Most of my working life has been spent in the City of London, a place steeped in history. To clarify what I mean by the City of London it’s what known as ‘The Square Mile’ the original City of London not the sprawling mass it has become today. The City of London or as it is known ‘The City’ is today one of the leading financial centres in the world not surprising given that for many centuries it was a thriving and important commercial and trading centre; even the Hanseatic League had a base there at one time.
My association with the City goes back to the time I was born my late father also having worked in the City and there’s not a street, the origins of whose name I couldn’t tell you about, like the fact that that Cannon Street has nothing to do with artillery but candles. I do feel it a shame at times given the hustle and bustle that so many in the City seemed to be unaware of the history that faces them at every street corner.
Not that my working life had anything to do with history more to do with the future my second career following a short spell of domesticity being global financial intelligence which I came by quite by accident, a former colleague of my late husband had set up in GFI and was looking for someone with language skills; yep I’m one of those Brits who speak more than English, eight if you include Latin. Not that languages are all you need but they are a very big +; what are essential are a rhino-like hide, gritty determination, ability to work unsocial hours and under intense pressure, patience and if possible overwhelming curiosity. It’s a real cut-throat business; one has to be accurate and current if one doesn’t want the financial gorillas on one‘s back and better and quicker than one’s rivals. It was a bit of a grind at first but then the Internet came along and with more and more organisations setting up websites the data became easier and quicker to obtain.
From the start I was hooked; for me it was like Santa Claus turning up in June. Internet junkie c’est moi but coupled with lingual ability and that curiosity it helped me considerably. Not that I forgot my passion for history, my best subject at school, but working to tight deadlines and sometimes up to 12 hours a day and weekends left me little time for anything else.
Then came the day as it comes for all of us when one logs off permanently and a few months ago I became a lady of leisure and able to move into history full-time. I thought with all the work experience I had that it would be a piece of cake. How wrong I was!