Discover your dream Career
For Recruiters

After 35 years in banking people are ignoring me now I'm out

I put a lot of life into banking. I joined the industry soon after I graduated and I spent the next 35 years working non-stop for some of the top U.S. and European banks in Europe. I was at the top of my game and ran whole business areas. Then, after over three decades of working 24/7 I decided to rest.

Fundamentally, I wanted to spend more time with my family before the kids grew up too much and to travel to some places on my bucket list. Naturally, I was anxious about the future and concerned that I was doing the right thing, but I told myself that it would be ok. 18 months later, I'm not so sure that it is.

The world seems to have changed in the time I was away. As someone wrote on this site last week, there are fewer jobs out there. People also seem to be closing ranks.

I have a big network and I'm starting to reach out and to be humble about the fact that I'm looking for a new job. Surprisingly, almost no one is responding. Very few people seem to want to stay in touch or genuinely help. Hardly anyone even sent a friendly text. Not even a, "Hey, what are you up to?"

This is a shame I guess I should have known it would happen, but during my career I had several hundred people working for me and I did a lot of some of them. Those people are blanking me too. Yes, this is an alpha industry with some big egos, but we're also humans here.

I'm not the first person this has happened to. I have friends who've experienced similar treatment at different points of the cycle. One minute you're everyone's friend and then you leave the industry and no one calls you for months.

I guess this is normal human behaviour. People are holding onto their jobs and there is a culture of fear out there. It's all about protecting your turf in a declining money. The pie is shrinking and there's less money to go around. Like it or not, there's less kindness too.

Camillo Zerbo is a pseudonym

Photo by Anthony Tyrrell on Unsplash

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: in the first instance. Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram also available.

Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)

AUTHORCamillo Zerbo Insider Comment
  • _T
    7 October 2019

    I mean, is he/she really surprised by this?

  • AT
    A T
    30 September 2019

    moved to fintechs years ago, started off on pittance and have now reached earning power of my last Canary Wharf job. Senior people call to "pick my brain", but their attitudes remain incompatible with a start up job or simply not being in the hierarchical world where they used to command support.

  • ne
    28 September 2019

    This is a harsh truth/reality. Banking and Finance used to be what typical government jobs still are: once you were in, you were in for a pretty long shot and the higher you were able to climb the wider your options were. Unfortunately, things changed drastically around the time Financial Crisis hit. Those with ultra-strong connections got to not only survive but thrived with time. Others who either were too humble in their dealings or too naive to predict the storm were rendered pink slips. Financial world is all about profits and making money. So when the pie is shrinking rapidly, it is hard to find empathy and non-discrimination in an environment where egos top the charts and misuse of rank/power & authority that comes with it defines everyone else's future under that (powerful) position. You are still lucky that you were able to cash in 35 years. There are many others especially in positions which did not give them a lot of authority who got affected. However, there is little you can do to control what in reality is not in your control in the first place. The world has a lot to offer you; if you change your direction and persevere in your efforts. I am sure you can land something that you will feel proud of and genuinely like even if it is outside the realm of where you are currently looking! Good Luck!

  • ab
    28 September 2019

    A Toshima san, President of a very significant Japanese corporation, I had dinner with one evening in Tokyo in1988 made a statement I remember to this day. Over several sake, with a heavy sigh, said " from tomorrow, I am no longer President. I will have no namecard. I will be, just Toshima".

  • Al
    Alban Roger
    27 September 2019

    Did you use to reply only to people you needed and/or were senior enough?
    Did people reply to and obey you only because of your rank and they feared you?
    The above rules still apply to you, except now you need them and your rank's gone => karma.
    Also, the ones you have contacted may not have updated their Linked-in profile and may be in the same situation as you are.

Sign up to our Newsletter!

Get advice to help you manage and drive your career.

Boost your career

Find thousands of job opportunities by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.
Latest Jobs
Product & Organizational Coach - CTO COO Office
New York, United States
Euroclear Settlement Specialist
Elizabeth, United States
Fed Finance Banque de Marché
Gestionnaire Titrisation F/H
Fed Finance Banque de Marché
St. Louis, United States
CME Group
Quality Assurance Analyst Intern - Summer 2024
CME Group
Chicago, United States

Sign up to our Newsletter!

Get advice to help you manage and drive your career.