Back to work

It was back to work on Tuesday after the week’s holiday I’d had. Things hadn’t changed. The atmosphere was still slightly dark and at times oppressive. Although it was good to see my colleagues again, it was evident that there are quite a few people in the branch feeling the negativity that seems to hang in the air.

I had a stinker of a day on Tuesday. Everyone I spoke to on the phone was distant and closed – exactly the opposite of what you need when you are trying to sell to someone. At the end of the day I was glad to get out, even if it was 45 minutes later than normal due to having to stay and resolve an error on the till.

During the course of the day I mentioned to my manager Sue that I had the Thursday (today) booked off. Straight away she was trying to convince me to cancel my day off and come in. That annoyed me. It’s the start of a new month (we are targeted from the 1st of each month to the last day of each month). Normally you get pressured to cancel holiday if you are behind on target with a few days left, which I can understand, but at the start of a month? It just seems harsh.

I was also upset that my newest team member, BC, who’d come over from Chelmsford branch at the end of March, was asked by Sue to come in on his lieu day. Bearing in mind that up until 29th April, he had already achieved a Personal Best for the number of loans he had done, the overall (secured AND unsecured) amount of money he had lent and also the amount of unsecured money he had lent. In fact, he wrote such a large amount of unsecured money that it hadn’t been achieved at Romford for at least two years.

Anyway, Sue pressured BC to come in, which he did, and to be fair he managed to do more work which earnt him (and Sue) more bonus, so I guess it works out. It just smarts that no matter how well you do you are pushed to work harder, later and on your days off!

Driving home on Tuesday night, I was giving BC a lift home as normal, and we were discussing work and how it was frustrating at the long hours and general bad atmosphere in the office. We conceded that we had to tough it out and make of it what we can, but BC admitted that from what he had seen in the 5 weeks he has been in Romford, he is now against pushing for promotion (which was on of the reasons he had joined the branch) simply because of the stress and trouble he could see myself and Chris, the other Team Leader, getting.

It was on the drive home that I admitted to BC that I had a phone interview lined up with Halifax for today. BC was shocked, but understood why I was looking around. I indicated that the salary may be less than I was on now, and that would prove a sticking point for me as I’d need them to at least match my salary, and that nothing was definite, especially as I prefer putting my roots down and staying with a company I know than leaving.

BC and I even discussed starting our own company – We’re both hard workers, dedicated, intelligent and willing to take a risk if needed. Unfortunately we’re both stuck as to what we should do. I guess that’s an idea for the back burner now.

Anyway, I had the telephone interview with Halifax this morning. I do the interviews at work, so I had a good idea of the type of questions they would ask. I spent about 40 minutes on the phone going through details and answering questions. Overall I did fairly well, I thought, though there was a couple of bits that could have been answered better. Even on the poorly answered questions, I still managed to back up my answers with examples, threw in a few industry buzzwords and spoke of how making money was my primary target.

All in all, I reckon I sailed through the phone interview. The biggest sticking point was as I had believed, my salary. They wanted to drop my basic by £1k, and asked if that would be a problem. I said that it would, and they explained that I didn’t have any financial qualifications, which they would train me to achieve. I argued that I had 3 years of selling high interest loans in a hard sales environment and gave examples of inhouse training I had done before reiterating that I needed Halifax to at least match my existing basic wage.

I was told that this would be decided by an area manager, who would perform the next stage of the interview, to be held in a branch in the local area. I responded that I was confident enough in my ability that I would be able to convince the area manager to bump up the basic by £1k, and the interview ended soon after that, with the interviewer taking my details to run a credit score.

Mel asked how it went. My reply was that it was a piece of piss and I’d be having an interview in a branch within a couple of weeks.

A couple of hours later Halifax called back to tell me that they weren’t offering me the role. I was dumbstruck. They said that they felt I didn’t have the necessary drive to succeed in their branches, and that they felt I lacked the skills to motivate a team. They also said that I hadn’t researched the role as I mentioned that Halifax did credit cards, which apparently the role I was applying for didn’t offer (so much for using my intuition there.) I was then told that perhaps I should have researched the role a little more (I can almost feel my blood boiling as I write this!). I replied politely that the role I had applied for was slightly different to the one we were now discussing as I had no financial qualifications, before being interrupted and being told (again) that they wouldn’t be offering me the role.

I checked online at the details about the role I was applying for after I finished the call, and guess what? Yep, no mention of exactly what products I would be selling. Bloody typical. There’s any no in-depth mention of having to motivate a team.

So where do I go from here? God knows. I guess I have to stick with what I know for now. I’ll tell BC that they wouldn’t match my wages, which will not only save face but is also what I believe to be a big underlying factor in it all.

Maybe I’ll look up the cost of the financial qualifications and go for them myself. At least that’ll open up some avenues for me in the future.

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