Kike decided to walk back home after a 10 kilometre commute to her Uncle’s house. She felt she needed to clear her head following the advice her uncle had just given her. A few days earlier she had received a call from him raising her hopes that he could use his position as a major stakeholder in a bank to help get a job.
Despite the fact that she studied architecture in school, Kike no longer had hopes of practising as an architect. Her biggest desire at this time was simply to start earning the big bucks like some of her friends. Besides, her brother, a chemical engineer, is currently a senior manager in a bank.
Her uncle’s advice however dented her plans, and she had no idea of how to react. Her uncle had told her not to be a banker, and had given her the following reasons:
You work an average of 10 hours daily
Banks typically open to customers at 8 in the morning and close to them between 4 and 5 in the evening. However, the same does not apply to employees of these banks who work for almost 12 hours. An average banker works between 7.30 am and 6 pm and for employees in essential services such as IT, it can last for as much as 12 hours (8 am to 8 pm). If you are not up to working long hours for someone else then you probably should not consider being a banker.
You have no time for friends and family
Banking services require a lot of attention, dedication and concentration. When you work for about 10 hours daily there is hardly time to attend to some of the most important things in life such as spending time with family. Most young couples who are bankers often find little time to play with their kids or help then with school work or attend school activities. The negative consequences of this cannot be over emphasized.
You hardly see your own home
We talked about having to work 10 hours daily however, that is not all, if works starts for you by 7.30 then you probably need to be at work one hour earlier. To beat the traffic and get to work earlier means leaving home as early as 6 am. An average banker wakes up 5 am just to get to work before 7.30 am. They also leave much later than most other professions. Most banks hardly keep to the nine to five rule and despite that, they hardly pay overtime allowances for the extra time you put in.
There is almost no job security
The banking sector is quite exposed to a lot of regulatory and cyclical risk. When the economy is in the doldrums like it currently is, they are quick to run up cost as revenues declines. They also face increase in bad loans as most companies groaning under the risk of an economic crunch struggle to pay back loans. When this happens, banks are forced to cut down cost, and the fastest way to do this is to ‘downsize’ employees. Typically, decisions like this affect even the hardest working staff. It doesn’t matter if you work 24 hours or sleep over during the weekend. Most times when you get fired, you have no place to go because you are brain-drained. Imagine if Kike gets fired after working for five years. Surely she will find it difficult getting back into architecture. In addition, a little mistake can get you fired regardless of your past record.
Being the most hard-working doesn’t always translate to rewards
Banking is a service oriented job where money is made by earning high returns from customer deposits. Therefore, even if an operation staff works from 7 am to 9 pm every day, he will likely get less reward from a marketer who works 8 am to 5 pm every day but brings in the cash. The marketer only just needs to meet his or her targets in terms of deposits. Though an equally difficult task considering the apparent hazards, the difference however is that a marketer’s achievement is quickly noticeable hence likely to be rewarded more often.
Promotions often take too long to come by
These days banking is a bit more like the civil service. In the nineties, a ten year working experience could fetch you a senior managerial position. Career development was fast tracked at the time as the new generation banks at the time sought the best talents. It is not that way these days as you probably need to work twice as long to attain the same position as you would back them. It could take you as long as ten years to become an assistant manager. Promotions in banks probably come every other two years and it is not certain that you will get it.
Risk using your salary to pay for lost money
There are numerous risks associated with working in a bank and the major one is losing money. It is likely, that you might come across a transaction that might warrant you losing the bank’s money. Typically when that happens you might be asked to refund the money from your salary. The bank will just debit your salary for the whole amount or deduct it over time. The alternative to this might be losing your job.
These are just examples that you need to consider and talking to a banker may even reveal more things to you. Banking is a noble profession and can be very rewarding if you work hard, add more academic qualifications and have some luck. However, it is not a bed of roses.