Playing FTSE author, Penelope Jacobs talks about balancing work and family

‘We may not be able to have it all, but we are at least free to make choices.’

Penelope Jacobs talks to Laura at Novel Kicks about Playing FTSE

‘Achieving a work-life balance is not always possible and certainly requires sacrifices.
Marriage and, more specifically, babies seem to be the tipping point, when life can sometimes spiral out of control….

‘In my opinion, it is not possible to “have it all” and at the same time seamlessly achieve a wonderful work-life balance. Every woman I know has made some type of sacrifice which, by definition, means they do not have it all. At one extreme, some high-powered women consciously choose not to have children and, at the other, an enormous number leave their brilliant careers permanently to raise a family. In both cases, the costs are high….’

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How it feels to… be a woman in the City

‘I couldn’t give up the City – it’s addictive.’

The financial world is dominated by men, but Penelope Jacobs thrived in its testosterone-charged culture — though not all her female colleagues managed to follow in her footsteps.

‘I was 23 and fresh out of university at the London School of Economics, looking for a job. It was the late 1990s and working in finance seemed like a fashionable career choice. I followed my friends, who were all going into the City, so I applied for lots of jobs and took the first that came along: a graduate scheme at a private bank Kleinwort Benson…’

Want to read more? Find the full article from The Times, here.

The Bookbag: “Delicious, cheeky look at life in the City”

Melanie is something of a wunderkind, a graduate at an investment bank with brains to match her body. In a male dominated environment she’s finding that one gets in the way of the other, but she’s a smart girl and can learn to play this to her advantage. With her friend Jenny keen to lead her astray, Mel must learn the give and take of life in the City, and how far to push the limits to get ahead.

With a title like Playing FTSE this book could have gone either way – triumph or train wreck. I was delighted to find it the former, and finished it in 6 hours straight after some particularly intense poolside sun lounger reading, on a well-earned break from my own high powered (ish) job. Much like life in a bank, this book is fast paced and you need to trot along in your high heels to keep up. No sooner is Melanie back from New York and she’s off to Paris, or Amsterdam or somewhere. No sooner has she ditched one man, she’s on to another then back to the first for round two. Live fast, die young, City girls do it well. It’s a brilliant, authentic read. I work a lot in London but am safely based in the north of England day to day. My only real experience of the capital C City of London was when I went for a work lunch in Paternoster Square last year. It was quite an experience. I was the only female in there who wasn’t a waitress, and we were the only table not drinking with our lunch. At the time I thought hmmmm but now I’ve read this book I’m less surprised by what I saw.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and raced through it. I liked the detachment of the third person narrative. We see what Melanie does, and what Melanie does next, but without the emotional drain of seeing it through her eyes, hearing her voice in our heads. It worked exceedingly well. In a way, it doesn’t have a defined ending, which leaves you free to imagine it going whichever way you please. I wouldn’t normally favour that but, again, it worked here.

Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book. I feared superficial, but I got smart. I expected girly but I got guts and gumption. It hasn’t quite sold me on trading in health for finance, but it definitely gave me a glimpse into that world. For another look at this sort of world, more from the perspective of an outsider, we enjoyed What the Nanny Saw by Fiona Neill.

Meanwhile at Waterstones, ex-broker Vita Pease unveiled her City novel “Playing FTSE”

It charts a young female graduate’s adventures in the square mile. Vita – married to fund manager Richard Pease and sister-in-law of the so called Posh-n-Becks of finance Crispin Odey and Nichola Pease – assured the crowd that the book is “entirely fictional”. A fluke then that she dedicated a copy to one former colleague saying “You’re not mentioned … by name.” Financial Times, 10 June 2016.

Former City trader on her sex-in-the-City bankbuster Playing FTSE

Penelope Jacobs talks to The Evening Standard

‘If you’re young, female, clever and attractive — and considering a career in the City — you might want to read Playing FTSE first, a lurid sex-in-the-City bankbuster by ex-analyst, Victoria “Vita” Pease.

‘It’s a novel about a young female graduate trainee who joins an investment bank and rises spectacularly up the greasy pole only to lose her moral compass and fall for the wrong men for all the wrong reasons….’

Read the full article, here.

News of frisky-sounding book intriguing City Folk

The Daily Mail report on the publication of Penelope’s first book…

‘News of a frisky-sounding book called Playing FTSE, by first time novelist Penelope Jacobs, intrigues City folk.

‘Released in June, it’s about a graduate investment banker’s precarious climb up the Square Mile’s greasy pole.

‘Jacobs’ real name is in fact Victoria Pease, an ex-Merrill Lynch broker and part of the famous city dynasty who founded Barclays. Blonde Victoria, 41, certainly has a wealth of expertise from which to draw inspiration…’

Read the full article, here.