Why do I have so many bosses?!

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Thank God it’s Friday! I’ve had a tough couple of weeks, with different senior managers visiting from our Head Office in the US. As a result, I’m now coming down with a cold. As I move up the corporate ladder, I find that I spend less time doing actual work and more time on upward management and communicating to senior management. When I was a junior member of the team, all I had to worry about was delivering on my job and getting on with my direct manager.

Now that I’m more than ten years into my career, I have the ‘privilege’ of dealing with senior management, which means that I not only have to worry about my direct manager but also his boss and his bosses’ boss who heads up the International business segment. On top of that, we have a matrix organisational structure and so I also have to worry about my bosses’ indirect managers in the US (there are two of them), plus the managers’ boss! If you add all this together, I have to think about six different bosses. Bearing in mind that my whole team here in Hong Kong is only made up of five people and across Asia, we have around fifteen people, doesn’t having six bosses seem pretty excessive? Continue reading

Women, the lesser gender at work

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A friend of mine recently asked me what I thought about Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. Unfortunately, while I’ve heard of this popular book and the cult following it has amongst women, I have not read it. To be honest, motivational self-help books is my least favourite genre. So, even though I’ve added Lean In to my reading list, it will probably take me a while to get to it. (If you’re reading this, R, sorry and please be patient!)

In the meantime, let me share my thoughts on gender equality at work and the possible reasons for the imbalance. Continue reading

Why is banking a high paying industry?

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When someone mentions banking, the first thing that comes to mind is money. Banks deal with money and bankers have a lot of it. It has always been the case but in recent years, especially post 2008, the spotlight has been on this matter, with bankers painted as greedy villains. I realise that I’m generalizing here, but it seems reasonable that we question the rationale and fairness of this situation, where professions that add value to society such as policemen and teachers earn a fraction of what someone in banking earns.

Here are some statistics to ponder over: in the UK, the median average annual salary was GBP27,531[1], and within this, the City of London (where the bankers are) was the highest earning region, with an average salary of GBP48,023. In the US, the median salary for an analyst (i.e. entry level) working for a bulge bracket investment bank is around $80K[2], while a registered nurse would be paid closer to $50K[3]. The difference increases with experience, with a Managing Director in a bank earning over $600K. I didn’t bother looking into a senior nurse’s pay, but I’m pretty sure it would be miles away. Continue reading