*WARNING - STRONG ADULT LANGUAGE AND CONTENT*
by Liam Carroll
Riding his BMX home from Manly's iconic Steyne pub late one Friday night, fresh from plowing schooners and yelling at footy games, Flynn James (Slippery) receives a call from Scion Commodities' chief recruiter in Geneva. Flynn is invited to Scion's Singapore office for an interview. A junior trading role in physical oil and metals trading is up for grabs. Slippery seizes the chance with both hands and catapults into the trading world, working hard and playing harder, as he chases fast money and attempts very unsuccessfully to avoid the pitfalls lurking in the gritty underbellies of Southeast Asia.
"Slippery is capitalism on steroids. It makes the world of Gordon Gecko look positively gentlemanly. You won't be able to put it down."
"This book is an absolute ripper! It feels like a combination of Hunter S Thompson and Anthony Bourdain with a splash of early Marco Pierre White! Flynn, aka Slippery, aka Liam Carroll is a very naughty boy! His journey through the seamy underworld of global commodities trading is a ribald 'hold onto your seats' rollicking yarn. Enjoy the journey through the seedy, booze filled trading culture in Singapore and Shanghai as Slippery is blooded from naïve apprentice to global trader. This is laugh out loud funny with a tight, well honed writing style that is very hard to put down.
"What a fantastic read! I was hooked from the start and didn't stop until I had read the whole thing. I thoroughly recommend this book to any one who works in finance, is an expat in Asia or wants a look into the life on a dealing desk! Hilarious from start to end!"
**WARNING - STRONG ADULT LANGUAGE AND CONTENT**
Thrown a Lifeline to Escape the Mundane
The problem with money is, you need it
It’s Friday, midnight. I’m riding home from the Steyne Hotel, Manly Beach, grogged out of my mind after an evening at the Round Bar, smashing pints, yelling at footy games. The usual. Pedaling my BMX (with pegs) along Manly beachfront, to my right, whitewater bounces in the moonlight, to my left, heavily sea-salted air is misting around street lamps and infiltrating car engines. My mobile rings, more numbers on the screen than the screen can hold. Who the hell is this?
“Hello” I stammer, pulling the thrasher to a stop.
“Hi, am I speaking with Flynn James?” The razor sharp voice of some Englishman barks down the line. Sober up Flynn. Fast.
“Yes, Flynn here. How can I help you?” That was fairly convincing. I hope.
“Great, great. OK, I’m Steve Pemberton, head of recruitment at Scion Commodities. I received your CV, excellent stuff mate. Listen, I need you in Singapore next Saturday for an interview. I will send you an email, reply to my assistant cc’d and she will arrange the flights.” These words travel down the phone line as if it is the most normal, matter of fact, mundane conversation ever.
“Yes, OK. No problem…thanks.” I mean seriously, what the fuck?
“Good night.” He was gone. That was that.
I continue the short ride home, sporting the unmistakable glazed expression a dumb-fucker sports when he has no idea what is going on, but thinks he can work it all out if he just holds that feeble stare long enough. Sit in an exam hall and watch the vacant gazes of all the poor battlers who inhabit the lion’s share of the bell curve. This stare is unavoidable.
I’d sent a CV off merely a week earlier to a Swiss commodities company advertising for junior trading positions in their oil and metals trading arms. I’d sent plenty of CV’s around the financial world juggernaut, usually to receive no answer or, occasionally, be sent some pithy reply, often months later, at best, about lowering headcounts, keeping ears to the ground, fingers on pulses, things in loops, synergies, blah, blah, total unrequited blah.
I had previously worked in an investment bank for three years trading precious metals derivatives, whatever the hell they are, sneaking my way on to the trading floor via a global markets traineeship. I was eventually turfed via the joys of international banking mega mergers and was now back doing what I hated…physiotherapy. Don’t get me started. I’ll come back to that little topic some other time if I’m completely bereft of ideas and want you to stop reading. Suffice to say, when you’re 18 years young, wide eyed, simple minded and commercially useless, it is no time to be choosing career paths. Although studying physiotherapy at Sydney University was a great way to see and touch scantily clad young ladies in the noble pursuit of mastering anatomy.
I wake up Saturday morning to Steve’s email outlining various flight options Sydney to Singapore. This hadn’t been some drunken reverie on the ride home. I reply with option number 3; Take off 8am Saturday from Sydney, land in Singapore at 2pm, head to a 3pm interview, wrap that up by 4.30pm and be taking to the skies on the 10pm flight home, straight to Sunday brunch. Seriously.
Only yesterday I was tooling around being a physiotherapist, pretending to give a flog about ruptured tendons, torn muscles, arthritic joints and how much they can hurt when the right person decides to crank up the pain perception volumes in their misery-focused thoughts and grace me with their half naked presence. My destiny was never supposed to comprise being subjected daily to these whining, brain-dead, pain worshippers looking at me for answers, some sympathy at the very least. Listen, I don’t care! Shut up. Toughen up. Piss off. Surely there was a better way to fill the years between graduation and retirement than this.
But, to fulfill life’s two certainties, death and taxes, an obvious requirement is the need to make a buck. ‘No mun, no fun’. No taxes though, that is compelling. No food either, dammit. The cursed swings and roundabouts. But if you’re put on this Earth to make money, why settle for a pittance by feeling up old ladies when you could be making shitloads playing with someone else’s hard earned? Greed is good, a modern necessity really. And when you’re university qualified with postgraduate icing on the supposed money making cake, it’s soul destroying that simply paying for rent, food and a few alcoholic refreshments is enough to clear the bank balance.
Trading is the quickest way I know to become flush with cash and now I have a chance to get back in the trading game. You fucking beauty! I have to nail this. Where is the CV I sent them? What garbage have I spewed in their direction that they think is so excellent?
Yes, of course, derivatives, I basically invented the things. Ahem, naturally, corporate strategy, I am a master strategist, especially strategy as it pertains to the corporate realm. I mean come on, what other realms are there? Team player, no question, I live to work in teams and bind together for successful execution of strategic initiatives. Who wouldn’t? Why would you possibly rather be surfing off some remote, tropical island when you could be team building? And bam, effective communication, it is kind of a hobby of mine, an area I take particular relish in exploring, discovering, perfecting the art, if you will. Fluent in German, French, Spanish and Indonesian, currently studying Mandarin, you know, because the future is, of course, China and I want to be able to communicate effectively with this vast nation of forward thinkers and dog connoisseurs.
Yes, indeed, all total, utter and complete horse shit. Of course they love it. How could they not? Well they should have, though I’m certain they probably didn’t read it too closely. These smart bastards also made you answer four questions; why do you think you would make a successful trader, what trading positions do you currently have, what trades and initiatives would you undertake at Scion to increase profits while maintaining minimal risk profile, what do you like doing in your free-time? Savvy.
Any fool can steal a bunch of fancy sounding convoluted corporate hogwash buzzwords and phrases, spoof that onto a CV with a suitable couple of friends who can masquerade as references and off you scoot to an interview in your new suit past smoking hot receptionists into rarely used meeting rooms with impressive mahogany tables. But, to have a meaningful and well thought out trading idea, a profitable way to turn a little money into a lot, with minimal risk…now that is tough. Do you have any thoughts there champ? Come on. Don’t be shy. Let me hear ‘em.
No, you get some of those ideas, well thought out trading ideas with the backbone strength to put them on the chopping block, along with your balls, cock and jugular, and don’t skimp on the white knuckle psychopathic commitment to hold on for the ride and, hey presto, you have real corporate value beyond your wildest dreams. And free time…you don’t have any. You’re too busy making money. Come on.
Thankfully, I had researched the company thoroughly and put together a response that they should use their existing logistics expertise to expand into agribusiness pursuits, levering their expert oil know-how to deliver improved pricing to the predominantly diesel based fuel requirements of agriculture and thus ensure an increased likelihood of success in entering the new market. A market which, on the whole, is currently grossly undervalued and will take on greater significance in the very near future. It’s important to clarify, I have no idea if any of what I’ve just said is remotely near accurate, but it sounded good, didn’t it? And seems as plausible as anything an economist has ever said. Anyway, who fucking cares, it worked.
Now, they’re looking for talented young professionals. Instantly those three words should, by any logic, automatically exclude me. With ambition…now we’re getting there. I may fit the mould. Ambition. Yep, tick. What do we want? Cash. When do we want it? Now! Do we care how we get it? What, you having a laugh? They need these talented young professionals to join their oil and metals trading teams and be fast tracked to become a commercially successful component of their global commodities trading business.
I have next to no idea about oil trading and it’s nearing twelve months since I’ve worked in precious metals derivatives trading, a field in which I never for one moment had a clue as to what I was doing anyway. I have to refresh the memory banks on the metals side, and I better learn something about the no doubt extraordinarily nefarious world of oil trading.
I spend the entire weekend studying like a man possessed. Then, Monday to Friday at work, I think and breathe oil and metals trading, while successfully pretending to give a flying fuck about the patients’ ailments. “Yes, Cheryl, you’re really improving, no need to worry about that persistent nerve pain.”
Returning home in the evening, I immediately resume my studies. I read and re-read every past scribble I’ve maintained regarding metals trading and financial markets. I scan every available piece of information on oil trading and anything at all on the current state of commodities, equities, interest rate and currency markets, global politics and interview tips.
In a blur it’s Friday night. I’m lounging on the couch, having dinner, trying to relax, sipping a Heineken, watching Chelsea Lately. The next moment it’s Saturday morning, I’m seated in business class plush soft brown leather aboard Singapore Airlines flight SQ 417, ravaging my notes and preparing for the full repertoire of questions to be flown my way. Steve had explained the format of the interview in his email: Two 40-minute interviews with two senior traders in each, the traders being from a variety of backgrounds and products.
For the uninitiated, here’s what you must know about traders, they’re cunts. Plain and simple, checkmate. This is not being rude. This is a fact. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be traders. Not successful traders at least. They’d be off playing golf, scratching together their two brain cells while being paid to be a superannuation fund manager or some floozy well paid excuse for a job like that. You know the sort. Played rugby at a posh school or some shit. Their dad knew their dad, fucked their mum sort of routine. Or they somehow managed to snap nude photos of a CEO in a debauched gay orgy with little boys, a get-out-of-meaningful-labour-free-card, one of those Godsent Kodaks. No, not all cunts are traders, some sit in parliament, scalp concert tickets, sing in church choirs or function in some other equally slimy way that a perfect world wouldn’t require. But the fact remains, while not every cunt is a trader, every trader is a cunt.
So here I am in the Changi airport toilets, straightening my tie, squirming in my suit, looking at the ambitious spastic in the mirror, giving myself the pump up speech, about to cab into a skyscraper; a modern day corporate Gladiator den to face four definite and seasoned cunts, all the while praying like hell they invite me into their beautiful world of well-paid-cuntiness.
I step through the airport doors only to be slapped in the face with inhumane levels of humidity. Sweat beads instantly engulf my temples. It is early afternoon in monsoonal Singapore. The sky is a charcoal grey. Standing undercover doesn’t prevent horizontal raindrops from slamming straight into my eyeballs. A few minutes pass before the octogenarian in official garb directs me to a waiting taxi. The driver recognizes the address I’m heading to and we’re off. Mercifully, the air-conditioning is blasting full bore.
Singapore is widely regarded as the Switzerland of Asia; clean, efficient, free of personality. But, it’s refreshing to see the taxi drivers here are equally as insane as their counterparts in Jakarta, Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh. This beaten up vehicle is capable of going from zero to 100km/h in seven seconds and there must be a local law against staying in the same lane over that same magical seven-second mark too. My focus shifts from interview preparation to the more immediate need for repentance and the embedded hope for survival.
Within twenty minutes, we’re at Raffles Place. Mr. Schumacher informs me this is the building I asked for. I pay the lunatic, give my tie a final adjustment and walk in. Like most modern day corporate Gladiator dens, the foyer is lavish, decorated with abstract art works, decadent chandeliers and middle-aged spectacled men in cheap suits behind immense reception desks.
“Excuse me sir, I have a 3pm appointment with Scion Commodities. Would you be able to direct me to the appropriate floor?”
“Yes sir, please use the lifts in the far corner, you need to go to floor 25. I will press the button to allow you access once you reach the lift.”
I’m whisked skyward and once again fidgeting with my tie. The elevator doors open and a stunning Singaporean woman in a figure hugging white dress is smiling almost violently at me through glass doors as I exit the lift. I walk reluctantly towards her. It’s the sort of smile reserved for Cuckoo’s nest dwellers. She presses a button to open the doors.
“Hello, I’m Angela Fong, I’m the HR manager for Scion’s Singapore office. You must be Flynn.” Angela’s pleasantly self-assured voice belies her borderline insane smile.
“Yes, indeed, hello Angela.” We shake hands. Her smile somehow intensifies while her eyes disappear.
“Please, follow me. Would you like water, coffee?”
“No thanks, I’m fine.”
We reach a boardroom and two gents are already there waiting. They look impeccably smart, mind-numbingly serious and deeply, deeply Asian.
“Flynn, please meet Jason, he is from Beijing, and Calvin, from Singapore. They are also waiting for their interviews this afternoon. I will come back soon and let you know when the interviews are ready to start.” With that, Angela’s out the door.
“Hi guys, how are you?”
“I’m well, fank you, Fwynn.” Could Jason be any more stereotypically Chinese?
“Nice to meet you, Flynn, hope you’re well. Where are you from?” Calvin looks like Jason’s twin, but he has somehow managed to steal Barack Obama’s voice.
“I’m from Sydney actually, was quite a flight to get here. Feeling fine though. Good luck with your interviews guys.”
Before I get the chance to settle into Saturday afternoon high tea with Jason and Calvin, Angela’s back. “Flynn, please walk to the very end of the corridor. Your interview is in the ‘Newton’ room. When your interview is finished, please just come back to this room and wait for the following interview here. Good luck.”
Here goes. I check my watch, 2.59pm, and follow Angela’s directions through the corridor to the Newton room.
“Helloooo, you are Flynn nyess? Pleeease, take seeat.” I’m thrown from the outset. This eastern European gent has greeted me so warmly despite looking about as welcoming as a Siberian wolf. His eyes are jet-black, menacing and ice cold. His plain white shirt is unbuttoned halfway down his chest, sleeves rolled up to the elbows. There is also a young Indian guy seated in the room, though he’s busy scrolling through emails on his Blackberry as I enter.
“Good afternoon, yes, I’m Flynn, nice to meet you.”
“I’m Artem and this is Pranav.”
“Great to meet you both.” We shake hands. I take a seat. Pranav seems irritated at having to lose eye contact with his phone for the briefest of introductions.
“So, why you think you will be good trader?” Artem is the Usain Bolt of interviewers, no foreplay here, straight to business. I feel my hands quivering a little and make sure they’re out of sight under the table.
“Well, I…”fuck, get it together…“Well, I want to be in a position to make critical decisions. Decisions which can prove highly profitable and which carry significant risks. I want to be able to incorporate all the factors which have driven a commodity’s price to where it’s trading now and take a view as to where it will move in the future, and put trades on accordingly which have the best probability of making money.”
“Nyess, nyess, I hear aenswer like thiss all day. Sound very nyice nyess, of course. But why will you be good trader?
Why you?” Bloody hell Artem, just give me the job, ya bastard, I’m a good bloke.
“OK, I hear you. I…I will be a good trader because I live and breathe markets…”
“Huuhhhhh,” a lengthy, exasperated sigh evaporates from Artem’s lungs, “I hear this too many times already, tell me why. Why you good trader? Why?” This Artem bloke sure is a cunt. But I already knew that before I came here, didn’t I.
“Will you let me finish mate?”
“Nyess. Plaeese, continue.”
Whatever is next to come out of my mouth better be sen-fucking-sational.
“I will be a good trader because I’m not afraid to trade against prevailing market sentiment, to take a view and put my trade on, even when current market commentary may be contrary to my opinion. But, far more importantly, I will be an excellent trader because I am certain I will often be wrong and, for that reason, enter every trade with the disciplined approach and defined plan of exactly when, where and why to take profits, or to stop out and take a loss. There is no emotional attachment involved. I do not delude myself with the misplaced confidence that I am always right or that markets come close to something which makes logical sense. The trading world is thought of as a world for men with big balls and swinging dicks. Fortune favours the brave apparently. I don’t believe in this mantra or fit that mould. My mind is broad, my balls are small and I’ll definitely require some lengthening surgery to allow my dick to ever swing on anything but a hot summer’s day. But all that aside, I will most certainly be an excellent trader for your firm because I work tirelessly to research every factor pushing prices, while trading with discipline and shrewdness, rather than big balls or chest-beating charades of alpha male attempts at courage, bravery, or success.” Cop that, ya fucking Slav cunt.
“OK, nyess, I think I’ve heard enough.”
“Umm, OK.” Have I flown from Sydney to Singapore for the quickest interview in history?
“Thank you for coming, Flynn. You have another interview at 3.45pm, please wait in the conference room for that.” Wow, Pranav, nice of you to join us.
“Thanks. Good afternoon gents.”
What the hell just happened? I’m back in the original waiting room and it’s 3.05pm. Such a short interview cannot be good. Or can it? Angela walks in. There doesn’t appear too much surprise in her eyes that my interview lasted no longer than a movie preview. I decide I do need some caffeine.
“Angela, is there still a possibility of getting a coffee?”
“Yes, of course, one moment.”
I replay the preceding six minutes in my head. I can’t really think of anything I could have done differently. I could have asked some questions of the company I suppose, but they didn’t really give me the chance. And who was that snotty Indian kid?
There’s no sign of the other two candidates when Angela arrives back with a coffee. I ask her about the two that interviewed me. She tells me Artem is a Serbian scrap metal trader. Scrap. Seriously. Fuck my luck. Scrap metal trading is reserved purely for Mafioso’s who have killed a minimum of three family members to even be admitted to the trade. Wretched Serb. And Pranav is an Indian genius whiz kid who trades naphtha, whatever the fuck that is. Pair of cunts.
She leaves the room and I stare out at the incessant rain bucketing in, sipping my coffee. This is not looking promising.
3.44pm, Jason and Calvin return simultaneously, waxing lyrical about their interviews. Fuck. Angela advises me to take the first door on the left for the next interview, the ‘Galileo’ room this time.
“Flynn, good afternoon. I’m Joel and this is Andrew.” Joel stands about 5’10, speaks with a subtle Kiwi twang and, like most New Zealanders, sports the physique of an ex rugby union star; bulky neck, powerful chest, mauled up cauliflower ears.
“Good afternoon, Joel. Hi, Andrew. Thanks for having me.”
“Please, take a seat, Flynn.” Andrew’s voice box is sculpted with a South African brush. His physique also sporty and he can’t be taller than 5’6, bang on the mark of a healthy Napoleon complex.
Joel gets things started, “I like this resume, Flynn, I especially like the references to where you’ve studied and worked. Pray tell, is this the first time you’ve ever left Sydney?” He and Andrew burst into hysterics. He holds my CV up and I realize that on the right margin there is a recurrent ‘Sydney, Australia’ written almost continually, beside each job I’ve had and where I studied at university and school. Ah, yep, I feel the intense thudding pain of the bullet I’ve so astutely shot into my own foot.
This is the last interview of the day and once the initial chortling subsides, Joel and Andrew launch into the more usual interview proceedings. They ask me some trading questions, I smash it back over the umpire’s head, over the boundary fence, maybe I do know what a derivative is. Andrew asks how the first interview went earlier. I don’t hold any punches, saying I’m fairly certain Artem thinks I’m less useful that tits on a bull and that’s probably many shades higher than the esteem the Pranav bloke would hold me in. Joel and Andrew again start laughing, “Noone likes those pricks anyway mate. Don’t sweat it.”
They test the linguistic mastery I have over-inflated on the CV. With Baby Jesus by my side, Joel picks the only language of the five that I can actually speak, German. He asks, auf Deutsch, my opinion of Angela Merkel. I reply in fluent German straight out of my arse, my mouth no longer required, that she has a very difficult job convincing the German Volk to bear the burden of the Greek debt crisis, but she should take a leaf out of history’s book and grow a set of balls like Hitler, well one ball at least. Joel fucking loves it! Andrew doesn’t speak German, wie schade.
These two are clearly good friends. They talk up the company and the opportunities that are there for me. Joel then looks me in the eye, “So, Flynn, why do you want to be a trader?”
I had a prepared answer to this precise question, more in keeping with the usual corporate-speak filled mantra of hard-work, dedication, that sort of total and utter crap, which millions of CV’s are filled with and interviewers are subjected to each and every day. Ah, the humanity. I had already answered Artem’s question of why I would be a good trader, but why did I actually want to be a trader in the first place? Money, obviously, but there is more to it. I sense the camaraderie already in the room and get the feeling to be personal in response, to a point perhaps considered almost corporate suicide in any other scenario.
“I am so bored with physiotherapy. Bored out of my brain. I fucking hate these old ducks whingeing garbage about their decrepit old bodies. I know I can trade. I know I can spot bull-shitters and loopholes. I know I have the smarts to see an opportunity and the backbone to push the button and put the trade on. I want to come to work pumped, every day, and take big but calculated risks with huge sums of money and endless opportunities to win and lose. This is the world I want to be in.”
Joel and Andrew turn to each other and smile, look back at me, Joel says, “that is the greatest answer I have ever heard. We would have also accepted, ‘I want to make shitloads of money’, but let’s just assume that’s a given hey.”
With that, we shake hands and I’m off. It’s 4.10pm. Angela stands from the reception desk, walks me to the elevator and wishes me good luck and a safe trip home. I don’t see my dear pals Jason and Calvin. The lift doors open on the ground floor. I undo my tie, take off my jacket and step outside into the overwhelming humidity. My brief encounter with Scion is complete and I’m walking the streets of Singapore to find a bar and kill some time before flying home.
There is no doubt I nailed the second interview, no doubt, three cunts in perfect harmony. The first interview was disastrous. But I get the impression Joel is the big cheese, the individual who reigns supreme inside the boardroom when decisions are ultimately made.
I walk a few hundred aimless metres before settling in a bar on Club St, order a pint of tiger beer, take a hearty first sip and start watching rugby league. It’s barely fifteen minutes since the interview and that glazed stare following Steve’s initial phone call only a week earlier is back with a vengeance. I look beyond retarded, attempting to piece together the afternoon’s events. The phone rings, the requisite dizzying amount of numbers on the screen once more alert me to who will likely be on the end of the line.
“Hello, Flynn James speaking.”
“Flynn, it’s Steve from Scion. Listen, fantastic interviews, fantastic. The traders loved you. We need you in Geneva in a fortnight. I’ll send you an email, reply to Luciana with the preferred travel arrangements. Now, in Geneva, we will run a simulation-trading day. It will run from 9am to 4pm, three separate games to test your trading and negotiation skills and general teamwork, decision making, that sort of thing. It’s easy mate, stressful, but you’ll smash it. Joel Ryan will be in charge. You met him today yeah?”
The big cheese, I knew it.
“Yes, he interviewed me this afternoon.”
“Great, yes, of course. Then after the simulation day, it’s dinner with the board, senior staff and traders. A kind of musical chairs set up. Basically, seven-course dinner and each course you stay seated, the Scion guys will move round the table and get to meet all of the candidates. We’re just finishing up all the interviews today in our Geneva and Houston offices as well. It will be quite the United Nations on the day mate. Any questions?”
“No, no. Ah well, anyway to prepare that you recommend?”
“Be yourself mate, you’re smart, you’ll be fine.”
“See you in Geneva, Flynn.”
I immediately call Dad, “Super Dad, mate, I fooled them! They’re sending me on to Geneva in a fortnight for something called ‘Simulation Day’. I get through that little chestnut and I’ll have the gig.”
“Good on ya, Dumb Kid! Bloody ripper mate.”
Arriving home Sunday to a clear, crisp Sydney morning, having slept like a log in the full lay-down chairs of Singapore Airlines’ Business Class, I’m immediately preparing for Geneva, reading financial news and researching ‘negotiation’ books that I will have to read and master in the next fortnight. Steve said you cannot prepare for the Geneva ‘Simulation’. Yeah right mate. You can always prepare. You always have to.
I start feverishly doing maths problems, not overly complicated formulae or pointless shit like that, no, just the quick thinking arithmetic and probability understanding required to be a bookie, trader or drug dealer. 21 times 52, 112 divided by 4, 1kg is equal to how many troy ounces of platinum, if I buy a call option on me successfully nailing this simulation day, what delta would I expect to pay? Every moment is absorbed with this mind play.
Oil trading is a truly global business. I survey each dark corner of Google maps, learning every major city name, every country, every river and mountain from Vladivostok to the Panama Canal. I read, for the first time with real interest, the global affairs component of the news, always a bit of a joke in an Australian ‘news’paper. I resort to online outlets for this. What the fuck is the Gaza Strip? Who’s in charge of Saudi Arabia? Which companies control oil pipelines in the USA? Which African nations are the Chinese heavily investing in? Just what the hell are all these eastern European nations with –stans at the end and gorgeous women throughout? My mind is racing with all this and I become engaged in learning like never before. Here for the first time, the chance, potentially, to apply knowledge in a meaningful way - meaningful being, obviously, to make fucking shitloads of cash.
The logistics of flying from Sydney to Geneva for an interview requires some swift thinking and necessary truth-bending in order to reasonably explain to my current employer why I can possibly require a whole week off in less than a fortnight for, of all reasons, to fly to Europe. Luckily I can once again pull out the German trump card, having lived there as an exchange student when I was a teenager.
“You’ll never believe it, my host brother back in Germany is getting married, it’s all very sudden and they were so sorry that they hadn’t given me a decent amount of time to prepare flights that they would pay for me to fly to the ceremony in Switzerland, if only I can get the time off with such short notice. Can you believe it? My host-brother, Jens, is getting married. It would be amazing if you could let me take that week off, it would mean so much.” I’m a fairly poor liar at the best of times, but it’s so critical to success in life, I’m doing my best to improve quickly.
“Of course, of course. That sounds amazing! Wow, I’ve never been to Europe. That will be fantastic. You have a great time OK.”
I thank my boss, Amanda, and pray for success in Geneva so I will never have to work another day in this cesspit of mediocrity and forced smiles.
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