Jim Parton fell into a stockbroking job almost by accident; you see, he spoke a little Japanese, and a Wall of Money was supposed to come soon from Tokyo (it never did).
By most standards, Jim was being paid vast sums of money for doing nothing very much in the City. But stockbrokers do not operate by most standards, or any normal standards. He began to wonder what the point was of being merely comfortable as opposed to obscenely rich, especially when a free-spending Japanese wife seemed to grow his overdraft in proportion to his salary. Nagging too was the thought that there might be more to life than Maseratis and designer clothes and dim people earning disgusting salaries. His boss at Merrill Lynch, unaware that the 1990s were about caring and sharing, cadged a skiing holiday off him and fired him on his return.
This is Jim’s story of before and after. Is the grass really greener? And what really happens when you spend more time with your wife and family?
With wit, resourcefulness, and imagination, plus a degree of courage and conviction (and not much money), Jim makes a case for enjoying life at its best, not its most purposeful. He finds an alternative life, playing the piano, rediscovering sport, writing. That might sound twee, but even when things turn sombre – his wife walks out on him – buckets of black humour, ready self-criticism and side swipes at every City myth or politically correct taboo going, suffocate sentimentality on sight. There are few funnier writers than Jim Parton.
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