I don’t think I ever made a conscious decision to work in a bank.
It was something of an accident.
Music and playing the trumpet was my main interest at the time I left school.
I wasn’t exactly what you’d call front office style either.
I had the scariest Ziggy Stardust hairstyle, so the cashier job seemed a useful fill in.
One day, however, a human resources manager came round and he offered me a deal.
“Get yourself a haircut”, he said, and I’ll find you something more challenging.
Apparently, the bank needed software written for all sorts of devices because back then there was no such thing as plug and play peripherals.
Part of my youth had been spent getting to know the inner workings of a Sinclair ZX computer, so it was perfect for me.
The hair cut was a bit of a drawback, but I figured I could always get the length back to its old Ziggy Stardust splendour by stealth.
And that was how I started in IT. And I loved it.
It was a small team that was looking at a wide range of technology and business issues.
I discovered I had other abilities too. I could explain the complex technical stuff to the CEO so he would understand it. And he liked that.
I could also explain it to a conference of 300 people so they felt they understood it too.
What was also becoming clear around that time was the huge potential of the internet.
We persuaded the CEO that we should beat the competition to getting the first website up and running.
And we did.
This seemed like scary interesting work, much more fun than just having a scary haircut.
My role in IT is now one of a consultant architect and I spend my time working with Group staff and vendors.
We have a lot of experienced IT staff in the Group and I’ve found that adding the academic qualities brought by students produces particularly good results. Like this one PHD guy.
They didn’t know what to make of him anywhere else in the bank, but I could see he had this amazing enthusiasm and depth of knowledge.
Sometimes, he’ll jump on a plane from Glasgow and we’ll crack a presentation in the living room of my cottage in Newtonards overlooking the sea.
He reminds me a bit of myself at that age only, scarier.
Not that that’s a bad thing.
Maybe I should tell him to get a haircut?