It takes a lot to try my patience. One has to be a slow burner to survive in the junior echelons of a bank. I have a number of remedies for work-related frustration which have prevented me from “going postal” so far. Being able to bottle it up until the mid-week 5-a-side football session or Saturday morning gym session works a treat. Getting trollied never fails either.
However one thing makes me see red quicker than a junior obstetrics doctor pulling on rubber gloves. It’s working with the uppity ex-back office banker.
Banks like to talk about front office bankers as “profit centres” whilst labelling the rest “cost centres”. I’ve always found that a bit unfair. The I.T. guys have saved my life more than once the day before an important business meeting.
This dichotomy between banking “lowlifes” vs. “superstars” has stuck. This website seems to be full of “cost centres” desperately trying to break into the front office. Most of them won’t make it. They didn’t go to the right university (or didn’t go at all), don’t “talk proper,” or aren’t smart enough.
With the exception of the last reason, these factors have little to do with potential to shoot the lights out, but that’s big banks for you. It’s not a coincidence that I don’t work for them any longer.
However, during my time in banking I did see some people break free from the middle and back office. They contributed significantly to my urge to get out.
As a previous contributor has noted, most middle and back office colleagues are not motivated. The ones who’ve made it tend to be the super-keen guys who love mornings (especially after an all-nighter), wear red ties and suck up incessantly to seniors. Their corporate façade is second only to MBA graduates. This makes them unbearable to work with.
When you believe you’re the reincarnation Alexander the Great, a huge amount of selective memory is required. The ex-back office guys tend to have forgotten their own humble beginnings entirely. As a result they treat anyone in the “cost centres” with the lack of respect they feel these lowly minions deserve. I’ve seen it happen several times and it’s not pleasant to watch. Here’s a P.S.A. Put simply, these guys are not paid enough to take your crap.
If you’re recognising yourself in this article, console yourself with one thing. There’s a breed of lowlife slightly beneath you in the pay grades of hell. It’s the guy who used to be a corporate banker and transitioned into corporate finance. Believe me, it does not get worse than that.