A career in finances

Apologies if I scared anyone after my last post, but paranoia has become a part of my life since I had watched the September 11th on the tv in a local gym in Amsterdam, while living in that beautiful city.

I was quite surprised that classes in the gym continued despite witnessing the end of the world and on autopilot I joined my class in step-aerobics to run out of the room, the gym and vomit on the street five minutes after the start of the class. I thought that everything was finished, everything in this earth and I don’t remember how I managed to fall asleep that night and even drag myself to my place of work at MoneyCare the next day, to see whether anyone else was able to continue living.

To my greatest surprise most of my colleagues and my boss showed up at our job, albeit everyone looked shattered, sad and disillusioned.

My boss was running in panic from one corner of the room to the next, trying to keep us somehow optimistic. His eyes were red from obvious crying, and he kept on saying that we had to keep going. Salaries needed to be paid, pension funds needed our advice and he even managed to crack some kind of a joke by saying to us:

“Can you imagine? For some people it’s an opportunity to make money!”

MoneyCare in this respect was almost a non-profit organisation. We all were paid more or less the same salary and our working system was transparent and based in strong ethical values. Each client had the same access to the system and the format of writing news analyses was clear and to the point. I was the inventor of the new writing system, btw.

We could only talk about September 11th on that day. We had an American colleague working with us and we were glued to the news.

Still it was the day when I put a Belgian bank, called Dexia on big plus in our cluster of analysts of banks and wrote a smashing uplifting report about the bank, because the bank was Belgian (and I loved Belgium), it was in the European Union that I admired for the initial principle of its creation, and the bank was supported by the Belgian state. Having grown up in the Soviet Russia I knew with certainty one thing: the State has to control the basics, such as natural resources, infrastructure, medical system, internet and banks, to avoid such catastrophic occurrences, as the collapse of the Soviet Union, Invasion of Iraq, September 11th and now, Brexit.

But I probably bored you to death with finances and will switch to something more uplifting in my next post.

What happened?

And so, to continue on the other post, in 2001 ended up i working as a financial analyst of banks by FDA (Financiële Diensten Amsterdam). I startled my new job in September and shortly after I was shown the possibility of September 11th on a screen in a gym where I was a member (or not), and with a trauma in my brain (I died together with the NEW YORK city and the United States of America because to process ‘such’ an ‘event’ for a kind, full of love, human being, was indeed a Mission Impossible and therefore, in the middle of the step aerobics class, I kind of dared to attend in a haze, I run out into the street and was violently sick.

The next day I showed up at my work and I remember my boss, Mr Wulf, telling me:

“It’s a good moment to make money!’ And while he strongly reminded me of the current Pope in the Vatican City I kind of ‘swallowed up’ that unbelievable piece of information, looked outside the window and focussed on my task at my job. I understood nothing in finances but I cheered for a bank Dexia back in Belgium and putted it in a strong plus, and never ever could give it a minus (oh dear, did I press ‘negative advice’ at some point, surely Not! But in any case, I became the biggest fan of the Belgian State run Bank and that decision was, most probably, what kept me alive. I was in Love with Belgium and missed Brussels like mad, I simply couldn’t live without it.

In 2003 I was given as a task, to run a portfolio of equities, it was in June, and in November 2003, I was driven by Mr Wulf and Lena from the house of my boss, in Purmerend, to the hospital there. We entered straight to the reception of the psychiatric afdeling, I was interviewed by so-called ‘doctors’ in a tiny room. Mr Wulf and Lena were saying something about me, but I switched off and focused on the painting looking at me from the opposite side of the wall. I made myself to Believe in Jesus, I made myself imagine that I was a Buddha, I made myself to believe in something, in whatever was still left of humanity and thus, accepted my fate of being put onto a stretcher, to be escorted into a terrible room with a cameras everywhere and receive the injection into my ass of the verdict of Death (fuck off Card 13 in the Tarot Deck, I moved into the Justice position by Choice), and I thought indeed ‘what the fuck’ when I died, and woke up as they told me (a nurse) after 3 days of being asleep in a room with a camera staring at me across the room.

I got up from the mattress, approached the board with a piece of shrunk next to it and wrote a statement:

I am Buddha.

Five minutes later a doctor appeared in my room, looking confused , and he told me that I was sick and not worthy and put me on medication called ‘Zyprexa then’.

So, to conclude this story for now (to be continued, can someone from the United States of America confirm to me that September 11th really happened???

If you ask me, I believe it’s the biggest scam in the history of humanity because where I am now, in Leeuwarden (check or Google the city), I see the two towers standing proudly Alive.

But wait!

I have the #diagnosis of ‘bipolar disorder’ and am supposed not to be taken seriously.

Even if I AM Jesus and I am Very Much Alive and Thriving despite the odds of being accused of carrying a bomb (eh???), so yes, it never happened and couldn’t NOT.

In the same way that #Brexit Can’t happen and the UK should run The European Union because it’s a magnificent country with the BEST sense of humour (we, Russians also rock in this domain when you pass the test of being honest, sincere and kind), in the same way that Biden CAn’t be a president of any country whatsoever but Donald Trump CAN.

A lawful President of the beautiful (? Haven’t yet a chance of being there) UNITED STATES OF AMERICA- my Country, my Land because my heart landed there with love from Russia and I became his biggest fan as the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

Btw, did I tell you I am JESUS?

My name is Ekaterina Netchitailova and I was born on the 10th of July in Moscow.

I am a female, I have a son, my cat died and I am stuck as a patient in a psychiatric hospital with the diagnosis of bipolar disorder disorder.

Once Upon a Time (Netflix Series)

To be continued

Alesso: We Could be Heroes.

It was in 2003 that I ended up in my first psychiatric hospital, driven there by my former boss and a colleague while I worked as a financial analyst of banks and portfolio manager at FDA (Financiële Diensten Amsterdam, same name as the American agency that approved all medication in the United States of America) in the beautiful city of Amsterdam.
it was while working at the company that I saw September 11 on TV in the local gym, and the next day witnessed the frantic work back at my job. Apparently it was a good moment to make some money and in total disbelief I watched my company to create portfolios of actions. It was weird for me as I just wanted to die because for me it was a moment that the world has surely come to an end.

how was it possible I would ask myself and with this enormous question on my mind I addressed God and marched into my new psychotic reality-the only way to survive when you deal with bad witchcraft on a global scale.

to be continued

My first day at my job in finances

On the fifth of sixth of September 2001 I presented myself at my new job at MoneyCare. I was quite apprehensive on my way to my first day at work, because it would be the first time that I would end up working in an office, and in a function that wasn’t just new, but would involve, as I suspected, a considerable degree of study. There was nothing I knew about banks, or finances.

            Still, at the age of twenty-five I could see the benefits of my new position. I was travelling on the underground station in one of the best cities in the whole world, truly beautiful from the architectural point of view, very international, and where it seemed that the possibilities were endless. The fact that I had relocated there from a deeply loved Belgium, and where I had come for the sole reason to study in French, looked irrelevant at that point. I was young, and I was blessed with opportunities, and approaching the corporate Bijlmer underground station seemed like yet another adventure on my life path, rather than a serious commitment to a new, serious routine.

            As I learned rather quickly I wasn’t the only one to get a job in finances without any diploma (or experience) related to the field.

            MoneyCare had a historian (Pierre) who analysed energy companies, a political analyst (his future wife) who was writing texts for luxury companies and a geographer who was in charge of the technology sector.

            This bunch of people were at the service of MoneyCare thanks entirely to Mr. Wulf. As I discovered, while working for the company, Mr. Wulf was more than just an unconventional person. He was in fact really crazy but in a very good way.

            The biggest mistake Mr Wulf could ever do with his life was to choose a career in the banking business.

            First of all, Mr Wulf was extremely kind. His company was renowned for keeping the brightest along with the ‘suckers’. This was the expression going on around the company summarizing his management skills. In fact, Mr Wulf was unable to fire anyone whatsoever. Which led to, on numerous occasions, someone else having to intervene (usually a shareholder) and cut the company in half. During my service it happened three times.

            Second, Mr Wulf was indeed slightly mad. He adored long philosophical discussions, which in the banking business sounded like “Have you read the latest book by… now, I forgot his name… the one who wrote about the latest developments on the Belgian political scene? Might be very useful for the analysis of German banks.”

            Or:

            “Post-modernism leads us to think of new horizons. How can we translate the latest post-modernist thought into portfolio management techniques?”

            And thirdly, Mr Wulf wasn’t in the business for money. He simply possessed what we sometimes call ‘a passionate mind’. He was the first to arrive and the last to leave (until I joined the company). He read all possible newspapers in the five languages he knew for the entire morning, then he would start drawing schemes, then he would talk to his employees (those who could follow his reasoning for two hours in a row and be able to produce some coherent answers in return), then he would try to motivate other workers, then he would start talking again and then he would read again.

            Place Mr Wulf in any academic environment and you will have a Nobel Prize laureate in one year.

However, despite quite a benign atmosphere to start my career in finances (that, with Mr Wulf as my boss), my first day of work at MoneyCare couldn’t have been any worse.

            I received the most uncomfortable desk (as others were already taken), got a pile of annual reports of banks, a computer screen showing some excel sheet calculations and Ruud as my desk neighbour and a fellow analyst of banks.

            Ruud had a background in accounting and therefore we had a clash of personalities right from the start.

            “Hey, Ekaterina, you are too quick,” Ruud pointed out to me when I was on my second annual report for a bank. “You have to read them carefully. Tell me, what do you remember from the balance sheet of that bank?”

            If you have never come across the banking sector prose, let me reassure you, it has nothing in common with the novels of Jane Austen or Kafka for that matter.

            “What is a balance sheet?” I asked Ruud and immediately realised that I shouldn’t ask that kind of question if I wanted to avoid calling emergency services. The face of my colleague looked like he was about to faint.

            “No, it’s unbelievable,” was the only thing Ruud found to answer and went to his cupboard in search of something which, to my guess, could inspire me to learn more about balance sheets.

            Hesitating for a second in front of his magic warehouse Ruud produced a book and put it on my desk.

            Introduction to financial accounting I read on the cover and felt, for the first time, a strong desire to stab my colleague in the face. Without even opening the book I could guess that it was probably even less readable than an annual report of the bank and that, in order to last through the first ten pages, I needed an elephant dose of red bull. I didn’t have time to confirm my guess though, as a colleague from the IT department came to my desk to install Trados on my computer.

            “Hi, Ekaterina, my name is Pit. So, you are the lucky one to try Trados in practice?”

            Pit was a big, Dutch guy in his forties and from the wink he gave me as soon as I turned to face him, it was clear that he was joking while referring to my new mission in life as lucky. And I liked him immediately. In addition to a head of red hair, mother nature had given him a very nice character, and in the half hour of time which I spent with him on learning the functions of Trados, I knew his sign of zodiac, his favourite music and the true meaning of the balance sheet.

            “Well, you know, when the financial institutions do not screw up, their figures are in balance. But if they do screw up, they are in big shit.”

            Which was a perfect enough explanation for me.

            The way Pit was explaining Trados was also crystal clear, except that we quickly found out the bug. I didn’t speak Dutch.

            A totally blank screen was greeting both of us when we opened the new tool on my computer. And I was supposed to translate from Dutch into English.

            For a minute or so I contemplated leaving my new job right then and to never return. Why stay when I didn’t understand finances nor could I speak Dutch?

            And I wasn’t that desperate. True, Russia wasn’t my home anymore, since I had left it at the age of nineteen in order to study, but I could surely adjust myself rather quickly in the country where, after all, I was born.

            But just when I was seriously thinking about buying a plane ticket to try my chances in my native land, Mr. Wulf came to my ‘rescue’.

            He probably sensed that I was in some kind of trouble.

            “I see that you have some problems here?”

            I turned around to see him standing behind my desk. I assumed that he was referring to Trados, but in fact he was talking about the book Ruud had given me.

            “Forget all this accounting stuff,” he declared rather solemnly, “if you want to be a good analyst, it will only sabotage your brain. I have something better for you to read. Here,” and he deposited a thick book on my table.

            The enigma of Japanese power. The first full-scale examination of the inner working of the Japanese political/industrial system – read the cover. I didn’t have time to adjust my face to a more intelligent gaze when I read the title, and Mr Wulf could catch a completely blank expression reflected in my eyes. None of the banks I was supposed to cover were Japanese.

            Taking a piece of paper and a pencil, the boss of MoneyCare started to draw a scheme. We were back in a Kafka analysis. I couldn’t follow a thing he was saying (and later I learned that it wasn’t just my problem) but while pretending that I was tuning in, I made up my mind about MoneyCare.

            My new job looked like an absolute nightmare, but if I didn’t give it a chance, I would regret such decision for the rest of my life. After all, it was a job, located in one of the most sought-after cities in the whole world. It was also in finances, and if not for MoneyCare, I would never learn this field anywhere else. And if Mr Wulf was my boss, then the whole experience promised to be little bit funny.

            But in reality, of course, it was anything but funny.

            Who on earth can have fun while analyzing banks? Especially if you happen to belong to the category of people who don’t even know where the nearest branch of their own bank is located.

            This was definitely my case, and I also hated excel sheets, numbers, annual reports, and finances in general as I discovered rather quickly.

            But I persevered. For six months or so I would wake up at six, go to work, read all kinds of newspapers for an hour, then sabotage my brain into learning the financial analysis and trying to like it, read the annual reports of banks, study balance sheets and have a weekly Dutch class to improve my Dutch.

            This kind of worked, as somehow, I did manage to create an illusion that I was a good financial analyst of banks. After the initial six months of torture I even managed to settle into some sort of routine and started to address other aspects of my life. I joined the gym, tried all sorts of diets, started dating and decided that I had a cool life.

            I was fed, dressed, had a nice apartment near the city centre, brilliant career prospects, and if I believed my mirror, I was okay. True, I wasn’t blonde, but in the rubric of physical appearance on dating sites, I would assign myself without any hesitation as ‘I am hot’. Ending up with all sorts of weirdoes on dates as a result, but what we project is what we get, as they say.

            Otherwise I was leading perfectly a prefect life.

            My morning would start with a cup of coffee and three cigarettes. Without my smoking breakfast, waking up was not worth it. Actually, three cigarettes were the best-case scenario, if I had little bit more time in the morning, I was having at least five.

            At nine (and often much earlier) I would sit behind my computer, fully involved in finances. I hated finances already then, but what kind of an idiot would turn down the possibility to become a financial analyst without any diploma in finances? I had a relatively good contract after all, and Mr Wulf seemed to like me.

The most irritating factor at my job was my colleague Ruud. He represented for me the thing I hated the most about my profession: the routine. No clock was needed if someone was sitting next to the guy.

            Every single move of Ruud carried an enormous weight, be it a cup of coffee or the annual report of a bank. The major part of the day my colleague spent on placing huge stocks of paper into carefully selected compartments of the cupboard standing behind our desk. Where and why did Ruud produce such an amount of paper was a big question. Sometimes I wondered whether he wasn’t reprinting the annual reports of banks in case of a major terrorist attack. I couldn’t come up with another explanation.

            Ruud didn’t even read all the material he carried from the printing room in his arms right to the desk. He simply glanced from one piece of paper to the next, producing a very disturbing noise on the way, trying to decide to which department he would put it. During this busy procedure I was unable to concentrate on anything else. The only thing I could do was to study two big crows which were making a house from the tree in front of my window, without really noticing their beauty until one rainy morning in November, a couple of years later, when I decided to radically change my life.

            We were occupied in this way every Monday to Friday starting from nine o’clock in the morning until one in the afternoon. At one o’clock precisely Ruud would go to lunch.

            At two he would reappear at his desk with a cup of coffee in one hand and a glass of water in another. Just like in the morning he would put first a spoon of sugar in his coffee, mix it as loudly as possible, take a sip, and then add another spoon of sugar to mix it again. As loudly as possible. Despite the fact that I had bought a palm tree to hide me from Ruud, it wasn’t large enough to spare me from the ritual with coffee. Every time I had to fight the desire to ask him why he wouldn’t put two spoons of sugar in at once. I never asked, because my guess was that Ruud did it on purpose. The truth is, the disliking was mutual. When I had first joined the company, Ruud was looking for a Russian girl on the Internet. However, after only three months of sitting next to me, Ruud switched to Thai girls and was searching for Asian beauties from Monday to Friday from three o’clock until four in the afternoon. 

            In this sense, I am a total disgrace to my nation. I don’t fit the profile of a typical Russian woman. A typical Russian woman, in the eyes of a Western man, is supposed to be complacent, a good cook, very obedient, extremely feminine and blonde. From this description I can only pretend to be a good cook. Apart from that, I am definitely not blonde, most certainly not obedient and have a set of strong white teeth to show that I am not complacent.

            Maybe, this is the reason as to why I wasn’t on anyone’s bride list.

I was born in Moscow in 1976

And so, It was in 1976 that I was born into one of the households living in the 9-y micro-district of Teplii Stan, on the tenth of July to be precise, and of course, I don’t remember anything of that day, but can only rely on what I was told by my family. Apparently I was born right in the centre of Moscow, in the birth-centre on the New Arbat Eve, called ‘Roddom Grauermana’ where several famous Russian people were born. Andrey Mironov, the actor, loved by the whole nation, was born there in 1941, as well as the renown poet, Bulat Okudghava, in 1924. The birth house was popular among the elite. It was right at the central street, situated in a beautiful building, where rooms were spacious and medical care was better than anywhere else.  One needed good connections to end up there, and those, born in Roddom Grauermana’, usually belonged to some sort of upper class, albeit under the socialism, classes didn’t exist. But of course, some lived better than others, and connections, or what is known in the Russian language as ‘blat’ (a word that really has no direct translation in English, but can be understood as nepotism) was extremely prevalent during the whole existence of the Soviet Union, and still is, although judging from the readings of the Russian literature, ‘blat’ is just a part of the Russian psyche. Gogol wrote extensively about it, but so did Tolstoy and other prominent classical Russian writers.

           

It happened that I was born into a more or less elite family, by the standards of that time. The family was very intellectual as a whole. My grand-dad, who during the second world war, was a sapper, attached to special forces,  received several medals, including Order of the Red Star, and upon his return from the war, became a renowned and extremely popular professor of geology at the People’s Friendship University, situated not far from the ‘Jugo-Zapadnaya’ underground station. Due to his position he received a three-room apartment in one of the new buildings at the 9-y micro-district of Teplii Stan, and the whole family, consisting of the grand-dad, grand-mum, their daughter and her husband, moved for a while there, before my mum and my dad received their own apartment, in the same block of flats, but their apartment was only two rooms, and situated right on the sixteenth floor. I remember that once I started to have some conscious memories, every time I would end up on the balcony, the view would take my breath away. It was so high, and so impressive, because one could see for a while almost the whole of 9-y micro-district of Teplii Stan, before other, similar buildings were built all around, but it still gave the illusion of some space, even if it totally lacked in any cosiness. The apartment was awful, and remained so, until it was sold in the middle of the nineties to someone else, with some difficulties. It had always the atmosphere that it was chased by the spirits, or some similar, mystical creatures. Strange insects would appear, or weird noises at night with irregular intervals. Families ending up in this apartment, had arguments, and tough time.

            My parents, however, ended up relatively well in the beginning, because, most of the time they stayed at my grand-dad place. There, it was always cosy, and always warm. My grand-mum, who worked only part-time as an administrator at one of the theatre companies, retired relatively early, because my grand-dad, as a geologist, would often be sent away on a project to different places, such as Afghanistan or China, where they would sometimes stay up to two years at a time. She loved cooking, and the house always had the delicious smell of some stew or a pie in preparation. Because my grand-dad was very popular among his students, lots of them, mostly the PhD students, would often come to the house, for a dinner or a drink. They all came from different countries, friendly to the Soviet Union’s ideology, and it was always full of laughter, deep philosophical discussions, and delicious food. My mum and my dad, also ended up working at the same university, albeit at different faculties, would mostly live in their own apartment when I was born, but the main life and activity remained in the house of my grand-parents. It was where that everyone stayed, and my memories of the apartment of my parents don’t come to me until I was seven years old. All glimpses of family time together go back to the house of my grand-dad, Sergei, a truly remarkable man, who was adored by everyone who had the chance to meet him. He was extremely kind, and extremely intelligent. His work was his passion and it was something that he would pass to my mum, an adored child, who was born rather late (my grand-mum was thirty-four when she gave birth), and who chose mathematics as her field, and soon was working on her PhD, right when I was born.

            When I was one, my grand-parents had to go to Kabul for a year at least, on one of the geology missions of my grand-dad, my mum was still working on her PhD, my dad was busy building his career as a lecturer in chemistry, and therefore, a nanny had to be hired to look after me. However, my other grand-mum, the mum of my dad, who was at that time in Moscow on a visit, offered to look after me, and after lengthy discussions, and uncertainty in taking such a drastic decision, it was decided at the end that it could be a good idea, and I was taken for two years to the Eastern Ukraine, to a small place near the town called Krasnadon, to be raised and looked after by my other grand-parents. It was where that I would end up spending also all my summers when I returned to Moscow, alternating between Krasnadon and a Cossack farm of my grand-parents, thirty minutes’ drive from Krasnadon, but which was situated in Russia (not that borders counted then), and thus, my upbringing was marked by being a born Moscovite from an elite family, but with love and longing for a quiet countryside at a beautiful farm and Ukraine, where people were friendlier, where life was simpler, and where everything tasted better and fresher.