The Bucks Stop Here (eBook) [eBook]by Jim Parton
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Description of The Bucks Stop HereUpdated edition of the City bestseller, with a brand new epilogue.
By most people's standards, Jim Parton was being paid vast sums of money for doing nothing very much in the City. That is until, right in the middle of the recession, he is unceremoniously fired by his ungrateful boss. Sound familiar? Of course. But this is not 2009 mid credit crunch, this is the early 1990s. This a story from the last crisis, telling how Jim survived the shock of losing his job, the fallout from it, and how, despite all of it, he went on to have a happier life (in the end).
This is Jim's story of 'before and after'; of Maseratis and designer clothes; of dim people earning disgusting salaries; of fashionable redundancy becoming feared unemployment - and of what really happens when you spend more time with your wife and family.
A tale from the previous crash then, but one offering hope to those in the City right now and to those outside the City providing an insight to what life is like for people who populate the Square Mile. Find out what happens when the money stops...
Press and Industry Reviews'At last a genuinely funny book about the City and the rise and fall of the roaring eighties, written by a brutally sacked equity salesman. Opening in Year Zero of the depression - 1990 - the first five pages put the boot into one Capital City myth after another; the dealing room at UBS Phillips and Drew resembles an airport terminal, the firm manages to poach only differs from other brokers, and the presence of P&D pundits on TV programmes was a "sure sign of mediocrity". And as for the author's estimates of his own talents: "My boss … thought I was 'crap'… he had managed to spot the one thing that I hoped would go unremarked." This could be the City's version of Final Cut. Buy, buy, buy.'
- Dan Atkinson, The Guardian, 4th July 1994
'Parton is very good at explaining City technicalities - headhunters, insider trading, the uses or otherwise of stock-analytical advice - in a clear, chatty, down-to-earth read.'
- Jenny Turner, The Guardian, 19th July 1994
' "I couldn't see the point of suffering in the City of London if the sums I earned were only mildly revolting as opposed to completely obscene." It's the kind of opening that hints at plenty of juice to come; Parton delivers on the promise. There's always the fear with this kind of book - self-confessed hopeless stockbroker bares soul and puts boot into former employers - that embarrassment or failure to amuse lurks over the very next page. Relax. Parton avoids those sins. He has written a very funny book, required reading for all the forlorn City saps who are still playing the game. Parton kicks off with him married to a Japanese television workaholic, five years into a City broking life, employed by UBS Phillips and Drew. His facility with the Japanese language and a modicum of chutzpah has persuaded successive ignorant City firms that he will one day land them a tidal wave of Japanese cash, as eager Tokyo investors suddenly discover European equities. What goes up - Parton freely admits he was never good enough to go very far up - must come down. He nosedives into unemployment and, yes, does discover an alternate life, playing the piano, writing, enjoying himself without loads of dosh. That might sound twee. But buckets of black humour, ready side-swipes at City taboos - including this newspaper - suffocate sentimentality on sight. It's just too funny, even when things turn sombre; for instance, when Parton's wife dumps him and walks off with their child. Everyone deservedly gets a going-over: broking firms; headhunters - Parton calls them all "Donald" since they are individually indistinguishable; even the 'colleague' who told Parton that he would not speak to him if he wore a checked shirt to the office. So, for the price of an upmarket City sandwich you can buy an afternoon's wonderful hilarity, far funnier and less pompous than Liar's Poker.'
- Gary Mead, Financial Times, 4th July 1994
'One of this year's funniest reads. Hilarious.'
- Margarette Driscoll, The Sunday Times, 17th July 1994
'The former equity salesman Jim Parton writes that media punditry is "a sure sign of mediocrity". His crestfallen memoir of City broking in the early 1990s lacks all grace and gravitas. So what? As a pungent first-hand account of the "temporary suspensions of decency which occur when you are earning too much money", it has few recent rivals. As an inflammatory summer beach-read for the unwaged and underpaid, it has none. Parton's scandal strewn narrative shows one way to demysitfy the Square Mile's secrets. He adopts the larky, laddish voice beloved of all publishers these days. Since it might just help him to reach the first-time investor in unit trusts (70 per cent of which fall short of the index for their sector) this blokery can be forgiven.'
- Boyd Tonkin, New Statesman and Society, 8th July 1994
'City insiders will find this book compelling, but it should be required reading for all those, inside or outside the City, who have ever harboured the faintest, niggling suspicion that they are not worth their pay cheque. He is as honest about his own shortcomings as he is about others. His boss thought he was 'crap', and he thought his boss was a 'nasty bastard'. Parton is always economical in his character portrayals, as in the deliciously brief: 'Let's be quite honest. He is a bastard and I hate him.' The book amusingly attacks anyone and everyone who plays a role on the City stage: personnel managers, the Sloanes who haunt dealing rooms flogging men's shirts and the entire French race, to name a few. The description of his abortive job hunt contains a wonderful indictment of headhunters. I have seen many people in Parton's shoes and his portrayal is painfully accurate. He is delightful on the subject of responses to the standard interviewing questions, such as 'What motivates you?', to which the correct answer is: 'Lots and lots of money.' Being honest about the City is a dangerous game. I think it will pay off for Jim Parton, but if he is really nursing any hope of being lured back with a quarter-of-a-million package, he'd be well advised to put that dream in his bottom drawer and forget all about it. Parton is blessed with a lovely, comic turn of phrase, reminiscent of Bill Bryson, and although his publisher let the odd hideously tangled sentence through the editorial net, it didn't spoil my enjoyment. I was more bothered by the occasional moments when his commendable cynicism lapsed into grapes of an exceedingly sour variety, but he clearly had a tough year and he deserves a break. This is a personal testament, and towards the end of it I was asking three questions. Is he a nice chap? Almost definitely. Is he right aout the City? Yes and no; I agree a lot of brokers are overpaid and arrogant, but he seems unlucky to have been surrounded by such dreadfully mediocre specimens. Finally, is he a good writer? Yes, he is. He keeps his knife sheathed for the analysts, but I am sure he would agree with me that far too many are guilty of sitting on the fence when it comes to a recommendation, so I'll now stick my neck out: It's a Buy.'
- Juliette Mead, The Daily Mail, 16th July 1994
'When Jim Parton was selling equities in for American investment bank Merrill Lynch, he would get into work at 7 am to catch the Tokyo market and stay until well into the evening. 'I got home knackered. My son was already asleep and I was monosyllabic to my wife. I went to bed at 10.30 - that was if I had not already dropped off over my supper.' He has since 'got a life', as he puts it, by foresaking stocks and shares to spend his days writing at home in Camberwell. His engaging first book, The Bucks Stop Here, narrates the premature end of his City career - and of his marriage - in vivid, gossipy detail and has become a bestseller in most Square Mile bookshops.
One reason that it has struck a chord is that it illustrates a phenomenon which has only recently attracted the wider attention it deserves: chronic overwork. Sitting in the Observer's newsroom writing this at 10 pm, it seems clear to me that, despite compelling evidence, most of us are so far paying only lip service to the pressing need to work less hard. There is a long way to go before we genuinely realise that we have got trapped in a topsy-turvy culture where too many people have no job and too many others do enough work for two…'
- Lisa O'Kelly, The Observer
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About Jim PartonBorn in Nairobi in 1959, Jim Parton was educated at Haileybury and St Andrews University, where he read French (but only for the two weeks before finals). After a short career in the City, he has been a freelance writer. For some years he ran the charity Families Need Fathers. His books include 'Unreasonable Behaviour', 'Let Me Entertain You' (for Robbie Williams) and 'Walking on Air' (for Trevor Jones). He is married, with two toddlers and twin babies. He and his wife live in Poland where they are restoring a small palace.