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  • Writer's

Paul Onufer for "When you cease to enjoy the work, it's time for a change"

He lived 25 years of life in a large bank. He experienced the stamping of federal banknotes, the pioneering period of the 1990s and the clash of cultures with the arrival of a new bank owner. He couldn't imagine another job. Nevertheless, he decided to leave and build a private business.

How to leave after 25 years from a prestigious managerial position in a large bank, where a person is accustomed to corporate security and benefits? We asked Pavel Onufer, the regional director of K and Partners a.s.

When I look back at my professional life in time, with a bit of exaggeration I can compare it to the chronicle of the development of Czech banking. Working in a bank has given me a lot of experiences and the positive ones will definitely prevail. But banking has changed dramatically since the 2008-2009 financial crisis. Automation, digitization, reorganization, pressure to save costs and sell products at all costs. I was beginning to feel that the environment was becoming more and more dehumanized, and I stopped enjoying my work. In 2015, at the age of 47, I decided to get out of that vicious circle. Over time, I can say that it is very pleasant to work without the need for politicking, constant compromises and conflicts of interest. Plus, I have a much better work-life balance now.

After years, how did you get back to doing business yourself again and not being a "big director who has people for everything"?

You may be surprised, but I really enjoy being able to go through all the stages of the business with the client. Of course, this initially required a relatively extensive self-study in order to pass all the professional tests required by the legislation. I have a qualified assistant at my disposal, also a former employee of the bank, who prepares all the documents for me. I can then focus fully on clients. And I have enough space to lead a team of colleagues. All of them, like me, have had a successful working career in banking. I dare say that I have a really friendly relationship with them. Honestly: I simply removed most of the management techniques I used in the corporation from my repertoire.

A long-term relationship is what matters.

What are you most happy about?

After changing my role and being able to stand up to clients without conflicts of interest, I often became the main manager of their family and corporate finances. I have developed a really personal, in many cases friendly relationship with most of them. And it's extremely rewarding.

Against the possibilities in the bank, I have a significantly larger range of products to choose from, I am not limited by any plan or interests of the bank's shareholders and I can really react flexibly to changes in the markets. Of course, I say this with all humility. I enjoy working again and I'm looking forward to the next years in business, but this time my own.


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