Unfortunately the situation was made more painful because it occurred on a plane (otherwise known as an inescapable, oxygen sucking, flying prison cell (which notably is just lame and not cool like Con-Air)). The fact that we were stuck on a plane, forced me to make a difficult decision – I could either:
- (a) interact with him like a one of those ‘normal people’ I hear about so often; or
- (b) feign incontrollable bowel movements requiring me to stay in the bathroom for the entire flight; or
- (c) implore the good old doctrine of wilful blindness (the law’s answer to CBF) and look the other way whilst simultaneously searching for where they kept the safety parachutes.
Unfortunately in my case, it was too late and I had to interact as I walked passed him as he nestled into his business class seat. I nodded and immediately recognised the smirk of “if you were still a banker you’d be sitting up here with me” which I knew was completely false because a) I know the travel policies of this bank ….particularly for analysts…particularly on short haul flights…you’re lucky to not be in cargo really and b) sitting next to a banking boss invariably means goodbye ‘Iron Man’, hello working for the entire flight as he spends the first hour lecturing you on how important sleep is when you’re travelling for work, then spends the rest of the flight either sleeping or sporadically waking up, lifting up his eye-mask, giving you work then going back to sleep.
Anyway when we eventually started conversing I couldn’t shake this feeling that whenever I talk to any ex-banking bosses, I feel like I’m talking to ‘the ex’. You talk cordially but there’s this awkwardness….awkwardness mainly driven by wanting to take all of your current happiness from being out of banking, put it through some machine that’s able to convert that happiness into a tangible solid brick, then smack them over the head with your brick of happiness. Ok ok…so violence is not an answer….but you’ve got to admit that for some ex-bosses, it would feel fucking awesome.
Anyway, when I had calmed down, I realised that this was a great opportunity to not only update him but also engage in a serious propaganda campaign with strong key messages about how well I’m doing, in the hope that this gets conveyed to others I used to work for and they too can feel twangs of jealousy as they do their own mark-ups because their incompetence has driven everyone out of the team. However, whilst theoretically this sounds good, in practice it was a bit of disaster. I ended up talking non-stop about how happy I was. Even though I am happy, I became overwhelmed with expressing how I happy I was in as many ways and forms as possible – this seemed to include a 10 minute answer to the question “how are things?” which involved talking about how awesome my new job is, how all the teams that I play sport for are going, why I think Downton Abbey has jumped the shark and how my skin is so much fresher all because I now have all of this time to do all of these other things. Clearly a brick of my happiness to the face would’ve been better than verbal diarrhoea to convey that “I’m totally over you”.
After he left, not only could I not stop singing Gotye’s, ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’, I spent the next while assessing whether I would be singing Gotye or Kimbra’s part in the song about my ‘breakup with the bank’….you know because this seemed like a perfectly good use of time. I decided that I was Kimbra given I did the dumping, got friends to collect my records (ie. take some good packs that I had put together), and changed my number when I moved jobs. However this whole interaction got me thinking about why I cared so much. Where there still residual feelings? Was I looking for closure? …. It was about here in this existentialist haze that I realised that I was talking about an old job like it was a full blown relationship so I decided to smack myself with my brick of happiness. Further given that I could also sing ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ about the last bit of Ice Magic, or the value of my Billabong shares, I decided that I should stop being the self-involved, blind-man-stick-kicker and get over it.