ibanker Syndrome: One Of Many Perils Of Investment Banking

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Written by: Topics: The Business


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. The psychologists that headed the team were absolutely hysteric about it.

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 the psychologists the most was what became known as “ibanker syndrome.”

A most fascinating condition

At some point or another nearly every member of the banker subspecies race fell prey to it. Most survived the ordeal and got on with life just fine, while others were 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 began to feel positively toward the latter.

In banking, however, the beaten develop an even stronger attraction for their superior. Some would even call it love. That is because the tremendous weight and intensity of those – often unexpected – diatribes and lashes thrown upon the junior bankers penetrated so deep in the psyche that a powerful bond emerged between master and slave.

The senior banker’s energy penetrated the deepest, darkest and most vulnerable parts of the feeble and downtrodden subordinate’s soul. The effect of these abuses was as life-changing as trauma incurred during one’s formative years (from 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 you, 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 will 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 dream of strangling such a person. 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.

There are also times your line manager would treat you like shit all day, 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 genuine smile on his face.

Unsurprisingly, as soon as the “ibanker syndrome” discovery was presented to senior management they all cried with happiness.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ger76 October 10, 2012 at 9:55 am

There was a vp in our group who would get sh%t on almost daily by the Fund Manager. We all felt bad for the guy but he took it like a soldier. Thank you sir may I have another. The economy prevents many from telling the big guy to go #$%*@*#*@!


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