The Trader: Dealer who opted out had loads of bottle

What made him throw in the towel, the car and the huge salary?

I'M ROUND at Jane's place eating takeaway Thai, and the conversation is flowing almost as swiftly as the Veuve Clicquot. It's one of those cosy evenings you usually have with a small gang of really close friends, so it's a bit of a surprise that the only other guest is Toby, whom I've never met before in my life.

Jane's been longing to introduce us for ages. "He's an old family friend. He used to do what you do, only he got bored and threw it all in to set up a brewery in Somerset. He's doing really well. I thought he might inspire you."

Jane, bless her heart, thinks everyone she knows in the City ought to leave as soon as funds permit. Not that this is much of a surprise, given that she works in corporate finance. After all, if you'd spent your first year at work photocopying prospectuses, you might share her opinion.

It's all a far cry from the trading floor. Of course, everyone has bad days, but we can usually find something to keep our minds occupied, even if it's only making up product lines for fictional companies. I can't imagine ever getting sick of this little game, so I'm intrigued to know what made Toby throw in the towel, the company car and the six-figure salary.

"It's hard to know where to begin," he says, looking thoughtful. "Apart from anything else, it was so long ago it feels almost as if it happened to someone else. I mean, it was the Eighties. But I suppose my first wave of uneasiness was over the unemployment figures."

I raised my eyebrows and asked him what he meant by that. Surely the only time a trader worried about numbers was when they'd done a trade and suddenly had an inkling they'd made a mistake. "Or at bonus time," said Jane drily.

Toby smiled. "The figures from the US were due out, and at 1.30pm they flashed up on the screen and I said, `Oh good, unemployment's up' because it meant the markets would move in our favour. Then I realised I was happy because a lot of people had lost their jobs. I saw what an amoral person the City had turned me into."

Anyway, from then on the whole Thatcherite dream began to lose its gloss. He found it harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning. He stopped reading the financial pages and started reading the film reviews instead. He took to leaving his desk in the middle of the day for 15 minutes of fresh air. When he started going home on time, his bosses suggested he might like to work elsewhere. He agreed - he resigned.

"So I'd done my bit for the unemployed by joining them," Toby said. "Not that those out-of-work Americans would have understood the irony of the situation, of course. Anyway, I had my latest bonus to keep me solvent so I wasn't going to starve. Then a friend gave me a beer-making kit, and I've never looked back. I'm a much better person for having left the City. I can't believe you two still work there." He paused, and my heart sank. Oh no, I thought, any minute now he's going to start talking about the delights of real ale and we'll never get him to stop. "Is that the time?" I said. "I must go."

Jane rang the next morning, sounding furious. "The nerve of the man," she said. "All that stuff about being a better person for having left the City. It turns out he's just sold his company to one of the big breweries for an absolute fortune. He's gone in this morning to tell his staff ... and then he's going to sack them all."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?