Ooh la la! A lowly French trader has been caught with his hand in the bonbon jar. As a result, our head of security made a rare guest appearance at the weekly team managers’ meeting. Seems he wants us to sniff out any security risks.
We’ve been told to be extra vigilant, which we’ve all interpreted as “trust nobody”, especially as Security Man then went into a 30-minute rant about the French, Italians and Germans in our teams, saying none can be trusted. He’s even banned them from speaking in their native tongues for fear they’re swapping secrets – unless they’re talking to a client.
Then he moved on to the poor performers, who, in light of their recent doughnut (zero) bonuses, he’s convinced are suspects for attempting to defraud the bank, since Jerome Kerviel cited a desire for a decent bonus as a motive for “working hard” at Societe Generale. Using that logic, every one of my City colleagues is a potential “Che Guevara of Finance”.
Since the meeting, my boss has allowed her inner despot to shine through. First, she apprehended and quizzed a girl in my team who was in the loo for the “inordinate length of time” of 17 minutes. Loo Girl was outraged, naturally, and began a detailed explanation of her bowel movements.
Next, she cornered a junior trader who, horror of horrors, used to work in the middle office, just as Kerviel did. She fired a tirade of questions in a pathetic attempt at “sussing him out”, as she was later heard to boast. Her smug smile soon evaporated when Security Man issued full personnel profile forms requiring us to disclose lots of personal secrets, including the value of our share options (for those lucky enough to have any) – shame she wangled more than her fair share at the last takeover.
Finally, the three-consecutive-week-holiday- every-three-years rule was scrutinised, and all those in breach of it have to take it immediately so any dodgy dealings can be exposed. Roll on the tumbleweed, then.