Best. Christmas. Ever!!
So there I was on Mother’s genuine reproduction Ottoman, whiling away that interminably dull period between Christmas and New Year – flicking through some back issues of the Economist, pondering my next missive for you lot, and finalising my New Year’s Resolutions.
(Which are, in no particular order:
1. Eat more red meat
2. Stop drinking wine that costs less than £10 a bottle
3. Ensure personalised olive oil goes viral
4. Give some money to my old college
5. Volunteer for a badger cull)
I should clarify, for the sake of completeness, that Big Shop had – much to my dismay – taken a last-minute decision to close the office from the 23rd to the 2nd, supposedly to remind everyone of the really important things in life. And to be fair, it certainly did that. The BlackBerry reception is absolutely horrendous at Mother’s.
Anyway, so there I was, on the Ottoman, when I get a call from my boss, the partner who runs our team in London.
“Boss! What a nice surprise!”
“Mmmmmmmmmffffffffff,” he said.
“Sorry? Oh, hang on a sec.” I’d forgotten the only way you can get a phone signal in Mother’s house is to go up into the loft and stick your head out of the window.
“What’s that, Pye?” I heard him say, after racing upstairs to the requisite spot. “I can’t hear a bloody word you’re saying.”
If pushed, I’d say he sounded a little… merry. “Erm… To what do I owe this pleasure?!”
And then, without any warning whatsoever, the bombshell.
“Well, Pye, I called to tell you that I’m off. Gone. Out of here. Obviously I would have told you in person, but since you were skiving on Monday I didn’t get the chance.”
“Wait – skiving? What? Wait… What? You’re leaving??” I was literally so dumbfounded I could barely speak. “Why would you leave Big Shop? How could you? What else is there?”
“Why do you think, Pye? That place is deader than a dodo’s [censored]. So we’re starting our own fund. Got a placement agent already, in fact. Thinking of calling it Another Turn Capital – specialise in highly-levered secondaries.”
“Wait… We?” Suddenly I realised why he was calling! “You mean you want me… Look, boss, I’m very honoured, but Big Sho…”
I was interrupted by a howl of laughter. “Don’t panic, Pye. I’m not completely insane. Besides, we’ve already got Tamara. We don’t need two of you. I mean neither did Big Shop, but you can get away with that kind of lunacy when you make a billion a year in fees.”
“Wait… Tamara?” Devoted readers will recall that Tamara and I started at Big Shop at the same time. She’s very overrated, in my view (I mean she got an Upper Second, for crying out loud). What’s more, I’d actually spoken to her the previous weekend, when she’d kindly called to tell me about the unexpected office closure, and she hadn’t mentioned this at all!
“Stop telling me to wait, Pye. Yes, Tamara. Anyway, better go. Oh, and Pye? Good luck with that olive oil thing… God only knows you’ll need it!” And with that, amid more uproarious laughter, he was gone.
As I made my way back down the loft ladder, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of sadness for the sudden loss of such a wonderful leader, mentor and friend.
But then I got to the bottom of the ladder and a thought occurred: guess who’s now in line for a promotion! That’s what I call a Happy New Year!!!