Finance: The Trader: Keeping a low profile, living the high life

It's good to have a City job - lots of money, but no one knows who you are

YOU CAN'T help but be grateful to whoever came up with the concept of stress. It's surely one of the finest inventions of our times. Can you imagine a bunch of medieval peasants throwing down their shovels and pitchforks and announcing they were suffering from burnout?

Of course, people had lower expectations then. As far as they were concerned there were only three things you could be: alive, dying or dead. But mere existence isn't good enough for us anymore; we expect to be amazingly well all the time, and if we're not we do something about it. "We need a holiday. Let's spend some of that bonus money that's about to tumble into our bank account," said Jane once she'd sorted out the problems with her boss. "See if you can take one of the weeks with Easter in it." I laughed.

Didn't she realise they would have been booked up months in advance? But she just laughed right back and told me not to be naive. "Only senior managers dare to book time off at Easter or Christmas," she said. "No one else will because they think it doesn't look keen enough."

Luckily, she was right and now we're in Jamaica, sitting on the terrace of our villa, looking down over Kingston and drinking Blue Mountain coffee. Quite how Jane managed to pull off a booking at such short notice, I'm not sure.

"Last-minute cancellation," she says. "Supermodel stubbed her toe and couldn't travel. Something like that, anyway."

Bad luck for her, brilliant for us. Strawberry Hill is the sort of place that's written up in the glossy magazines with breathless reverence, and is even nicer in the flesh than in the photographs. It seems an insult to call it a hotel.

The villas are so submerged in greenery and gardens that half the time you feel you're the only people around. "Just as well, really," Jane says. "I feel a bit square compared to some of the other guests."

She's referring, I think, to the couple we saw as we arrived: him with goatee and crochet skullcap, her with long blue hair and a nose stud. They just had to be stressed-out music business executives. "Do you think we seem as strange to them as they do to us?" I asked Jane, but from the way he was whispering to her and looking in our direction with an "I am not looking in your direction" expression on his face I had my answer.

Otherwise, we haven't really seen many of the other people staying here. If we can hardly drag ourselves away from our villa, presumably they all feel the same, particularly the famous ones.

Even better, I've realised it's the first holiday in ages where there hasn't been an off-duty futures trader with a hyperactive mobile on the next balcony. Money talks, but some of it talks quieter than the rest.

"It's at times like this," I say to Jane as we sip our drinks, "that you appreciate having a City job. Lots of money, but no one knows who you are. I'd hate to be a celebrity and have my picture in the tabloids every time I so much as sneezed." Jane agrees with me on that one and then tells me she's hungry and we should have dinner.

We find ourselves on the table next to the music-business couple who are vaguely looking in my direction. Suddenly he starts and nearly drops his drink, and I can hear him say, "It is, I tell you, it is." He stands and comes over shyly to our table. "I'm sorry to bother you," he says, "but there's this column in The Independent called `The Trader'... I'm a big fan. Your profile... you look just like her. Are you?" And I blushed and said yes. Well, it's nice to be recognised, isn't it?

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Ed Miliband and David Cameron are neck and neck in the polls
election 2015Armando Iannucci: on how British politics is broken
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Swiss Banking and Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - 6 month FTC - Central London

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...

Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application) - Agile

£215 per day: Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application ...

Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power