Thursday, 13 November 2008

The Largest Bar of Soap Update, and Some Comments on Financial Matters

Now I'm sure you'll all be wondering how the Largest Bar of Soap in the World is doing, particularly since CrookedShore has been astute enough to observe that the Largest Bar of Soap in the World is a cunning metaphor for the world economy, and its decline is therefore highly symbolic.

Thus, an update:

  • 7th October 2008: 15.4cm
  • 13th November 2008: 15cm
Other relevant features:
  • Brown cracks developing at both ends
So it is getting smaller, turning brown and cracking up, which is surely extremely pertinent.

Anyway, in the previous post on this, I mentioned briefly that I barely know how a bank account works, but that is not to say that I do not have some ideas.

I was generally under the impression that the reason you would have a bank account was that if you kept all your money under your bed, someone might break into your house and steal it, and this would be a bad thing. To help with this, banks opened up, with giant beds under which they would store your money securely.

When you put your money in, they gave you extra money back in the form of interest. I have always been a little bit fuzzy on how this works, since essentially they are doing you a favour by looking after your money in the first place, so there seems no reason for them to pay you to do that.

Anyway, now it seems that they have been paying interest to people by taking other people's money out from under the giant bed and giving it to the first people as interest. In the meantime, new people (or maybe companies) would put their money in and the bank would put that money under the giant bed, to replace the second person's money that they took out to give the first person. And this was all ok until all the people wanted their money at once, and then they looked under the giant bed and it was empty, apart from some cobwebs and toenail clippings.

But I'm not sure that this is really how it works at all.

I once went for an job interview at a bank. I spent all of 2 evenings reading the Financial Times and The Economist, in a bid to look like I knew what I was talking about (somehow it didn't seem to occur to me that they might see through the fact that the only things I knew about in the way of finance were things that had happened within the past 2 days). So I went in and they asked why I wanted the job, and I spouted all this stuff about how interesting the financial sector was and how I wanted to use my degree in this area and stocks and shares and bulls and bears and blah blah blah, and then the guy said "Well, actually, this is a software development post, and you wouldn't really be doing much in the way of financial work, to be honest.".

So I had to swiftly backtrack on all that; I did this convincingly enough to get through to the next round, which was a written test on various computer languages. There were (I think) about 50 pages of questions, with about 5 questions on each page, and I answered, in total (and I promise you I am not making this up, this is Actual Fact) 6 questions, of which 3 were ones I knew and 3 were guessed. At the rest, I could not even hazard a guess.

Despite a score of 6/250 on the test, I was invited back for a third interview; at this point I decided their standards were too low and pulled out of the process.


Vox O'Malley said...

If it was for one of the big "Norn Iron" banks [commonly referred to in the trade as 'legalised gangsters'] you'd be better selling large bars of soap for a living.

Anonymous said...

thank you for this comforting report. I am glad that the soap isn't declining as fast as our hysterical media would have us believe.

whynotsmile said...

Vox - no, it was for one of the larger multi-national banks, which has recently set up in our citi.

CrookedShore - yes, I think the media like a scare story, but the evidence is that the large bar of soap will be around for some time to come.