Many people would kill to have their friend signing their bonus cheques, or at least deciding their annual increases. Performance reviews over drinks maybe? The reality is that there are only a handful lucky enough to be in that category. Funny enough, it has just happened to me (yesterday in fact) and this new experience has triggered a rollercoaster of emotions to say the least. I debated writing this post, afraid of revealing my true emotions to those that do not form part of my inner circle, but after reminding myself that his website was formed to be the voice for others experiencing similar issues, it only seemed fitting.
To add some colour, I entered the banking industry nearly five years ago mainly because my personal profile fit the type of organisation to which I was applying. With zero experience in financial markets, my tenacity took me across the globe, allowing me to meet some of the most driven and intelligent people. It baffles me to this day that I had met a young man, twenty four years old, who had two masters degrees and all CFA levels complete! Of course I was intimidated by my peers, but I was set on a career path that would allow me to see the world- what more could I ask for! As a diplomat’s kid, traveling was definitely part of my DNA and I was not quite ready to give that up yet. What enticed me most was the ability to start life over in a new environment where people knew nothing about my past or the skeletons in my closet. It was out of this burning desire to see more of the world – and be paid to do it– that I began to excel in my industry.
As a woman in the currency trading side of banking, a certain level of commitment to the job is required. We are expected to wake up each morning knowing exactly where markets are and be able to explain this to corporates. We need to dedicate time to learning regulations from different parts of the globe, or to pack an overnight bag for meetings with regulators in other parts of the world. There is a beauty in what I do, but there is a lot of sacrifice too. When I joined in 2015, it was apparent that as long as I had no children and put in lots of work, my path would be clear.
Five years later married and a mother, I’m sitting here writing about how the shift in my mindset has set me back from being on the straight path to success. A peer that joined in the same graduate programme as I did, drank at the same bars and hung out with the same crowd as I did has now been promoted to be my direct manager. What hurts most is to see the path I should’ve been on had I dedicated myself, time and effort. You may be wondering how it feels, or how the dynamics will be going forward, but in all honesty, all I can do is think back to all the times I left early to pick up my baby from daycare or the times I chose to fall into the YouTube black hole instead of researching.
We speak of glass ceilings in the corporate world, but being 2020 it is very important to recognise that we are responsible for the path we choose. I chose to follow my heart, and that decision has blessed me with a wonderful husband and beautiful daughter. Don’t get me wrong, I am still doing very well (with three promotions in just under five years and experience in four different markets to my name), but if I’m truly honest with myself, I am not where I could have been.
Am a feeling upset and unmotivated? Of course. Will the dynamics between my friend and I change? Probably. Will I stop working hard at my current job? I certainly hope not! For now, all I can do is be happy that my friend has excelled in his job and be as supportive as possible. They say time heals… I’ll let you know if it’s true!