Negotiator

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People Anatomy

A spotter’s guide to the men and women of finance.

Some discreet hobbits yesterday.

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One of those good, well-tempered folk of the documentation unit whose task, though not Herculean in any aspect bar its tedium, is stoutly resisting predictions that it will be automated by the end of the year — a prediction that legal and technology luminaries have been making regularly since 1995.

Do you want to know why, by the way?

Negotiators originally lived in little burrows in the bucolic home counties but were thrown out of their traditional homelands in the 2000s by a machine-aged army of squat, broad, flat-nosed, sallow-skinned management consultants. Now a hollowed-out, brutalised diaspora clings on to a miserable existence in dismal hovels of Belfast, Budapest, Bucharest and the outskirts of Bristol. But they are recovering. They are thriving. It is foretold in the sacred ancient texts of Aiyessdeeiyae, that one day a special little hobbit will lead a rag-tag collection of paralegals, trainees in a utterly hopeless, but beautiful, attempt at revolution.

Still, every character archetype has a weakness, and the Jolly Contrarian can reveal the innate flaw of every ISDA negotiator, and that is total cluelessness about paragraph formatting in Microsoft Word. They just cannot do it. Page breaks and multi-level automatic numbering are trying enough, but asking a negotiator to format a table of Documents for Delivery — and every man-jack amongst them must do it — is a guaranteed disaster.

The collective noun for a group of negotiators — especially those attached to the same deal — is a “squabble”.

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