £3m in the last year got nothing, is the figure they bandy about – and the money is, after all, just about the only reason to do that sort of work.

If you don't feel like weeping at the plight of the banker boys, that's understandable. But in most cases their lives are not much different to anyone's. Million pound bonus payments are for headlines and chief executives. For everyone else, it's nose to the grindstone time.