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GUEST COMMENT: On the unmentionable horror of returning from holiday

When I worked in the City there was nothing as appalling as the unremitting horror that I felt on the last day of my summer holiday.

I’d be lying around a pool at some Ibizan finca staring into the middle distance, unable to comprehend the hideous reality that I was about to face. My sangria would be left warming up in the afternoon sun and my holiday doorstopper book would be left unread. Communication was virtually impossible and my girlfriend would know that nothing on this sweet earth could relieve me of my despicable depression.

If the holiday had been any good (and they usually were) then I would have received a sharp reminder of what life was really about. I would have ridden a motorbike topless on dusty tracks and eaten tiger prawns to the sound of gentle waves lapping at the shoreline. I would have danced the light fantastic under a moonlit sky and swam in warm azure waters. Everything tasted better, everything smelt better and everything felt better.

On that last day of the holiday I knew that all this joy was going to end. I knew that I faced months of grey drudgery in a grey country with grey people. Instead of days spent waking up whenever I wanted to, making love and lying around in the sun, I’d be doing virtually nothing I wanted to be doing. I’d be getting up two hours earlier than my body wanted to. I’d be commuting to and from a soulless place surrounded by other depressed drones. I’d be sucking up to arrogant, humourless clients and trading macho banter with aggressive traders. The fact that some of my fellow stockbrokers seemed to enjoy their job merely rubbed salt into my all too raw wounds.

The only thing that provided any solace was the thought that I’d soon be having another escape from this despicable crap. If I had foolishly used up all my holiday allowance come September, then the depression was even more pronounced. I knew that I faced many months of relentless winter drizzle, stomach-knotting stress and disturbed sleep.

Bob Dylan defined success as ‘doing what you want to do from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep’. Most people in the City think they’re successful but when you work twelve hours a day, forty seven weeks a year, you rarely do what you want to do.

Although many City workers plan to only do their job for perhaps ten years so they can go off and really start living like the relaxed travellers and happy locals they saw on the beach, few actually achieve this. They simply waste the best years of their lives trapped in a pointless job sleepwalking to death.

The system has conned them and, on that last day of their holiday, there will be a tear welling in their eye as this horrifying realisation sinks in.

Geraint Anderson (37, two years retired).

‘Geraint Anderson is the author of Cityboy – Beer and Loathing in the Square Mile.’ You can visit his website here.

Comments (34)

Comments
  1. Thanks

  2. Dude…u look really miserable…my heart bleeds for you….there are loads of us in the City who love our jobs and are very good at them…..cynicism corrodes the soul mate

  3. this dude’s a w******!!

    City_boy_go_to_hell Reply
     
  4. tedious weasle.

  5. Is this site efinancialcareers supposed to be a website for financial careers and other “relevant” related information or a platform for fools like Geraint to display????????

  6. @Ahmed – it is a site for careers and related information, but we also run articles on workplace issues of interest to the community. This falls into that category.

    Sarah, Editor, eFinancialCareers Reply
     
  7. Great article – I know the feeling oh so well! Doesn’t quite compare to the morning of your first day back which for me is the real killer.

    On another note – I am always shocked at how rude the users are on this website.

  8. kudos@Anderson. Walking through Canary Wharf indeed feels like people actually only try to survive to the next friday`s alcohol bath. I guess I am kind of in the middle, still like the game, but lost all illusions after being backstabbed.

  9. Geraint, what are you trying to do? I think it’s only fair that you jack this in now.

    Why do you continue to deplore the very phenomenon that provides you with your income? Your foolish words will fall on deaf ears. I doubt anybody on this website is as weak as you.

    (888*s)

  10. nickpan …… please forgive the juniors that post innane comments on this site, the majority of them will never ever realise the success that Geraint achieved.

    Geraint , you omitted to mention the torturous “first day back” Jubilee Line delays and the realisation that many parts of the third world are cleaner than London Underground.

  11. Agree on the post-holiday effect but I’m sure that is true for most jobs.

    However, this guy is such a tool, pretending that he actually made a difference. You spent all your day reading the balance sheets of utility companies – get over it. You were never a revenue generator – just a cost on Dresdner’s balance sheet.

  12. Love the book (and the column when it was the around)!

  13. Geraint, I’m glad I bothered to read your article and thank you for it.

    I thought I was one of the few that felt this cr4p coming back from holiday. Honestly, it’s therapeutic knowing I’m probably not that unusual!

    The criticism and unpleasantness of some of the critics (all of which, interestingly, comment on an anonymous basis). Between you and I, Geraint, it them and those like them I pity (and dispise if I’m honest), because they can’t see the greyness and, frankly, pointlessness of much of City life. If only there were more “real” and normal people like yourself in the City I think it would be a more tolerable place to spend 60+ hours a week in. Instead, it’s mostly full of painfully ambitious social-climbers who hold nothing more valuable in life than being richer and more corporate-successful than the next guy.

    Retirement for me if probably decades away, so, here’s to the next holiday. Cheers.

  14. It’s perhaps the actually role that may be depressing, rather than the job you actually love to do. I know I am in a job that I really dislike (sales) and only am in it to JUST pay my bills.
    What I would love to do is research and analysis.
    I guess it’s trying to find your talent and what you enjoy and make it work for you!

    good intentions Reply
     
  15. hey this guy is a really cool writer. I like his style. His book is brilliant. I wish was like him.

  16. Yes, we get the idea – despite being the son of a Lord, Cambridge educated and working in banking for over a decade, you’re actually a free spirited surfer punk/raver – boring! You must stand out in Ibiza like a sore thumb just like all the other corporate bumboys. Haha

  17. Just quit

    the truth you dont want to hear Reply
     
  18. this guy is a complete idiot … most ppl go to work because they have certain responsibilities

    … since you retired 2 yrs ago my friend why don’t you leave us all alone and go to that beach and as you say you can wake up whenever you want to, make love (to yourself) and sit around in the sun, doing virtually nothing …. then you will suddenly realise in 5 yrs how bored you are and wonder how you are going to live for the next 30-40 yrs

    no … you have not left us alone … you keep writing these stupid articles about how miserable we all are and how happy you are …

  19. I know exactly what Anderson is talking about! It was probably even worse for me since I come from a sunny sourth european country. I don’t have to experience this feeling ever again because I QUIT!!! YES!! Back to my sunny country for ever (I hope)!!

    Take care Anderson! You’re a cool guy!

  20. His ‘success’ is nepotism (bro got him his interview),old boy network (Cambridge Uni and some minor public school before that) and a healthy dose of brown-nosing, no doubt. BTW brah you could raise a lot more for 3rd world charities if you cashed in your assets but you’re like Bono – all mouth and no trousers. PS you weren’t Gordon Gekko then and you’re not a celebrity now. Smile.

  21. This article was an interesting read for me but you miss out one key thing Geraint…the alternative. Media Sales in a funky sounding company in W1 whilst you live in a sh*tty part of town like Camberwell? Scraping away at mounds of clay whilst getting rained on as an archaeologist and forced to live in a cr*appy village? Teaching English abroad in Thailand bored of your future because you know you have no money in comparison to those when you return to Blighty? I don’t think so. How about lording it up as a Mayfair macro head fund manager and living in Belgravia mansion surrounded by marble and silk? Yes please. I experienced all of the above and know that I am better off in the City.

    All You Need is Money. Reply
     
  22. Many years ago, required reading for many would be Investment Bankers/Stockbrokers etc.. was Liars Poker. I would suggest that Geraint Anderson article is considered requited reading.
    Why I too have wasted over 18 years with investment banks, yes the money has been good but was it worth it. A simple and truthfull answer is no!! I have missed birthdays, school plays, sports days the list is endless. My vacation too was 2 weeks of bliss, enjoying my family relaxing in the sun, trying to forget the other 48/50 weeks of the year. With the advent of the blackberry this became impossible. Something that Geraint has failed to mention. However I am not criticising him as so many idiots have on here, they are one of the reasons why the city has a bad image. We do not produce anything and some have been resonsible for almost killing the golden goose.
    In summary, anyone considering a career in the city should read this article for a perspective as to whay your about to give up, there is no easy getting out in 10years the city is a cruel lover, Keeping you close until you have outlived your use.

  23. I totally agree with Geraint….. and for other uses….I think you guys need to gorw up…..everybody has right to express what they feel like……. and what Geraint to large extent its true…..otherwise why not everybody……smiles when it comes to Monday morning….. why wait so desperately for fridays….. why not just continue work through your weekens if you all love your so much…… JOB = Just Over Broke… you are not poor but just above poverty line

    replysoontogaurav Reply
     
  24. Geraint, Thanks for contributing some of your own comments to the thread.

  25. To all you need is money – diminishing marginal utility of wealth mean nothing to you? Lesiure time as a ‘normal good’ mean nothing to you? Any job which involves staring at a monitor all day = epic fail. Camberwell has gutter cred – it’s cutting edge. Sorry if it’s not white-bread enough for you (with the crusts removed).

  26. I actually felt worse than that on the day before school began.

  27. Try the NYC subway if you want a really dirty commute. Oh, and we get ten days holiday here…

    Disgruntled Yank Reply
     
  28. A girlfriend? With *that* beard? This guy must be seriously rich…

  29. best remedy for the holiday blues :- book your next holiday on the first day back ! . . . .even if it means booking a ski holiday in February on the 1st September . . . . . .great feeling.

    aged 47, 15-months looking for a job – – – – -finding doing ‘what I really want all day’ VERY BORING AND EXPENSIVE.

  30. The goattee…very East 17 circa ’94. You got a puffa jacket to go with that? I

  31. .I have a private island 5 mins by air from work. Given that my private helicopter is always there waiting on the helipad at the roof my office builiding, every evening is a holiday!

    Beat that!

    In_the_memory_of_I’M_SO_GOOD Reply
     
  32. If I did what I wanted from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed I would have been handed a very very very long jain term. Good job it was the drugs talking.

  33. another line,Geraint ?

  34. Geraint is undoubtedly a bit of a tool but I agree with what he is saying in his article. Although, as pointed out by others, the return to work on Tuesday was a lot worse than the sinking feeling you have as the holiday approaches its end! Everytime I return to work from a holiday I make a promise to myself that i’ll get out of the City soon and go away travelling but it hasn’t happened yet…

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