At my leaving do from Eagle Star Insurance in 1981 one of my colleagues wished me luck in my new vacation. I'm sure it was a slip of the tongue.
Priesthood is one of the few occupations still seen as vocational. Notwithstanding the impact of Common Tenure, which leaves clergy to be treated, and feeling, more like the salaried than the stipended, most of us do the job because of a sense of calling and feel that the money we get each month, rather than payment for services rendered, is to save us from the necessity of earning our livings.
We may discuss that some other time.
I've wondered afresh recently, especially in the light of the discussion about salaries for CEOs, if there might be such a thing as a vocational banker.
Who else does this? Some teachers, medics and charity sector professionals maybe but the list doesn't extend easily.
By vocational I mean doing the job by hook or by crook regardless of payment.
The argument about bankers' salaries seems to be that no-one would move sideways to help RBS and in the process take a huge salary cut, therefore the bank needs to offer a market rate. Having done that, albeit with a slashed bonus scheme, Stephen Hester has now been pressured into waiving his right to the bonus negotiated.
How about if there were a group of senior financiers who would say this:
We care about markets, wealth creation and monetary security. It has been our lives' work to study it and manage it. We now pledge ourselves to help ailing financial institutions (even if they are countries) for the rest of our working lives at no more remuneration than that which saves us having to work for our living elsewhere.
Go on. I dare one of you to go first. Bankpriests. We need you.