A covert operation tasked with a mission to increase bankers’ resilience to stress so they work harder and longer for the bank, the Comprehensive Banker Fitness (CBF) programme made startling discoveries about the race of pitchbook monkeys soon after its genesis.
Generously funded by banks, this clandestine division, which falls somewhere between the HR department and the executive committee, though one can only surmise, began to catalogue, study and analyse different conditions suffered by the foot soldiers of the business, analysts and associates. The one which intrigued them the most was what they named ‘ibanker syndrome’.
At some point or another nearly every member of the banker subspecies race will fall prey to it. Some survive and get on with life just fine, while others are permanently scarred.
You’d possibly mistake it for the Stockholm syndrome. The weak are repeatedly beaten and cursed by the strong and by some strange twist of neurological circuitry, in time the former begins to feel positively toward the latter. In banking, however, the beaten develop an even stronger attraction, some would call it love, for their superior. That is because the tremendous weight and intensity of these – very often unexpected – diatribes and lashes upon the junior bankers penetrate so deep in the psyche that a powerful bond emerges between master and slave.
The senior banker penetrates to deepest, darkest and most vulnerable parts of the feeble and downtrodden subordinate’s soul. The effect of these abuses are as life-changing as blows incurred during one’s formative years (i.e. birth to age 6).
This is how I explained it to one non-banker who couldn’t get his head around this psychological phenomenon:
Day after day, your line manager will shit on it, give you endless work, shit on you, ask you to fetch him coffee, shit on you, ask you to take his filthy shirts to the cleaners, shit on you, ask you to write a speech he is to deliver for the charity whose board he sits on for show yet whose name he never remembers, shit on you some more, wait until he leaves the office to tell you that a 70-page presentation is due the following morning at 7am sharp and of course shit on you a little more. Most people would strangle such a person, if not tell them to go f@*& themselves. Yet as soon as another banker utters one negative comment about your master you suddenly feel violated. You tense up as if it were your mother who was just insulted. Other times, you’d, again, get treated like shit all day by your line manager, but as soon as he’d look at you in the eye and say goodbye when leaving you’d feel elated. You’d replay that moment…that look…a dozen times in your head and even convince yourself there was the ever slightest hint of a smile on his lips.
Unsurprisingly, as soon as the ‘ibanker syndrome’ discovery was presented to senior management they all cried with happiness. The psychologists too.