Last weeks news - Gaining promotion
I said last week that I would probably do a password protected post, and seeing as I’ve had some time, it may as well be now.
Let’s start with the background. I started work for HFC Bank (Or Household Bank as they were known at the time, or Beneficial Finance as they went on to be known) in 2004.
It was a lending company that specialised in high-interest loans as well as bits and pieces of insurance alongside.
Two years after starting I was promoted and moved to another branch, where I was a Team Leader. About eighteen months after that I was promoted to Branch Manager in a branch in North London which - unbeknownst to me at the time - was struggling massively, had big problems with staff and was generally on its knees.
I was there for about eighteen months during which time the branch was pretty much turned around, outperforming other branches in the area and rising up league tables.
I had to manage some people out of the company and work alongside some very strong characters, but I enjoyed my time there and was pleased to have the experience. That came to an end when the recession hit and the bank made everyone redundant.
From there I went to work for Mobile Money - a log book loan company that was expanding and looking to start an office in Chelmsford. Although I was officially given the title of Assistant Manager, I worked there on my own for 8 months, barring a once-weekly visit from my Regional Manager, and set the branch up from scratch, taking it to exceeding its targets in the small amount of time that I was there.
When I started work for the Co-op Bank, it was in a role that I had done back in 2004 for HFC.
I was prepared to take the step down believing that I was more than capable of getting promoted quickly, and even said as much in the interview, declaring that I wanted promotion quickly and citing my cv and experience as the reason why.
Whether I stated it publicly or not, I can’t remember, but I also had it in my head that I would need to achieve that by the end of the year.
The new year rolled around fairly quickly and in the lead up to it I had applied for a Branch Manager role in Cheshunt in August, but was told that I would have to interview for the lower role of Assistant Manager in Romford, and that if I was successful there, I could then interview for the role I wanted in Cheshunt.
I wasn’t overly impressed but went along anyway and was interviewed by the Manageress, Carol, and her manager, Audrey.
The interview wasn’t great, and a roleplay scenario where I was to present a team meeting went badly, and I left feeling as though the two interviewers had been deliberately obtuse in the roleplay, and I had not been able to recover from it.
I was told a few days later that I didn’t get offered the Assistant Manager role. That in turn meant that I was not allowed to apply for the Branch Manager role that I wanted to go for.
A couple of months later a position as Senior Branch Advisor came up in Southend. This was one step above my existing position and one below that of Assistant Manager. Asked if I wanted to apply for it, I said no when I heard that the pay rise was only 5%, saying that there was someone in our branch who lived closer and would make more of it than I would, and that the pay rise wouldn’t cover my cost of travel.
As the new year kicked in an SBA role came up in our City Branch. I applied after a day or two of deliberation, having been told by Elaine, Tasha, Kip and Loz that it was a step up even though it wasn’t my desired role, and that the positives would be not having to work every other Saturday as I currently did due to the City branch being closed on weekends. I’d also benefit from being paid London Weighting which would cover the cost of travel.
A couple of weeks went by and I received an email saying simply that the position had been filled and that I had been unsuccessful.
I called the City branch and spoke to the Manager there who said that a Manager from another branch had stepped down and had been given the role. I couldn’t get any more information from her, but relayed the information back to my own manager, Paul, who had always been supportive of my ambitions.
I didn’t think that a company was allowed to advertise a position and then fill it without interviewing but left it with Paul to look into. He came back without an answer but stated that Audrey had been annoyed as the decision was made without her, and it had been a branch under her control.
I was told to hold fire on anything for a while as she looked into it.
A week or two came and went with no further news. I had my monthly one-to-one with Paul and we discussed my career, both joking aloud that Metro Bank were expanding and were opening branches in our area, and that they paid far better than the Co-op does.
Paul had worked with a guy called Glenn in a previous branch, and Glenn had recently been told that he had succeeded in getting the Branch Manager role at Metro Bank in Chelmsford when they open in a few months.
I’d been gutted on hearing the news as I had already submitted my cv to them in the hope of getting the same role, and even if I had been successful in getting just an Assistant Manager role there I have found that my personality clashes with Glenn and working with him would have been difficult.
Whether Paul knew I had applied, I don’t know, but he made a point of telling me that Audrey had spoken to him a few days before and had stressed that she needed to do something with me otherwise they risked me leaving for another job.
I’ve no idea if this was lip service, but it was certainly music to my ears, and I asked where he thought my future lay in the company. “I think you need to be looking to be a manager, Dan” he replied.
Paul has been with the company for about thirteen years, and he generally has an excellent grasp on what’s happening in and around the bank.
A day or two later I walked past Paul’s desk as he was finishing a phone call. He motioned for me to wait and when he’d finished he said simply that Audrey was putting me into Cheshunt branch as Branch Manager on a six-month secondment. Details were to be finalised on my return to work (as I was just about to start a weeks holiday) and the start date was set for 1st May.
So how am I feeling? There’s a mix of emotions to be honest.
I’m excited about the opportunity. Happy that I will be doing it in a branch where I know no-one, but disappointed at the same time for the same reason.
I’m also worried about the money aspect. Having learnt since originally applying for the role that there isn’t a pay rise from middle of the pay band at my existing grade even to the bottom of the grade I’ll be in, there is a chance that it will cost me money to make the move.
Assuming that the company will pay for my travel daily, it’s still less than £1,000 per year increase for what will be an extra 90 minutes of travelling every day and extra stress and responsibility which seems ridiculous at best.
The positive side is that I should get pay increases frequently to bring me up to an acceptable level but that is still far from ideal.
I can foresee this being a definite problem and it’ll be interesting to see how the bank approaches it. I’m due a payrise for my end of year appraisal grading, and I’ve no doubt that they will say I can have that but no other rise, and even if they then pay travel allowance, it still falls heavily into the “is it worth it” category.
Next week should answer some questions. In the meantime I think I will ensure my cv is a little more polished than it is now, just in case.