Life in Laos through the lens of a diplomatic wife raising twin toddlers.

How I Got To Sin City

As a mother of twins in my mid-40’s my partying days are most definitely over, but reading The.Ego.Tripper‘s post “What A Party!” triggered some reminiscence of my time in Singapore when a night out lasted until dawn followed by decadent recovery poolside with cold towels to the forehead and messages. I wound up in SIN City on a fluke really. Somehow just starting out in investment banking in NYC gave me a lot of balls because I really had nothing to lose but rent for a crappy shoebox walk up apartment. I’d just returned from a vacation to Australia and was blabbering away about it to the global head of the derivatives trading desk that I was a minion to. He was in town for a few days from London and we were just chatting in the hallway. Now that I think about it, not only do people not blabber about their vacation to the global head of anything but no one just chats with their global head of anything in the hallway, unless you are a rank above or maybe just below him. And NO ONE ends such casual chitchats with, “So I think you should send me to our office in Sydney to help Olivier out with [some derivatives product I can no longer remember] because he keeps asking me to help him from here, which is so far away, and with the time difference I can get it done faster if I’m there.” Helping Olivier merely meant translating some numbers and projections into normal people speak and putting them into Powerpoint slides to show clients, a talent not uniquely mine within the company by any stretch of the most ludicrous fantasy. I might have asked him on a whim expecting to not be taken seriously but I guess I did it with enough naively placed confidence to elicit his response, “You don’t want to go to Sydney in this business. Do that when you’re ready to retire. The place to be now is Singapore. In fact, there is an opening. You should go and see what you think.” WHAAAAAAT?! WTF just happened here?

Next thing I remember I was in the HR office saying, “TJ wants me to go to Singapore for this job.” You don’t understand. If the global head of anything wants something, no one asks Why? They just make sure it happens. So New York HR contacted Singapore HR and said I was coming for this job. Then I went to my bosses and said, “TJ wants me to go to Singapore for this job.” I can’t remember what they said exactly but soon thereafter I bought my own plane ticket since that was a minion’s job anyway and I got a few pats on the back from the guys I was working with along with a few muttered “congrats” from those stunned into silence as to how I finagled this stroke of genius in the first place, and off I went to Singapore. When I arrived I basically kept repeating the same thing, “TJ said this job was open and sent me here to check it out.” Mind you I never asked a single person during this whole entire process if anyone wanted me to go or to take the job. My instincts were to just place myself in the context of a global head’s request, and everything followed. I signed a contract before returning to NYC to pack my bags and said “See ya!”.

Totally unintended, I lived in SIN for seven years working hard and playing hard. This is a glimpse of a night out with my colleagues…

Bottomless pours.


“New York just opened. I gotta take this call!” Yeah right.

And the night is still young.

I’m such a light weight I’ll probably get a hangover just from posting these pictures.

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7 comments on “How I Got To Sin City

  1. larkycanuck
    May 22, 2012

    What made you change your life from corporate banking to humanitarian aid. Was it passion or social cause

    • Wanderlustress
      May 22, 2012

      It was a feeling of lack of purpose and passion after being in banking for so long that I made a life-changing decision. I wrote about it here http://wp.me/p2clok-2R. Humanitarian aid is really where my interests and passion lies, and feels more genuine as my life’s work.

      • larkycanuck
        May 22, 2012

        so i must ask next why did you not end up going this route in first place. larger context, why do people end up chancing upon their passion in career in life after stumbles. is it chance, not enough focus on career planning at early stage, pressures of society/family, keeping up with norms etc.

      • Wanderlustress
        May 24, 2012

        I did start out in non-profit work but it meant working in NYC in near poverty, and when you’re that young, you want to try different things so I was open to banking (which, btw, I also fell into on a fluke). After that, I got stuck in the bonus loop and easy life which only became unbearable when other areas of my life (namely relationship) was failing. Not until I reached that bottom did I analyze my life in a way that lead to my decision to follow my passion and not anything or anyone else.

  2. travelladywithbaby
    May 22, 2012

    I love that you just chitchatted, I am sure you left NY with people talking about you for years.

    • Wanderlustress
      May 22, 2012

      It really is unfortunate that something happens with age. I really want those balls back!

      • travelladywithbaby
        May 22, 2012

        You never loose them, you have just misplaced them, lol!

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This entry was posted on May 21, 2012 by in Singapore and tagged , , , , .

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