It’s a pretty quiet day in the office today with a lot of shattered looking faces. It’s especially striking in contrast to the utter mayhem that went on yesterday. As a summary, I chatted up some gorgeous ladies, made £15, and partied (and drank) for 12 hours. This morning I’m already on my fifth glass of water and I the smell of puke won’t leave my nose.
Why all the festivities? Yesterday was Comp Day and the Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Christmas Party. Compensation Day is a big deal at Morgan Stanley (as it is at most investment banks). It’s the day everyone gets their Christmas bonus, and the bonuses can be huge. Traders who have a good year get bonuses several times larger than their actual salary. “[In London] up to 3,000 bankers and brokers are expected to pocket at least £1m each. And there are reports that two Goldman Sachs bankers will be receive £10m each.” Because IT doesn’t have a direct an impact on profits, the bonuses aren’t that big for the nerds. But bonuses the same size as your salary aren’t uncommon.
So all morning my co-workers were called into meetings and handed their bonus. At noon, bottles of champagne were uncorked, promotions were announced, and the celebrations began. After the champagne we went to a bar and Alex (newly promoted VP in our team) opened a tab. The bars in Canary Wharf were all packed, including the patio areas (luckily it was unseasonably warm). At 4:30 we moved to Julian’s place and played poker. I won one big hand, after going all in with a full House with jacks and aces, and ended up winning £15 – I was down £15 at the time.
After poker, we jumped on the tube and went down to Piccadilly Circus for our Christmas Party at Trocadero. There were 3000 MS employees there spread over 3 floors. They had cool escalators with neon lights connecting things. It was a pretty good party. Copious amounts of alcohol, a professional dance performance that looked like a mix of Stomp and Flashdance, lots of dancing, a surprising amount of good looking birds, bumper cars (I didn’t go on), chocolate fountains, and reasonable food (the vegetarian options were lacking, but it was filling).
I was buzzed pretty early (after a few glasses of champagne and wine) and had a blast all night. The best part was when Dave, Chris (new grad), and I went out on the pull. It was all very improvised, but we were great wingmen. I used my antlers to start conversations with the ladies, Dave would jump in with his alien like antenae, and then we woudld bring Chris in. It worked surprisingly well (or else I was too drunk to notice any negative reactions). The first girl I saw smiled when she saw my antlers, so I asked her if she liked them. Then as we started chatting we got her friend to take a picture of her with us three. Than we noticed that her 3 friends were even hotter! We chatted for a bit, and then Dave said we should move on. As Dave and I walked away we noticed Chris was still chatting (Man Down!). At that point we really couldn’t go back for him, and had to wait patiently until he got the name of the girl (and he even remembered it today). From that point on we only had limited success. Although at one point Dave started chatting to this girl he knew, and I kept shouting – “Dave, who’s the hottie? Introduce us to your friend!”. Then I later found out she works in HR and is in charge of hiring new grads, and is the person Dave was going to talk to about getting me an interview for full time work. Whoops.
At some point I got split up with my wingmen and had to fly solo for a bit. I ended up on the dance floor dancing with some really young ladies that I have never seen before. The best part of the party was 99% of the people I’ve never seen before, and since I’m leaving in a week, I will probably never see them again (unless I get a full time job here).
At midnight, I left to catch the last tube home. I was pretty buzzed, but had enough sense to figure out what tubes I needed to get on.My memory is pretty cloudy, but I remember sitting with my head down and then puking in my mouth. I have seen people puke on the tube before, and really didn’t want to be that person, so I tried desperately to keep it in my mouth. I remember hearing voices around me saying: “He’s trying to keep it in!”, “I think he’s going to blow”. Slowly the puke starting dripping down onto the floor in front of me. I really didn’t know what to do though. At this point, I expected everyone around me to just vacate. But this really nice lady beside me put her hand on my shoulder and asked if I was ok. Then she passed me a plastic bag to puke in. The guy across from me gave me some paper towels to clean my face and hands. And I found some old newspapers to clean up the floor. The nice lady then gave me a piece of gum. I was really grateful to the random strangers who didn’t shun me in my gross and disgusting state, but instead took pity on me and helped me. It was moment of generosity I’ll never forget.