Work-Life Balance for Compliance Professionals



Finding a balance between work life and home life can be a challenge, particularly if you are at the start of your career. That’s the time for putting in the hard yards as you establish yourself within your chosen field. If you’re thinking about working in compliance you can certainly expect some long hours and a weekend here and there as you work your way up the ladder.

It really depends on your ambition and how quickly you want to move through the ranks, explains Compliance veteran, Nathan Dearinger. “I’ve seen people spend 15 years in a senior management role without moving up because they just don’t have the desire for extra work,” he says. “Moving quickly through the ranks does tend to equate with losing some of your spare time.”

While at the start of your career in compliance, picking and choosing the right organisation may not seem straightforward as you try and find a good launch pad; but there are some things you can be looking for. Understanding the dynamics and reputation of the company can give you some good indicators of how busy you may be on the job. Do some research around how the company is perceived in the marketplace, what their senior management is like, and how often they seem to attract negative attention from the regulators or the media. “If they’re well-liked in the marketplace, have a good reputation, and if regulators aren’t crawling all over them, you can pretty much be guaranteed of a steady job,” says Dearinger.

Another great starting point for junior compliance professionals, when it comes to finding the balance that works for you, is to assess the culture of the team. Really get to know the people you’re working with and think about who would be a good fit for you to align yourself to culturally and whom to mirror your behaviour off of.

Just as though you were selecting an avatar in a video game that plays to your individual strengths, choosing a strong member of your team to emulate is a great strategy when kicking off your compliance career. Look around and see what everyone else is doing, then focus on the ones you deem most popular and/or successful who you have access to in the workplace. “Those tend to be the people who are more outspoken which makes them more visible,” says Dearinger. “Fostering those relationships can help you feel more engaged with the business and settle in more quickly, not to mention enabling you to enhance your learning capability due to getting greater exposure to projects, colleagues and other opportunities.”

Of course there is always a risk when aligning yourself to an Alpha member of the compliance team. The more ambitious individuals could well favour the culture of long hours or after-work socialising that may not fit with your personality. So think about what you want to get out of your compliance career early on to avoid going down a path at odds with your goals.

“When it comes to compliance jobs the pay is good and the opportunities can be fantastic,” says Dearinger. “Promotions and pay rises could come but you’ve got to pay the piper along the way, usually with hours and lifestyle.”

As you move through your career path you’ll find that the balance becomes more seasonal, there’ll be times for longer hours, for example when you have a board report due or big project but generally speaking compliance careers come with the typical 9 to 5 hours of business.


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