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Dear Trainee: Letters from the class of 2018, part 5

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May 31, 2019

When I first interviewed with the bank, I had my heart set on a certain position. When I was given the title “bank trainee” instead, I have to say I wasn’t very excited about it.  But having little banking experience, at least I’d have the opportunity to learn a lot, and hopefully find a permanent place in banking.  Looking back now, I think being a bank trainee is greatest opportunity and privilege that anyone within the bank could ask for.  There was a lot that I experienced and took away from the program, and I got to witness firsthand lot of changes to the program itself.

 

When I started as a bank a trainee, I was the only one in the position. I’m very competitive, so I would go in and out of each department with that “I have to be better than…” feeling.  It was a little tough knowing that there was no one else in the bank going through the same things I was, but there were former trainees in most of the departments I visited, and I was able to pick their brains.

 

One of my biggest takeaways from the program was learning about the motivations of my coworkers.  Initially, I had this idea that everyone in the banking world had the same goals, ideas and desires that I do.  As I started working in back office roles, I knew right away that I didn’t enjoy those positions as much as being in front of the customer.  I thought those jobs might be seen as stepping stones to get to the front lines, where I wanted to be. That was not the case.  When I got to know some of the people that worked behind the scenes, I could tell they absolutely loved the job they did, and that was an eye opener for me.  I made it a point to not only learn about the jobs that my fellow employees were doing, but to understand why they enjoyed their jobs so much.  I found that most still took joy in working with customers – it’s just that their customers were other employees or other departments within the bank.

 

I also had a chance to see the trainee program undergo some positive changes during my time there.  In the beginning, I would make my way through each department not really knowing how long I might be there or what would come next.  Just when I started getting comfortable with the work I was doing and the people that I was working with, I might get a phone call or email about a new assignment the next week.  Toward the end of my time as a bank trainee, more structure was added, which I felt was the most important thing.  By that time there was also a group of us, and we could all relate to certain situations and pass information back and forth.  I think going through the program with your peers is a big advantage, because of those shared experiences. I know the new trainees can appreciate that those changes were for the better.

 

After my first day as a teller in the bank trainee program, I realized I had a lot to learn.  And as I made my way through the different departments, I realized how great an opportunity I’d been given. In essence, I was able to interview for every position the bank had to offer. I got to meet just about every person in the bank, and build lasting relationships with the people that most never even get to see.  To everyone that has ever asked, I have told them that if they ever get the opportunity to be a bank trainee, they should take it.   And if I had to sum up what I learned, I’d do it with one simple quote that I heard my first day on the job: “Be content, but don’t get complacent.”

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