When people start going into mad panics about redeeming all the cakes and multi-coloured cuddly toys they can get their hands on, you know that things are just a bit on edge. Still, given Hong Kong's well-known propensity for 'runs', such occurrences were not totally beyond the realms of possibility. In fact, in this very spot two weeks ago, we revisited the Maria's cake run and forecast something similar might not be far off. While Lai See is gloating over its new-found success as an economic tipster, we've discovered an area that's considerably less predictable - career planning. Our contemplations on this issue were started by the actions of an HSBC Holdings investment banker named Jim O'Donnell. Not exactly a household name, we confess. But while Hong Kong housewives have been doing their running, Mr O'Donnell has done something infinitely more remarkable. He has given up his position as the head of HSBC James Capel, HSBC's international stockbroking arm, to become a man of the cloth. Yes, folks, Jim O'Donnell - global broking figure, first-class traveller and all round high-flier - wants to trade it all in, just so he can become Father O'Donnell. The attractions of Mammon might have been seductive, along with the reported US$1.6 million a year, but it seems our Father O'Donnell-in-waiting will throw off the shackles of the material world and embrace his new $10,000 a year salary - a $1.59 million pay cut, by our simple arithmetic. When we phoned for an interview, HSBC marketing people in London told us Mr O'Donnell would not talk in any way about the matter. But could there have been any hints he would take such a drastic step? Not if you ask his HSBC James Capel workmates. One reported comment from a colleague summed up the general mood. 'He is hardly known for being spiritual,' the co-worker said, adding that there was 'general disbelieving laughter' about the news. Well, Lai See has done its research, and it seems appearances can be deceptive. Colleagues might have thought he was just another hard working, hard partying broker who would be more at home studying a futures screen than the collected works of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John et al. However, it appears a move to swap material wealth for spiritual enrichment has been brewing deep in his soul for some time. It is now apparent Mr O'Donnell was of a spiritual bent all the time. Long before even dreaming of making it in the high-flying world of markets, he completed a bachelor's degree in comparative religion at Princeton University. It was enough, it seems, to sow the seeds for a radical career shift - right in the middle of a high-powered job that seemed destined to propel him further along the road of material success. Just imagining the soul-searching that must have gone in to his decision is enough to put us in a mood of deep contemplation. It makes you wonder: could it be there are other tortured souls out there on the verge of a similar career crisis? We reckon there are some well-known personalities who could be looking for a change of pace. Take Cheung Kong boss Li Ka-shing, who has actually said he will retire next year. Given that he was once a plastic-flower peddler, we can see him moving up and running a real florist's shop this time around. Billionaire financier George Soros might be getting a tad sick of currency speculation, given it's not a terribly popular occupation right now. For him, we'd suggest something more stable - like starting his own mint. He'd certainly have enough start-up capital. We'd also like to propose a possible new vocation for Singapore's supreme leader Lee Kuan Yew. In our view, Mr Lee should become the CEO of Rent-a-Patriarch, a new company to help Asian nations in need of fatherly reassurance during these troubled times. And if Financial Secretary Sir Donald Tsang Yam-kuen ever seeks another career, becoming the chief of a bow-tie maker seems the most obvious next job. Just think, the boss himself would give the company enough business to generate bumper profits - and plenty of free advertising. What of Hong Kong's monetary maestro, Joseph Yam Chi-kwong? Given his experience at conducting the Hong Kong dollar, it wouldn't take much of a leap for him to apply the same skills to the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. While Mr Yam turns from finance to music, we can see one move in the opposite direction. Yes folks, we would advise the ever-present Spice Girls - Sporty, Posh, Scary et al - to become junk bond dealers at some stage. Their new careers would definitely be in tune with their music.