Rise and shine. I’m already late. Shower on, contacts in, and twelve minutes later I lock the door of my Brick Lane flat behind me. Rushing along the Jubilee Line, I soon alight at Canary Wharf, still groggy because there was no time to make a pot of coffee. Bankers in crisp suits are checking their email on their Blackberrys. I should probably check mine too.
Made it in time. I sit down at my desk and trawl through my email, waiting for instructions about the day’s task. Nothing new yet. I make a quick Facebook check – because that’s what the unoccupied employee is supposed to do, right? More photos uploaded from travelling friends in exotic countries, drinking out of coconuts and swimming with dolphins. At least I’m getting paid £200 a day to be here.
In rolls the boss. He looks tired. He recounts the events of the previous night, with an embarrassment that is more than a little self-indulgent. ‘Oh, I’m sure you don’t really want to hear about it, do you?’ Yeah, that sort of guy. I wasn’t taking notes, but it was something involving a client, a Polo match and some supremely exclusive Mayfair club where they shun the poor and the ugly. Paris Hilton was spotted there once. I’ll get him a double espresso – they like it when you take the initiative.
Checking the FT website for updates on the Greek debt crisis. It is of utmost importance to have an opinion on the future of the Euro.
Meeting with some analysts. They discuss the presentation I prepared the previous night, although my drooping eyes keep wandering to the clock. It will be time for a coffee break soon. My caffeine consumption has increased fourfold since the beginning of the month. Blood, sweat, tears and coffee – the four fluids of success.
I take down everyone’s orders. Attention to detail is crucial. Over the past couple of weeks, I have become a bit of an expert. On the first day I couldn’t find the coffee machine, but trying desperately hard to seem competent, I went all the way down to Starbucks. But nowadays, I’m a pro. Today I stacked up sixteen coffees and received a standing ovation from my desk.
Kristen the blonde, leggy intern from Poland or Sweden or somewhere is flirting with the MD. The lads are always around her desk and she has been rotated about twenty times because every one wants to sit with her. She is always being taken out to lunch meetings with important people. Stop looking at her. Concentrate on the stock pitch that needs preparing before lunch. There’s an unequal proportion of women working here but to make up for it the company will occasionally have seminars about the importance of women in the workplace.
I’ve taken lunch orders and I’m waiting in a queue at Wagamama’s. Chicken katsu; beef chilli men; yasai chilli men – no mushrooms; where is the ramen? Orders must be checked at least four times to avoid careless errors. Getting a lunch order wrong will not be well received. I eye up some work clothes in shop windows on my way back. I always need more work clothes.
I am on the trading floor where they have a big TV screen so we can keep an eye on Bloomberg and watch stock prices, but there is a very important cricket match on today. So, that’s what I’m doing.
My boss has just asked me to locate an email that was sent to him about a month ago. Only he doesn’t know who sent it or what it was about. Oh, and he needs it by this evening. Oh and he deleted it. I’ve emailed every single person I can think of that may be able to help. I am trying not to panic or burst into tears. This is so Devil-Wears-Prada.
I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. If I say it enough times, it might come true. Still trying to find that email. One of the VPs thinks he might know so fingers crossed. I am searching desperately as I glug down coffee from my ‘I heart spreadsheets’ mug. This is my fifth refill.
Victory! I have found the email and saved myself from the brink of self-destruction. As a reward, I am allowed to take a little break but I must finish some client reports before I leave. I probably wont take the break; the sooner I finish, the sooner I can leave this place and go home. I have had a total of 13 hours sleep in the last four days. At least they’re paying me £200 a day to be here.
Walking out of the office. I was hoping to have an early night, but some of the guys on my desk have decided to take me out for cocktails with some client. Can’t pass up the networking opportunity. We are going to a bar. We will discuss sport. Somone will mention the future of the Euro. Several people will have opinions on it. Several others will nod sagely.
We’re at a club in South Kensington where they check your footwear before they let you in. There are half-naked women on the tables, but it’s not tacky, honest, because a bottle of vodka costs £400. More importantly, I don’t see a single hip-flask.
I stumble into a taxi. Brick Lane, please. I can’t wait to tell my roommate about the club. I haven’t seen her in a couple of days. Some days she just sleeps over at the bank, to save time in the morning. I reach my flat and flop into bed. I’m glad for the two hour rest before I have to get out of bed again. Did I mention I’m making £200 a day?