The economic downturn had a massive impact on my workplace. Things were a lot quieter on my return after getting the cancer all-clear. Job losses and a reorganisation had occurred during my extended sick leave and I was allocated a new boss, who was tall with pushed-back shoulders and an overbearing manner. He used to work at Jemunt – a former workplace where a triad of bullies tried to break me, but I spoilt their game by walking out – and was in league with my enemies there. You couldn’t make it up. My return to work was met with indifference, which soon mutated into hostility and badgering. It was obvious he intended to finish off what Jemunt had started. There was bad blood.
I had also changed during my illness. The treatment had taken its toll. Whilst the mental fogginess began to subside, I was exhausted and jaded. Instead of storing information in my head and reacting off the cuff, I had to write things down to function as a lawyer again. I was marginalised on a daily basis and endured the derogatory remarks to the point of being called a malingerer. After the put-downs, I could tell by the smirk on his face that my boss was convinced he had the upper hand over me. He had me at about my weakest and seemed intent on forcing me out of the workplace. But each nasty comment instilled a deep-rooted need for revenge. And my strength was building. After two years of this, it was time. I was going to deal with this in my own way.
I set up a meeting with my boss’s boss and had a frank talk about the way I was being treated. He looked genuinely shocked and offered me a job in a different department as a way of circumventing the problem. I refused on the basis I did not work there any more. At the end of the meeting, I threatened legal action unless certain conditions were met. Then I walked out. No notice, no nothing. Within days my former boss was fired. Some people really do get what they deserve. Justice was done.
During my time working in London, I have seen excesses on nights out and the greed of bonus days. Traders will bet on almost anything, from interest rates, foreign exchange, inflation and commodities to natural disasters, terrorist incidents and even the life expectancy of terminal patients. Some traders place personal bets on who is the first to go home on the trading floor. I have known people who were never heard from again after 9/11 and others who walked out of insolvent American banks during the credit crunch carrying cardboard boxes. Others whooped and punched the air when deals closed and some spent thousands of pounds on a bottle of wine which didn’t even taste very nice. One died young in an environment of excessive workload, stress and pressure. But there have been good times as well.