April 13, 2010, 4:32 am

The Jobs I Had So Far Part 2: Working in a Back Office

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Career
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Today, I’ll be talking about my very first “real” job. I use the word “real” since it was the first time that I was working for someone I didn’t know upfront. When I was in my second year of my bachelor degree, my friend got me an interview through his uncle into a brokerage firm.

Back then, I didn’t really want to work in the finance industry (I was heading toward a bachelor degree in marketing) but since I was in Europe for the winter session, finding a summer job 6,000 km away was pretty hard. So I scheduled my interview during my spring break and flew back in Canada to meet with him. I guess it showed some involvement and they pick me for the summer job ;-).

Sometimes, you have to go with the flow

If there is one thing I have learned with this experience is that to never say “no”. The job was not in the field that I wanted but it was a good job for a big employer and a pretty good pay check for a summer job (i.e. about 1.5 times the minimum wage back then).

I was doing the back office for the derivative products department (futures contract and call and put stock options). So I was working with track investment apps and providing investment services to traders. I was amazing as I used to talked to traders and I learned a lot of things during a short period of time. I enjoyed the investment field so much that I changed my career path to get a mix bachelor degree and finance and marketing.

Keep your mouth shut!

The year after, I went back to the very same place as a full time employee (my bachelor degree was done). And this is when I realized that the back office ambience is not that great when you are not a summer student!

I had the feeling that the people in the department were more preoccupied about what their neighbour was doing than by doing their own job. Most of them have been in the same department for years (not to say ages!) and mastered their job perfectly. This is how they were giving everybody the impression that they were working all day long while they were babbling for most of it.

They soon started to dislike me as I was showing everybody that the job could be done faster and better. I was also complaining (too much) about all the babbling and this whole “back office attitude”. I guess this was me entering in the working world with too much enthusiasm and not enough maturity…

Then again, I am not made to deal with this kind of attitude

A while back, I wrote about how quitting my job was one of the best career move in my life; I was talking about this one ;-). My manager bought the sh$t people were talking about me without asking me what was happening. She met me with her superior (my friend’s uncle) to “put me back in the track”. It didn’t work well; I was quitting the very next day.

I have learned a lot from this job too:

#1 If you don’t like a co-worker; keep your mouth shut unless he is attacking you.

#2 Care about what you do, not about others. If you take your time an energy to watch other works, you won’t do much.

#3 If you are not the boss, don’t try to act like one. If others don’t work properly, this is not of your business. Your (their) boss should notice. If he doesn’t, he will pay the price sooner or later anyway!

#4 Be nice at work and make allies. If you have a few people liking you in your department, babbling won’t be done on your back 😉

#5 Work email is not for friends. Don’t over communicate with your friends even if they are working in the same department.

#6 Working fast is good, but you better not do mistakes. If you do, they will blame it on the fact that you went too fast.

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by: Marianne O | April 13th, 2010 (1:41 pm)

Great tips, for seasoned workers as well as for those wet behind the ears. Can’t wait to hear more stories!