Monday, 18 June 2012

If Gandhi worked for an investment bank, he would have discarded his theory on non-violence and peace a long time back. He would have have whipped off his effing loinscloth, wet it and whiplashed everyone from VP upwards.
I am convinced even the most pious saints and nuns would become scheming, manipulative creatures when surrounded by the daily frustrations and loathings of working in a bank. It is commonplace and routine to think of causing bodily harm to your colleagues and superiors - the more vicious the better. Even ancient Chinese torture tactics fall short.

For e.g. - in my recent project, for a presentation that is due on Tuesday and you find out a week in advance, one would think it is prudent to start working on the Monday (a week before the deadline), however, when your very fat and ugly VP only starts work on a Thursday night - you know its headed for disaster. Also, this is without the support of an analyst. Now, all those who work in banking and other related professions know HOW important an analyst is to the process - the analyst is the difference in you getting some sleep compared to getting none, the savior who you blame incase dung hits the fan, the beast of burden etc etc.

So when my friends all ask me why I need to work weekends most of the time - it cannot be just gross mismanagement.I think its a combination of incompetence and indifference. The truth is that your superiors just don't care. It does not matter to them if your weekends have been repeatedly ruined, if you haven't slept in days, if you are unwell - you are a payroll, a number without a face. Sometimes, they have moments of compassion - when you may be rewarded a night off on a Friday night only to be told that you must come on Saturday morning.

Understandably, we work in client - facing roles with stringent timelines and demanding clients, however, the number of fake deadlines, unnecessary urgency and life-or-death situations which are created by senior management are completely uncalled for. The sole reason for this is - We are a money-making,deal churning assembly line and every minute not spent working is fees not earned!

Now, I believe this behavior and appalling lack of empathy for human resources will continue till this industry flourishes. However, there has to be a tipping point - the banking industry is undergoing too much change, too much flak and too much criticism for them to continue to function with a blatant disregard of their employees. As regulation clamps down, as compensation scales dip and it is no longer lucrative to work in these professions - their ability to attract the best and the smartest will seriously come under question. Finally - then, perhaps they will start to realise the need to retain people and not continue to " burn people", no longer shall they have the scores of people lined up outside their door begging for jobs. One fine day - it could be that they open the proverbial doors of recruitment and find no one standing outside.

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