Working in finance is great, I love it. It’s a fast paced world where everything is quick. Before you can even blink, 5 years have gone by and you haven’t even noticed, you have been in the fast paced glamorous world of finance.
However surviving in Finance isn’t easy, for the most part I love what I do and the longer I have stayed in Finance the more I have grown to love it but it comes with certain expectations and skills that develop over time. I still meet people that haven’t quite got it right, either that’s because they don’t enjoy what they do or that it isn’t the right job for them.
1. You will need to work long hours
The expectation to work long hours is there but isn’t unreasonable, more and more companies are permitting flexible working in particular during the pandemic.
Typically in finance or many professional jobs, no one will watch over your shoulder. There is a grown up expectation that you have duties you need to fulfil and you will complete it.
Work may have peaks and troughs, enough flexibility is given to allow you to go to a dentist appointment during the day, come in late. However, the flexibility is a two way relationship and if your organisation is being flexible enough to let you take time out during the day then you need to be flexible enough to work longer if needed.
If you are at the start of your career then long hours are essential to set the right foundations, it will pay off later on when you are better equipped with skills. I have seen new graduates that work longer but not necessarily the most liked but they are the ones that go on to thrive later on in their careers.
2. Working under pressure is key
You can’t always plan your time in advance and not have another hundred things arrive during the day expected to be delivered by the end of the same day.
Some people like lists and any new jobs go at the bottom of the list. They then meticulously work through that list and will refuse to prioritise other items. This is the wrong approach to take.
You need to first learn how to do the easy quick wins quickly, something as simple as a reply to an email or a report can be done quickly. Prioritisation should be according to deadlines, not who came to you first. Learn to get through things quickly and efficiently. Also don’t prioritise according to seniority, everyone’s job is important to them and there may be a dependency. Most organisations have a flat structure environment and the ‘junior’ member asking may be doing so for another senior member.
3. Work quickly
There is nothing more frustrating than someone who is given a task or a mini project but spends a long time planning, coming up with huge documents and delaying the project. In fact I am currently working with a girl, who wants to be involved in a project, she was assigned a task and given a deadline for completion but wasn't on top of deadlines. So I felt I had to keep reminding her.
Everyone in an organisation is a professional and shouldn’t need someone to watch over them or explain every little thing to them. However, her main issue was that she spent longer documenting things, drawing up overly complex plans and not actually implementing anything. She has an issue with anyone else stepping in but isn’t delivering and cannot see the importance of completing items.
4. Be solution driven
Pretty much everything you do in your working life will not come with a solution. Being able to solve things is very important.
This may require speaking to colleagues, researching, reading. Don’t expect to go to your boss and ask him or her how to do things, learn to stand on your own two feet to solve things.
Finance may be glamorous but comes with expectations, of course even within finance roles are very varied. What someone on a trading desk does will be different to someone in the client services team. The above is examples of some things everyone, regardless of their role should be doing. Finance is fast paced, delivery has to be quick. You need to create efficiencies and find solutions and that has to be on your own. All of these are useful and important skills which can go on to help you should you every wish to set up your own business.