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Thursday, October 19, 2023

A Letter to the Young Bankers: Certificates will give you a job. Integrity will help you keep it

By Godwin Semunyu.

In the words of Warren Buffett, one of the wealthiest human beings, "When I look for people to hire, I look for three qualities: Integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don't have the first, the other two will kill you." 

Warren placed integrity at the heart of sourcing talents. As a young banker in my hometown of Morogoro, my first day at work was mind-blowing; the vast stacks of cash were too much for a kid who lived off the government advances at Mzumbe University. “Boom” as used to call them.

My boss, a gentle and soft-spoken man, gave me valuable advice: "Godwin, all this you see here, inside this building, are just pieces of papers, not money. From now on, money is what you earn and carry in your pockets. The rest here are papers. A banker is banked on trust. People trust you with their life savings. Your Integrity and trustworthiness must remain unquestionable. Even when no one is looking.” Sigh.

In a society where “success” is based on material accumulation with little regard to how they are obtained, It is easier to fall into a trap. When my friends heard I got a job at the Bank, their first notion was "Tajiri pale Benki kuna madili sana." Product of our environments. I was suddenly “Tajiri”. A catalyst to peer pressure. To most people,  Upigaji is heroic. An easier route to “success.”

Society peer pressure can easily destroy your career, hopes and dreams. The sad thing is, when it all falls down, you will be on your own. A laughingstock. 

Be patient; stop comparing yourself to anyone.  Some has been  there for years; some have multiple sources of income. Run your own race. Forgery, fraud, theft, and misconducts are numbered. You can only do so much.

Integrity is, therefore, the unwavering commitment to honesty, truthfulness, and consistency in following processes and procedures. When in doubt, ask. 

Thomas Jefferson once said, "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Seek mentorship, be accountable and maintain transparency where necessary. Remember, the real money is what you rightfully earn. The rest are just papers. After all, even Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Thank me later.
Godwin Jaha Semunyu is a seasoned Marketer and a Communications enthusiast. He is the Head of Corporate Affairs at NBC Bank (T). These are his personal views. He can be reached at: godwingodizo@gmail.com

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