Saturday, 18 October 2008

Learn to Love Thy Employer

Imagine you get on a carousel and suddenly you realise you are going to be stuck on the horse you picked for the rest of your (working) life. Welcome to the Finance Industry in 2008.

Sometimes there is a reason why the good old days are called the 'good old days'.

When I quit my first job in banking to move on (and a little bit up) after about two years, my father, who had been with his employer all his working life, started to seriously question my sanity. For somebody who had spent the biggest part of five decades with the same corporation, my swift move seemed foolish at best and high treason at worst.

Remarkably enough, the next job I gave up after a much shorter period, but by this time, resignation on his side had already kicked in and he chose to trust my judgement.

For a while, changing jobs regularly seemed a fairly low-risk strategy. You didn't really have to worry too much about whether long-term affiliation with your prospective employer was an issue for you. With a planning horizon of 18-24 months, being bound to an employer never looked like much of a burden. Loyalty in many cases lasted as long as - and rarely longer than - the contractually specified (and bonus-related) tie-in period.

The job market resembled a carousel where the workforce, sometimes in teams, moved from one shop to the next to apply their trade for ever increasing fees.

Needless to say, in the midst of an ever larger number of job losses being announced, this carousel has seriously, if not totally, lost its momentum, and a lot of staff have found themselves in situations where they are spending a much longer time with their current institution than they initially anticipated.

Whilst realistically, those who are secure in their jobs should consider themselves lucky, there might be a number of staffers who are not lamenting job losses (yet) but are rather disappointed about the lack of alternatives out there.

Maybe when getting on this carousel, those people should have selected the horse they were going to sit on with a little bit more diligence, just in case they were going to get stuck.

Because that is what they are likely to be now.

Originally published on HereIsTheCity Life on 01-June-2008, the original can be found here.