Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Career Objectives

I am going to share parts of my life, that actually I hope will make some sit back and just think to themselves, this guy really isn’t very smart. In fact he is stupid to the point of being ridiculous. I hope all will look to see if even in some small way, their lives resemble mine. See the resemblance, realize or see how ridiculous it is and bring about some change in their own.

All of my life I have been complimented on my good work ethic. To me that means some one that is dependable and puts in a good day, everyday. I think that must come from my mother. Many times I saw her, really sick but still dragging herself off to work. She had been hired to do a job and do that job was what she would do, in the very best way she could, irregardless of anything. When you are hired to do a job, it is your responsibility to see it is done. An admirable quality, if not taken to the extreme, as she did and I now realize I did.

I was a banker for virtually all of my working career. I have to laugh at a saying I used to hear “working bankers hours”. In the old days, when I first started banking, here anyway, it was the norm for most banks to be open from say 10:00am-3:00pm. It seemed to be assumed, that was the hours you worked. Not so my friend, not even back then and the hours have just gotten progressively longer ever since.

I started my banking career right out of high school, almost accidentally. I will have to share that story some time. I admit I had this fantasy in mind, I could see myself as a high powered executive, just like the ones I saw on TV. For any not familiar with the Canadian banking system we have 6 or 7 major banks. These are banks with thousands of branches spread across the entire country. I rose quite quickly through the ranks and became a “Bank Manager”.

Going back to my teen years, I suppose most influenced by what I saw on TV. I saw a bank manager as someone to be highly respected, of great power almost akin to doctors, lawyers etc.. I mean hey, even the doctors etc had to go to the bank manager when in need of a loan or mortgage or something. When I became a bank manager I would be a “some body”.

I remember the day I received the phone call telling me I had be promoted and that I was now a BANK MANAGER. I admit I was excited at the time. I was 28 years old and I had made it to the “big times” or at least what I had previously viewed as the “big times”. There was an element of pride I carried but for only a very surprisingly short time. I had attained a position of what I had thought to be of stature. I am not sure what I had really expected to feel like, here I had attained one of my major goals in my life and yet I felt no different inside. I was now, what I had previously thought of as a “big shot”. Yet somehow nothing had changed, I still felt the same.

The years of hard work, the long hours, the time missed with family, the extra stress and pressure I put on myself to get a head and really for what. I certainly didn’t feel anymore satisfied or fulfilled than I had before. I was just me, just sitting behind a different desk. It was I suppose even a bit of a let down, sort of like, OK, here I am, so now what.

It took me a while but I began to realize my attitude had changed. As with most change it was so gradual I didn’t even realize it was happening. Over the years I had dealt with so many different people from all walks of life. Doctors, lawyers, judges, police officers, entertainers, people of virtually every nationality and I came to realize that people are just that people. There is no career, position or job title that changes that, people are people. All with their own strengths AND weaknesses, joys and sadnesses. What a time to realize it, 10 years of hard work to achieve a what proved to be meaningless goal. Or, at least meaningless in the way I had thought it would be. To be a “somebody” comes from within and has nothing to do with career or position. What a fool I was to waste the precious family time as I did. If I only knew then what I do now, how different it would have been.

This is turning into what I think will be a 3 part post. I have rambled enough for today. Tomorrow the stress and of how I actually stayed at work through what proved to be a heart attack. Then of my final days as a banker, living under siege in our own home, the fear involved with that and how that has affected both Vi and I.

4 Responses to Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Career Objectives

  1. Jo Hart says:

    Bill as I read your post today, you are what we all are. All struggling to find our niche’ in society. My husband has this thing at the moment, that society is just going to fast, and we are all trying to keep up, thats why we all fall into a heap every now and then. I am struggling at the moment, with having a family, working fultime on my dad’s business which I hope to run when he retires and on top of it all trying to be a mother and a wife. I have thought about slowing down, but I suppose I keep doing it so as my family can have that security there. I have to agree though, that I have been thinking alot about priorities. Sometimes I think I am just a grumpy old pain in the butt……….. I’m 32 but feel like I’m 52.
    Keep writing dear friend, I think its not for people to see you as a fool at all, but for us to go, Geez it’s not just me. I come from the same background. I have very strong work ethic parents and its rubbed off. I love working with my dad and making his company successfull. My husband has worked his butt of for years and years being a builder and his body is starting to fall apart, he is starting to be riddled with arthritis and he is only 40. Our goal is that I can manage the business whilst he becomes a Mr mum of sorts. Still a couple of years to go, but it is a goal we are working towards. I love my children to bits, but I am not a stay at home mum. I love working, I love my job, and hopefully one day we can all enjoy that together as a family, when we do have people hired to do all the hard work we are doing now, and we can sit back and enjoy the benefits. The things we do…….

  2. Ronnie Ann says:

    Oh Bill! I am so glad you’re sharing this important message. We are who we are not what we do.

    On my Work Coach blog, every once in a while I remind the world that we here in the U.S. (and I am learning other places) have bought into the idea of longer hours and more homogenized work places and tasks that in the end is neither healthy nor productive.

    The best companies are those that realize we are people and deserve work designed in a way that meets very human needs. Not only is that important for the individual workers, but ample time off and creative, human-centered work environments in the end produce better products and services. I’ve been a banker and I’ve worked in various environments, and only once in a while did I land in a place that remembered the most important rule of lending: people first.

    Thank you for sharing this powerful message. I look forward to your next posts. Be well!

  3. Mel says:

    89,804….close, dangit!

    I’ve never asked or aspired to go ‘up the ladder’.
    I’ve always been content doing what I was doing, whatever I was doing.
    OTHER people, however, weren’t content to leave me there. Not sure if that’s ‘good or bad’….perhaps it’s neither and it just IS what it is.

    That work ethic is a huge thing to me. But it’s intertwined with my committment to the kiddos who depend on me and the families that I work with…..it’s a passion and a calling. It’s what I’m suppose to be doing, today. It doesn’t, however, define me. I am not my job. For a long time I had my worth and value tied up in a whole lot of things–how well I did my job was only one of them.
    I’m guilty of too many hours at the worksite.
    I’m working on that one! LOL I’m relearning what I know. (gotta wonder if I really ‘knew it’ if I didn’t act on it, yaknow?)

    I work hard, I play hard.
    Actually…..two outta five days I play at work. LOL
    The other three…..*ugh* definitely work.

    And yaknow, it does make me sad how things get ‘run’ today, that the girl was taught it’s not what you can do for the company but what the company can do for YOU that’s the theme. Scares me to watch that play out and good people with years of investment and a belief in what they’re doing get let go so some younger (aka ‘cheaper’) person can step in to do the job.
    I prefer the attitude of the employer that I grew up with.
    People first. Always, always people first.

  4. A.M. says:

    I realize that for many workers the expectations put on them are far and above what they should be, especially for the middle managers, and often there is little recourse. But there is a little. What if while maintaining that good work ethic, time with the family was given a little priority. I have seen someone I love and respect very much drag himself off to work to sick to be going anywhere. No-one could have minded him not coughing on them but his kids would have loved to have him for the day even if he was under the weather. Why not take all the smallest opportunities? Maybe booking off for that one day the kids will be home for a PD day won’t jeopardize the job or cause the company to fail and it might take some extra work the next day, but what a treasure to give at home. We don’t know if we’re going to have tomorrow to do all the things we dream of and the kids grow up so fast. We discovered the work ethic though good in its place took a toll we’re finding hard repair.

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