The rumors have started already…some banks are about to take over other banks… some banks are about to retrench a portion of their workforce. Every day, a good number of bankers are getting to work unsure of whether that might be the day of reckoning or if they will still live to see another working day…
The greatest enemy of man, fear, has slowly crept in and has started holding hundreds of bankers in its ugly grip suggesting a bleak future to them. As real as this situation might be, I have learnt that acknowledging our challenges are definitely not enough to change them. Whenever we face challenging situations as humans, our natural instinct is to do all we can to overcome the challenges and move on to talking about it as a victory of the past. I have been privileged to speak to several bankers over the years and I realize that it is not that they have been unaware of the fact that challenges such as the potential retrenchments might happen, but the major issue has been that nothing they have done to change the situation they are in (in which they are potential causalities) has worked. Several of them have applied for job vacancies in different industries and never got a call from any of the places they applied to. Others were even fortunate enough to get called for interviews but this did not eventually translate to jobs as recruiters mentioned such limiting factors such as their inability to pay bankers what they are asking for or even in some instances the fact that these bankers have been working in the same industry since the inception of their career and do not have any other relevant work experience in other industries. There is also another set of bankers who desire to step out of the banking industry to pursue an entrepreneurial opportunity but are too fearful to make such a bold move at this time.
As I usually say in my career coaching sessions with people in these unique situations, there are two truths that must become a motivation for them;
- Career frustration does not go, It only grows! You need to deal with it and not allow it to deal with you
- The desire to make progress in one’s career often times requires that one does things differently to get the desired result that they truly desire.
As I mentioned earlier, it is a natural instinct for every human being to try to do something to alleviate the pressing challenges that they face. The unfortunate thing is that most people keep doing what they have done in the past which has yielded little or no results. Others are doing exactly what every other person in their situation is doing and so they get the same results everyone seems to be getting; nothing. The question you may have now is, ‘what is that thing that can be done differently which will change the current experience of bankers who are in distress?’ I will like to suggest two main points that are steps that have worked for other bankers in distress (I was one too) and are also products of what I have learnt as a HR professional & career coach.
- Get Career enhancement knowledge, skills & tools: a few people might not be willing to agree with this thought but the reality is that very few people actually are well equipped to continually enjoy career progress. There is actually a body of knowledge that a number of people are unaware of which is focused on career coaching and was born out of a desire to inform people of simple but required steps they need to take to enhance their career experience. Let me help you with an analogy here. Imagine you have two friends who work in different banks but perform the same role, such as a customer service officer. In most instances, their resume/CV will look exactly alike except for the personal details (most likely because one of them developed it and the other just personalized it – I’m sure you understand what I mean). Now, imagine that all customer service officers of banks in Lagos State become aware of a customer service role in the telecoms industry and apply for it. You will discover that their resumes look alike and the CVs of the two friends, who also would have applied, gets lost in the thousands of CV’s which are usually submitted. The likelihood of them being invited for an interview diminishes significantly in proportion to the number of vacancies available and the number of people who applied for the same job roles. Yes, they applied for the job position but most likely. They will not get the desired result they want. Professionally, there are things that can be done differently with their resume/CV which will still present the truth about them but will differentiate them from others. Job search strategies, interview coaching, career workshops on networking & other career enhancement skills, career coaching for workplace challenges such as lack of promotion and career assessment tools, are just a few of the professional solutions available to bankers. It is not enough to be willing to step out. It is important that one attempts to step out intelligently. I have had the privilege to sit down with some people who had been previously unable to make a headway and with a little coaching have been able to record progress in their desired career path within and outside the banking industry
- Be willing to pay a price if necessary to make the progress you desire: everything of value has a price attached to it. The situation some bankers find themselves in is actually quite a challenge for a number of them as challenges such as huge debts, being on a grade level for several years, being limited to a particular job function for a long time have become common limitations that have kept people ‘suffering and smiling’. These are real challenges; however, they must never be allowed to become limitations in our lives. The price to pay in some instances is to go do a professional course which will better prepare us for the job opportunity we desire, sourcing for other alternatives to pay off loan portfolios (while cutting down significantly on personal spending), taking a lower paying job or a lower grade level for a job opportunity which is more in line with our desired career path etc. I once had to pay a price like this somewhere along my career when I took a job opportunity which offered almost the same salary and a lower grade level that I had attained almost two years before. It paid off eventually as I was able to make rapid progress eventually and what I paid back then cannot compare to the rewards I have gained over time.
In closing, I will like to say that the situation is not a totally helpless one and as such the emphasis of any banker who is concerned at this time should be on what they can do to personally enhance their career experience. I will be speaking at a special program for bankers ‘CAREERSHIFT for Bankers’ on the 26th of March and I would recommend it specially to anyone in the banking industry who is truly desirous of change. All the best!
Check https://jimitewe.wordpress.com/events/ for more information about the seminar ‘CAREERSHIFT for Bankers’