At this point, I embarked on a career as a bar tender in various London Pubs. While entertaining, and for a newly ex-student, relatively lucrative, it was not a realistic long-term proposition. It also screwed up my social life as I was working to 11:00 or later most nights. I decided not to re-sit my exams, and became a trainee computer programmer at the National Westminster Bank. During my training, in the PL/1 programming language, for those who remember it, I set a record at IBM for the most errors ever generated in the training program. If memory serves me correctly, the mainframe computer I used initially was an IBM 360/30, with a whopping 32 kilobytes of memory (note; not megabytes, or gigabytes, just 32,000 bytes) and the disk was, I think, 4 Megabytes. It was powerful stuff in 1969. Ultimately, this lack of ability to write computer programs resulted in my promotion to Systems Analyst and beyond. In any event, I lasted only 15 Months at Nat West before leaving to join a small consultancy (Computer Systems International - CSI) and getting a nice fat salary increase. My friend Joe and I also had to leave our Knightsbridge apartment and moved into a small place in Hammersmith. This did not last long as the daughter of the owner of the building complained if we walked around in the evening let alone talked or played music. It was during my time at CSI that I first married in October 1971.
Over the years, I moved regularly to various companies, mainly consultancies, spending several years at Mouncey & Partners, mainly on contract to Rank Xerox and the Xerox Corporation. This included nearly two years out in Milan, and several months in Amsterdam. Ultimately, in 1983, I decided to become freelance, and joined the CGO (Central Gilts Office). This was something of a turning point in my life. The following year, I returned to a single life, and moved from our large detached house to a tiny studio apartment in Putney, south-west London. Having sold the house, I made two major purchases; an apartment in nearby Barnes, and my first Porsche; a 911 SC Targa in metallic Platinum. While the apartment was a small two bedroom, only around 750 square feet, it was an 8th floor penthouse, with a roof terrace occupying the entire roof. Many times, I thought about moving into something larger, but it never happened, and I ended up living there for over ten years. The Porsche was magical, and never let me down for the nearly eight years I had it!
Freelancing continued for several years until I ended up at Paribas Capital Markets, as it was, in 1987. Initially, I freelanced, but later I accepted a permanent position for a year and a half. It was in 1987 that I first visited New York. I enjoyed it a lot, and decided that I would see whether a move there was feasible. In the event, it took nearly ten years to happen, but more of that later. below is a picture of my friend and colleague Jim, in the Paribas foyer, on our way to a party in around 1988 or 1989. I seem to have been very slim in my late 30s. We both bought outrageous outfits for the occasion, though I must admit on the day, I did not wear the matching trousers!
Moving on in 1990, I decided I would try to work for half the year, and take off the rest; so I took off several months before starting a contract with Charterhouse Bank. Then more time off before accepting a project at CSFB, on the Hugo project. The remuneration was such that in 1991, I traded in the car for a much newer Porsche; a lovely red 911 Carrera Targa Sport, with an off-white leather interior. My friend Maggie nicknamed it my "tart's boudoir".
Following this project, I took off nearly a year from work, in part to spend more time with my Mother through her illness and subsequent death. I also decided that I would change to using "William" in place of "Bill", which I had never really liked.
I worked a number of shorter contracts after this, taking time off in between. Clients included UBS and a couple of stints at the Nomura Research Institute. I was taking an extended break, spending four or five mornings a week at the gym trying to get into shape, when a freelance agent, with whom I had worked before, called me about a contract. I was not really interested, but as a freelance, one never alienates agencies who find you work! As it happened, it turned out to be interesting and very lucrative; but more of that in the next section.....
William's Tale - London
left, the 911 SC Targa,
right, the later
911 Carrera Targa Sport.
William & Jim; Paribas Foyer