All week I wine and dine potential clients until the early hours, or I'm on a long-haul flight to meet overseas clients. I've become overweight, have insomnia, and my health's suffering from the drinking. I've lost touch with my friends and my fiancee has left me because I'm rarely home. It's all part of the bank's macho culture, and I'd be branded a wimp if I complained to my boss. Yet I feel I can't leave - I've got a couple of large mortgages and I've become used to the money and status. I don't know what I'd do without it.
A: Well, you're going to have to find out. If you don't leave this job pretty soon, you can be certain that the job will leave you. What investment bank, particularly in 2002, is going to continue to employ an overweight insomniac with a drink problem?
I'm sorry to sound harsh; but since you're honest enough and self-aware enough to tell me all this in the first place, you should also be able to face up to the inevitable consequences.
Your choice is a simple one. Wait until they fire you, and then face the future with dented confidence and a smudgy CV. Or fire yourself now. Sell one of those two properties; lose a bit of weight; regain a bit of self-respect; apologise to your girl friend; learn how to live on less money: and vow never again to become addicted to the phoney, fragile status that silly salaries confer.
Jeremy Bullmore's responses to work dilemmas in MT are collected in his book Another Bad Day at the Office? (Penguin, pounds 5.99)
Please address your problems to Jeremy Bullmore at: Management Today, 174 Hammersmith Road, London W6 7JP. Or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.