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Everyone disappears.

"If you lose your banking job, the industry will ignore you"

If you work in a bank, you probably have a lot of friends. And most of them are probably either your colleagues or your clients. If you lose your job, this can make life very lonely.

Personally, I spent eight years working for a U.S. bank in London. I had a lot of friends among my colleagues. We'd talk every day, go out to lunch, go for coffee breaks and spend huge amounts of time in each other's company.

And then I was laid off. 

I suddenly realized they weren't my friends after all. People who I thought were close to me didn't even get in touch to say they were sorry, not even by text message.

Of course, some did, but I'd say that I knew around 300 people in the industry and that when I was laid off I was contacted by around 20.  And most of them only sent a single message of condolence.

Are people in banking inherently uncompassionate? Not really. It's more about the system. There are a lot of cuts in our industry and this means people are inured to the pain of seeing others laid off. - It's a bit like a hospital where patients are referred to by code numbers due to their sheer volume. Banking is the same: you have a high workload and you can't keep up with all the people joining and leaving. It's a kind of empathy fatigue. When people disappear, it's easy to send a single text saying, "Sorry mate, let me know if I can help," knowing that you probably can't. And then you get back to your day job.

Personally I always tried to do it a bit differently and to stay in touch with colleagues because I knew life can be hard on the outside. This has made my own ostracism harder to handle: I thought the colleagues I spent time with would miss me. It seems they don't.

Maybe I'm too thin-skinned to work in a bank. But I find it sad and disappointing that everyone has disappeared on me. Clients are the same. - I had one who I would fly to see twice a year. We'd spend the day in the office and then go out for lunch and dinner. We had fun together and I thought I knew him pretty well. But since I lost my job I haven't heard from him at all.  I was his number one broker. I guess he just found someone else to service him instead.

Daniel Cazal is the pseudonym of an equities salesman from a U.S. investment bank

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AUTHORDaniel Cazal Insider Comment
  • RI
    3 September 2020

    All very true. Went through the same thing last year and felt the same way.

  • AT
    A T
    9 July 2019

    Investment Banking and in addition big City life i.e. London....

  • vo
    5 July 2019

    Been there and experienced it. The genuine ones can be counted on one hand. Some may care but are too busy. Some are just good for the duration. It's understandable the hurt and alienation. Check in with those who care, pick up the pieces and carry on.

  • Bo
    3 July 2019

    With the possible exception of the military, this is how it is in every job, not just banking

  • Jo
    Johnny C
    2 July 2019

    That's how it works.

    They never were true 'friends', just colleagues you you were friendly with. There's a difference.

    There's still the stigma that if you were let go, it's because you didn't 'make the grade' (even though that's probably not true) but anyway you're no longer eligible for the circle of people you knew. They are embarrassed to talk to you because it's public knowledge that you didn't fit the bill any more.

    There's also the factor of 'There but for the grace of God ...' - Not many people retire in Financial Services these days, most of us get the bullet in the end if we don't get fed up and move on first.

    To be honest though, the same applies if you leave of your own volition. There's a constant churn of people in Financial services, people move on, there's only so much time in the day to meet people for drinks/lunch.

    Having worked in Financial Services for 30 years, and known probably over a thousand well enough to go for a drink with (I've had many jobs), I've got 3 friends who were colleagues who I see regularly. Maybe 5 who I contact via email or Facebook once a year. Most others are at best vague memories after a few years, and then forgotten completely.

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