Cobra Pose, anyone?

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Molly Markey Arbuthnot Latham Specialist Finance

Flexibility has been the watchword over the last year, in the metaphorical sense as we have been forced to bend without breaking to adapt to new ways of working and living, and quite literally for Molly Markey, for whom the pandemic has rekindled a love of sun salutations.

“Lockdown has helped me to get back into my love for yoga and meditation which I haven’t practiced in several years,” says the relationship manager at Arbuthnot Specialist Finance. “It allows me to disconnect from the negativities or stress we are facing at the minute and I would recommend it to anyone.”

It’s a smart move, if potentially a struggle for those increasingly unfamiliar with seeing, let alone touching, their toes since gyms shut and lockdowns began. Pandemic burnout is on the rise, with data indicating 60% of people in the UK are finding it harder to stay positive daily compared with before the pandemic – an 8-point increase from November, an Ipsos Mori survey found in February.

Stress and financial services are old friends. Back in 2018 almost everyone working in the sector (95%) admitted stress had a tangible impact on their lives, according to research from employee benefits platform Perkbox, with the most common consequence being sleep loss, affecting 62%. Nearly seven out of 10 reported suffering significant levels of work-related stress – more than any other industry.

Thankfully burnout is no longer the badge of honour it once was in the halls and corridors of glassed walled high finance, but Markey warns those thinking of joining the bridging industry in particular – fuelled by the need for fast finance, often in complex circumstances – to expect a challenge.

“My personal advice would be to persevere with your goals. The job market, especially within finance, is extremely competitive in the current climate so don’t be too hard on yourself if you do face rejection, and just keep working towards your ambitions and you will find the right role for you,” she says.

Markey knows exactly how tough it can be to break in. She joined Arbuthnot in June 2019 but started her career in banking eight years ago when looking for an alternative to university. “I am definitely more of a hands-on learner and felt I would benefit more from learning on the job and I have never looked back,” she says.

She cut her teeth as an apprentice at Royal Bank of Scotland back in 2013, looking after a portfolio of customers. “It was the first year rolling out the apprenticeship nationally and we gained a financial services qualification and an entry to commercial banking as an alternative to university,” says Markey.

Finance often is accused of being a stale profession, but Markey says in her current role the nature of bridging and development means she is never bored. “I get to see such a variety of clients and property ventures on a day to day basis, I love this part of my job as it provides a challenge each day,” she says.

The second-best thing about her job is being part of a close-knit team “who have tonnes of experience from all parts of the finance world and learning from them”. Maybe there is also a new and as yet untapped opportunity for her to teach them something too. Cobra Pose, anyone?