Confessions Of A 17 Year Old Stockbroker

You're 17. You're a stockbroker. There's money to burn and you're not even legally an adult. What would you do?
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You're 17. You're a stockbroker. There's money to burn and you're not even legally an adult. What would you do?

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What’s the strangest, most bizarre question you’ve ever been asked?

I only ask because I think I’m going to win on this one. Who’s this presumptuous dick, I hear you all ask. But seriously: how can you beat this...

‘What would you do if your mum caught you wanking in the bath?’

Oh, and I forgot to mention the fact that mine occurred during my first ever job interview...

Five years ago, I was a 17 year old college dropout who was more interested in my Xbox 360 and slobbering over older women way out of my league. My dad, keen to see that I wouldn’t waste the solitary brain cell inside my head (and also very keen to get my lazy arse out of the house for a few hours), managed to arrange for me an interview at a highly successful city brokerage. I was (and probably remain to a certain extent) a kid; what did I know about stocks, bonds and debentures? My knowledge extended about as far as ‘I think Gordon Gekko was the bad guy’ in Wall Street and the admittedly valid philosophy of ‘buy low, sell high’. I bought a suit, did a few minutes of slapdash research on the company via the internet, stashed an unread newspaper in a suitcase in a hilariously transparent attempt to resemble some sort of professional, intelligent adult, and set out on what I assumed was a fairly hopeless endeavour but one that may at least be a tad enlightening.

Upon arriving at the glittering dildo-shaped glass monster that was the company’s headquarters, and assuming said dildo was a physical metaphor for the intellectual rogering I was going to get at the hands of several very serious city types, I stepped into the glass foyer with just a hint of anxiety. After politely enquiring from the reception staff where I had to go, I ascended the escalator, made my way into the coffin-like lift and awaited my fate.

Grim places, waiting rooms. You never have to use them unless it’s for something faintly horrible; like psyching yourself up for a root canal inspection at the dentist, or waiting to have your dislocated shoulder popped back in at a noisy, congested A&E ward by a nurse who’s had half an hour of sleep and two coffee enemas just to get out of bed.

I was eventually ushered in and shook hands vigorously with two men in their 40s (who would later turn out to be worth approximately £20 million apiece).  They then proceeded to spend the first ten minutes of the interview/hellish encounter opening a dictionary at random and asking me what the longest word on the page meant. It went something like this.

‘Discombobulation; GO.’

Erm... The state of being confused?

‘Define a paradox. You’ve got ten seconds.’

Oh... (1 second gone.) Well I’d say... (Another five seconds gone; blank unimpressed faces glare back at me.) An argument that has a contradiction of logic within it. (GOOD, I thought, I sound like a right smart shit with that.)

‘Tell us a joke. A funny one.’

OH FUCK. He stared back at me. The temptation to blurt out ‘the bad toupee on your head’ or ‘my job prospects at this very moment’ came to mind. Instead I opted for: what do you call a gangster who pulls up the back of your pants?

...

WEDGIE KRAY!

Asides from that awful joke, I seemed to be staying reasonably afloat. There followed a chat about sport and what I liked doing in my spare time; this can’t be right, I thought. This is a job interview, aren’t they supposed to carry on being total arseholes to me throughout before I crawl out with my self confidence in ruins and a lifelong stutter whenever someone utters ‘stockbroking’? Finally, the immortal question which will stay with me until the day I die:

‘What would you do if your mum caught you wanking in the bath?’

Apparently my answer of I’d probably ask my dad to take his hand off my dick in case she thought it was a bit weird was satisfactory. Two weeks later in the post, an inch thick company document arrived at my door. All I had to do was sign on the dotted line; I was to be a junior stockbroker for Fyfe Investment Co.*, with a basic starting salary of almost £20,000 and the prospect, if I did well, of becoming a multi-millionaire before my 30th birthday.

What, the fucking, fuck, was my immediate reaction. Here I was, a teenager, who’d spent the last six months lazing about with no real aim in life. Unless you count watching pornography like it was an Olympic sport, trying to sneak into pubs with a fake ID that even McLovin wouldn’t use and attempting to get off with as many humans who possessed a vagina as I possibly could. Now, I had a job. Correction, a glittering career, if I wanted it. Prospects. More money than I knew what to do with. I’d be wiping my arse with £50 notes just for the hell of it. All of this and more; I couldn’t even vote, I didn’t have a driving licence, never even ironed a shirt. It was nuts. The immeasurable promise of the year 2008’s summer was upon me and, whilst my friends scrounged together a few quid to buy a half-gristle/half-horse burger on their college lunch break, an exhilarating chapter of my life was about to start.

Within 12 months I would have witnessed an orgy with an amputee, helped hail down a London bus in rush hour to pay the driver as our own personal cabbie, as well as observed a multimillionaire trader attempt to commit suicide by jumping from the top of our office building.

God help me. I didn’t have a bloody clue.