A Good Job in the Bank
Deaglán de Bréadún
From time to time when I was growing up, someone would sidle over to me and say, “Get yourself a good job in the bank, boy.” I ignored the advice and went off studying poetry and novels, my head full of Wordsworth and Keats and Shelley and D.H. Lawrence and Henry James and Ford Madox Ford.
What an eejit! Further down the line, I was dumped on the job market. The poetry was, in the old phrase, “as much use as cold tea in a po [chamber-pot]“. Just yesterday I was rummaging around and discovered an old file of unsuccessful job applications of mine from that period. I shudda got a good job in the bank.
Finally, after a long, long time, I fetched up in journalism. It was tough trying to get into the union and then working like a dog to get a staff job. I shudda got a good job in the bank.
Now I hear on the BBC News that something like 1,000 bank officials in the UK are earning more than a million a year. Sterling. Meanwhile, we are told that an international trawl failed to come up with someone who would run AIB for 500,000 euro.
What’s so special about these guys (they are nearly all guys)? I’m not bitter, I just want to know. What extraordinary skills do they possess that they should feel entitled to such vast salaries? Or is it like working in Guiness’s? You are around beer and stout, so you get an allowance. You are around money, so you get a big salary (I’m talking about top salaries - pay at the lower levels is not in the same league.)
The banking sector is in a mess and has had to be rescued by the taxpayer, here, in the UK and many other places. But still the big salaries are being paid: if I keep on with this, I’ll end up taking a placard and marching up and down the street. I shudda got a good job in the bank.