We make mistakes because we're working 14-hour days

At the time I write this I have worked 26 days without a day off.

Here's something sent in by one of our readers (we have omitted the name of the firm, because it could in fact relate to several who are current going through radical downsizing).

'Our firm's values

We all strive to achieve them. We have always strived to achieve them. We are under resourced and over worked. Still the reason that our firm continues to outstrip stockholder expectation is our ability to deliver even in spite of the challenges. We are a fantastic bunch of people. We are dedicated. We try hard.

We make mistakes.

We make mistakes not because we lack any of the bank's values.

We make mistakes because many of our systems haven’t seen any investment for over 3 years.

We make mistakes because every month there is significant change. We aren’t resourced for change.

We make mistakes because after 10am we are unable to contact essential colleagues because they are on the other side of the world. Not because this is a sensible place for them to be, but because it is cheaper for them to be there.

We make mistakes because we have been working 14-hour days for many, many weeks (that includes weekends).

At the time I write this I have worked 26 days without a day off. I see leaving at 7pm in the evening after a 7am start as leaving early. My bonus (as a highly rated senior member of the team in the investment bank) was less than £10k this year. Not a million pounds. I am not in the front office. I would have been content with some sleep rather than the cash.

Relaxation time, time to spend with my family and friends are a nice to have. I’m lucky to have friends and a family who still remember who I am.

In short, the cost cutting you are planning has been done before. I’ve seen it, lived through it, and the results haven’t been pretty. What they have resulted in - normally a couple of years down the line, after all but the most dedicated staff have left and things have evolved into something that is so much worse - is significant investment in infrastructure.

I would ask our CEO to consider that now. Do something radical, invest, rather than divest. Think long term rather than short term. Ask whether the systems we are using would meet the values that you are asking from your people. Let’s fix what’s really wrong and make our firm a great place to work and invest in again'.

image: © stephen jones

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