I am regularly berated for working in the financial sector. The press hasn't been kind to bankers over the last few years, and whilst my job (designing and delivering training) is about as far away from understanding the ins and outs of hedge funds as possible, I can't deny that the training I deliver is indeed for a bank.
No-one enjoys winding me up about this more than my brother, Jack. Jack also works in Learning and Development, but works in the charity sector for a cancer charity. TheBloke (TM) is an accountant, but he too works for a charity - focused on homelessness. Between them, they enjoy making pointed comments to me about the "evil financial sector", and how I'm a leech on society.
Until I found the foolproof argument.
"So," I said to TheBloke (TM). "You work for a charity, right?"
"Yes," said TheBloke (TM). "Because I am altruistic* and essentially better than you."
"And charities are funded how?"
"Mostly donations," he said, "and sometimes government funding."
"Interesting," I said. "And do they pay you a salary?"
"You know they do," TheBloke (TM) said, narrowing his eyes and raising his ridiculous ginger eyebrows as he knew I was up to something.
"So are you actually taking money from a charity each month? Depleting the charity of funds that would otherwise have tackled homelessness?"
"Well," stuttered TheBloke (TM), "they need accountants..."
"Answer the question, bitch!" I shouted. "Do you or don't you take money from a charity each month?"
"Well, yes," he admitted.
"OK," I said. "So we've ascertained you take money from a charity each month. Good. And this charity aims to prevent homelessness?"
"Yes," he replied.
"So essentially, its aim is to eliminate homelessness?"
"Yes - ultimately."
"So if the charity succeeds in its aims, you'd actually be out of a job?"
TheBloke (TM) looked a bit perplexed. "Well, erm..."
"So," I said, "you're essentially hoping that homelessness continues - in order to support you. You're actively working to ensure homelessness continues. Sicko. Plus every holiday you take is effectively prising a meal out of a homeless person's mouth. Even as we speak, some homeless guy in Scotland's dog is going without dinner tonight because you chose to do overtime last week. I hope you're proud of yourself."
TheBloke (TM) wept quietly in the corner. I turned my attention to Jack, "And you," I said. "You're essentially banking your career on the fact that they won't ever cure cancer. Nice. And you have the audacity to call bankers evil?"
I finished with, "So both of you have no qualms in taking money from charities each month and secretly hoping that you never solve the issue that you receive funding for. Sick."
Some days I think I'm wasted in Learning and Development. I should have been a lawyer.
* He didn't actually say this. His vocabulary isn't that big.