In the banking industry, everyone is replaceable
One can only dream of landing a job as a professional in an investment bank - with that kind of pay, you would be set for life. But Matthew had other bigger things in mind. He was determined to take control of his fate and be the person behind the wheel.
It is of the general impression that professionals in the banking industry are well-respected and exude a certain air of prestige. Yet, Matthew begs to differ. “It is true in general that banking professionals are highly paid for their effort,” but “I doubt that it is a highly respected job,” he surprisingly notes. Matthew initially entered into the banking industry in 2005 for the good pay, “I thought I’d be a banker for the rest of my life.” He witnessed the growth of the industry and watched it reach its peak for 2-3 years until the financial crisis hit in 2008. “I realised that for me, banking was really all just about the money. It was not about loyalty or culture. Everyone is driven by making more money. That’s the key motivator for staying in the industry.” He noticed a drastic change around him when the volatile world of banking was presented with downturns. “Even though people seemed close and hung out all the time, in reality, banks will fire you no matter how much you do for them,” he explains.
As a junior in the bank, although he was able to keep his job, some once highly respected managing directors who worked in the bank for 25 years who even helped the bank to build their Asian franchise were let go due to the crisis. This made him doubt the respectability of the industry since contribution did not equate to loyalty- at the end of the day, everyone is replaceable. The crisis acted as an eye-opener, he asked himself, “Is this really something I want to do? Do I want to be replaced one day just like that?”