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
News
The cartoon depicts the UK (far left) walking around a Syrian child refugee
newsIn an exclusive artwork for The Independent, Ali Ferzat attacks Britain's lack of 'humanity'
Life and Style
Man taking selfie in front of car
health
Sport
footballManager attacks Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp after criticism of Diego Costa's apparent stamping
Life and Style
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£16500 - £16640 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Finance compa...

Ashdown Group: Client Services Manager - Relationship Management - London

£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Recruitment Genius: Credit Controller / Customer Service

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...

Guru Careers: In-House / Internal Recruiter

£25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore