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
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Financial Advisers and Paraplanners

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This extremely successful and well-established...

Guru Careers: FX Trader / Risk Manager

Competitive with monthly bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced FX...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map