When I was in high school my dream was to work in a bank. The first time I checked into a bank was in the year 1999.I was too nervous and curious to know what happens in the banking hall. One thing that got me psyched was the way bank employees treated the customers. One lady (employee), who was in her early 20s, noticed an old man standing while looking weary and resigned. She calmly told him, ‘morning, please have a seat’. The voice alone was so gentle that could make any customer come to the bank again and again, little did I know that it’s the work of a customer care officer.
When I joined college, I realized that many of my friends wanted to avoid working in a bank like a plague. Every person I revealed to that my vision was to work in a bank they always laughed at me, questioning whether I am normal. I didn’t know why they were so negative about working in an environment where I could sacrifice everything to be seen there.
The best dressed group of workers in Kenya comes from the banking sector, it’s not debatable. This is one thing that made me even more eager to work in a bank. I also used to see those cashiers counting cash, plus the way they dressed and believe that they were very rich, I didn’t know that they were counting other people’s money.
It was in 2008 when I first saw my aunt crying before our family. She is called Grace. I used to respect her so much because I knew she was a boss somewhere. That time she was working with a local bank as a cashier. She came one evening, looking sad and when my Uncle asked her what was the matter, she started crying uncontrollably. It took 2 hours to convince her to calm down.
As we were taking supper, she started narrating how she was mistreated by her boss, how she spends almost 21 hours in banking halls making the equation balance. What made me scared was when she revealed that she had been diagnosed with high blood pressure. That was when it downed on me that I should change my mind about working in a bank.
Last year, one of my best friends who used to work in a local bank collapsed in a banking hall and died. She died out of high blood pressure and depression. Apparently, she used to work from 7 am to 10 pm from Monday to Saturday.
One of the most discouraging things about working in a Kenyan bank is the risk that is associated with any position within the bank. Any slightest mistake you make will render you jobless; there is no room for error. Every time you wake up, you are fearing for your job, there is no time you can relax and chest thump to your friends that you have a job.
Moreover, a bank employee has not time for side hustle. The pressure in a banking environment cannot allow you to do other business as you work for them. It is discouraging to see your friend operating several businesses as they comfortably work for NGO and government, it’s so unfair.
Finally, what discourages me more is when your account does not balance. You are forced to dig into your pocket and ensure that the equation balances, I die!