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Bank Manager Training

…a vacancy had been got for him in that flourishing institution, the New Asiatic Bank, and he was to enter upon his duties, whatever they might be, on the Tuesday of the following week. It was short notice, but banks have a habit of swallowing their victims rather abruptly.

from: Psmith in the City

P.G. Wodehouse experienced the world of banking at close range as a reluctant employee of The Hongkong and Shanghai Bank between 1900-1902.  Some insight into Wodehouse’s experiences at the bank can be gleaned from Psmith in the City, in which young Mike Jackson, like Wodehouse himself,  is launched unwillingly into a banking career by his father.

Wodehouse is pretty stern on the subject of bank managers.

They train bank clerks to stifle emotion, so they will be able to refuse overdrafts when they become managers.

from: Ukridge’s Accident Syndicate

But times, and banks, have changed since Wodehouse’s day. If reports from the world of finance are to be believed, the modern bank manger is an endangered  species, more to be pitied than censured.

HP

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11 Comments

  1. Chetan Mehendale says:

    great idea! I have touched on the subject but briefly in my somewhat brilliant post – http://cmehendale.wordpress.com/2009/11/20/human-resources/

    I am actually scared to go in too deep on the subject of “management” or “managers” because I believe that managers, like aunts, are omnipresent and omniscient and another word that begins with “omni” … yes, omnivorous … and I would rather not become another victim on the altar of whatever bloodthirsty God they worship – that tends to quite spoil the weekend, don’t you know – not to mention the laundry bill from trying to get the bloodstains out of the stiff collar!

  2. jakesprinter says:

    Very informative nice post 🙂

  3. That’s a good one about the modern Bank Manger being an endangered species, mpore to be pitied than censured.

  4. Janiece says:

    Perfect manager = supportive but not a micro-manager. Good communicator, not authoritarian, capable of generating respect. In other words, there aren’t many!

    • A perfect manager is an Utopian ideal to say the least. In actual practice, ‘perfection vis-a-vis management’ is a contradiction in terms. Managers are required, because to manage affairs in this imperfect world, scapegoats are required. And what better scapegoat than the poor manager. (Sorry to start the sentence with ‘And’)

  5. honoriaplum says:

    Great comments all.

    Chetan, I quite share your apprehensions. I’ve only just got rid of the bloodstains from last time. I shall avoid criticism and stick strictly to exploring the ideal.

  6. andyxl says:

    I wish PG could have written something about Credit Default Swaps. I do seem to recall occasional references to Great Men spending their time cornering wheat.

  7. […] 14 An egg, a bean and a crumpet. December 9 Christmas Special. December 6 Bank manager training. December 1 The glamour of incivility. November 27 Accountants in […]

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