Jeezo what a Banker!

by endlesspsych

It’s fashionable to knock bankers at the minute.

Understandably so in some ways but sometimes I do think it goes a little far. Although when you see articles like this you do sometimes wonder why lynch mobs aren’t forming up and down the country…

The article is entitled “Banker insists he deserves his bonus” and reads something similar to a farmer trying to convince the turkeys that voting for Xmas is what they really, really want to do. Only in this case the turkeys are tax payers and the farmer doesn’t have the persuasive powers of Bernard Matthews…

The article begins thus:

When first setting out, I was not sure what I wanted to do in life. I knew that whatever I eventually decided to do, investment banking would be a good door opener. I knew that whatever I applied to do later, future employers would look favourably on it.

Apart from that it’s fast-paced, which I like, and it’s very results orientated.

The money was also a factor – if it was less I’m not sure I’d have applied.

And it’s intellectually stimulating.

I thought I would provide a blow by blow account of my current employment in a similar vein to our poor hard done by banker (who if sums are correct has a basic wage of £16 an hour). So here goes:

When first setting out, I thought about working in clinical psychology or social work. I knew that whatever I eventually decided to do, care work would be a good door opener. I knew that whatever I applied to do later, future employers would look look favourably on it in some cases the experience would be considered essential.

The pace varies from day to day and from client to client. Sometimes you can get in a rut doing repetitive tasks and other times you can be met with new and challenging situations each and every day. It depends from client to client.

The money was not a  huge  factor – the opportunity for experience was more important although it was better to be earning then on the dole.

In all honesty it’s not always the most intellectually stimulating job in the world but you do have to think on your feet and cope with a number of challenging situations.

Are you all with me so far? Lets compare average days shall we?

Average day

I usually come in at 9-9.30am. In terms of the daily tasks, there is a lot of [financial] modelling. A very common modelling task I do is; how would this company perform if you put this much debt on it.

Another common one is valuation analysis, so you basically model what you think the performance of the company will be over the next 10 years and then come up with a value that you should assign to that performance.

The expectation is that you will work past 9pm, a minimum 12 hour day. You can safely say that you will be working at the weekend, most weekends.

The average for a week is a 100 hours, something like that. My manager expects me to put in these hours.

A minimum 12 hour day and working weekends?!? The poor wee lamb…. Lets look at my average day…


I usually come in at 11.00am or just before – on the dot every day. Unless I am on a sleepover or working night in which case I either start work in the morning at 07.00am or have been in work since 10.00pm or 11.00pm sometimes longer depending on the clients shift pattern and care package .

In terms of the daily tasks, there is a lot of cooking and cleaning and monotonous domestic tasks like ironing and hovering. There is also personal care which for those who are unawares involves assisting clients to shower or bathe and in some cases extends to assuring their arses are wiped. Body fluids and solids can often feature heavily.

Another common one is risk analysis, whereby each task or activity must be assessed and documented for the clients safety and wellbeing.

If you are on shift you ALWAYS work past 9pm. If you are on a sleepover or working night you either have to sleep at work (usually to start on shift the next morning) or stay up all night to ensure the clients safety.

The average for a week our varies depending on your shift pattern but it’s not unknown for people to do very long shifts – days at a time without going home to cover sickness and staff shortages.

My week varies from a reasonable 40ish hours to whatever is required. My job is 24/7 care and thusly I have a responsibility not only to my manager but to the clients I work with. Some of them, to put it bluntly, wouldn’t be able to look after themselves on their own.

Ok so mibbes our friend the banker wins on the amount of hours he has to do – but in fairness he’s not up to his elbows in shit and piss, nor cope with the aftermath of a dirty protest, nor is he being attacked, scratched or bitten by clients who lash out and display challenging behaviour, nor does he have to work with someone who threatens to kill him or do him or themselves harm., He will never have to work “line of sight” with a suicidal client lest they manage to self harm by say taking a staple out of a magazine and digging at their wrists.

I think you can surmise that I’m not too impressed by his claims thus far.

(BTW none of the examples above relate to any clients I have worked with directly but are intended as an overview of some of the things a care worker sometimes has to deal with.)

Bonus hopes

My base salary is £50,000 per year and my bonus.

The usual expectation is that your bonus is somewhere around 90%to 110% of your base salary.

The number I’ve targeted for this year is a £40,000 bonus, but it’s hard to say because the past couple of years have been so difficult because of the credit crunch and bonuses haven’t been typical at all.

If I get below £30,000 I will be very, very disappointed and quite shocked. Though how shocked will depend on whether other people at my level get that.

If they were to tell me it was £30,000, I’d definitely say that was way below my expectations.

I’ve been working very hard and put in extremely long hours. I am rarely home before 11pm.

My bank has done quite well this year and we’re constantly told we’re doing very well, so I don’t see how they could justify paying us just £30,000, given the performance of the bank and given that other banks are likely to pay people at my level more than that.

My base salary at £50,000 is already below what is expected for my level at other banks. I think most others pay £55,000 and I think a £30,000 bonus is likely to be below what other banks are paying as well.

OK lets compare these:

Average care worker salary: £15,950 or around £8 an hour.

If we look at mine then it’s around 12k a year and just above minimum wage an hour.

Bonus: none.

You know why do I do this job? I could be an investment banker and make twice that… oh and get a bonus! Mibbes the next section will be enlightening.

Lot of money

I have a lot of friends who aren’t in banking and who earn a lot less than me. And if I think about it, at my age, it’s a lot of money.

Also, for the money I’m earning, I don’t think I’m giving back to society at that level. So from that respect, I think it’s a lot of money.

If all investment banks paid at a lower level, I wouldn’t really be bothered by it. It’s just the fact that I know the other banks pay more and I just feel that my bank would be taking advantage of me if they were paying me less.

It also comes back to the hours. If I look at my friends, yes, they earn a lot less than me, but they have a much nicer lifestyle.

They are able to go out with their friends after work, and take two to three weeks holidays. In investment banking, for an analyst, its almost unheard of to take two weeks holiday.

I can completely understand why the general public are angry that RBS should be paying bonuses.

But I know that if they don’t pay the bonuses, people will leave RBS and that’s the end of the bank.

Well I don’t get a lot of money. I also don’t get all that much of a “good lifestyle” due to working evenings and weekend shifts and often being unable to arrange to do things with friends and the like. People in care generally don’t (in my experience) but people don’t appear to be leaving the industry in droves. Perhaps our banker friend should have just told the BBC this:

The reality is that people work in banking mainly for the money.

At least that was more honest then trying to justify why he deserves money folk like me don’t.