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