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."

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
News
people
Sport
footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
News
Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
people
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Arts and Entertainment
'Felfie' (2014) by Alison Jackson
photographyNew exhibition shows how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
News
i100
Life and Style
Fright night: the board game dates back to at least 1890
life
Environment
The vaquita is being killed by fishermen trying to catch the totoaba fish, which is prized in China
environmentJust 97 of the 'world's cutest' sea mammals remain
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

Langley James : IT Support; Helpdesk, VMware; Manchester, £18k

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Langley James : IT Support; Helpdesk, VMware; Manch...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HRO - £70k+ ote

£35000 - £450000 per annum + £3k car, £70k ote: h2 Recruit Ltd: Do you want to...

Citifocus Ltd: Newly Qualified Accountants - Risk Mgmt

£Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: Prestigious financial institution seeks to...

Citifocus Ltd: Operational Risk Analyst

£Negotiable: Citifocus Ltd: Experienced operational risk professional with ban...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?