Switching jobs within Rabobank: “Dare to decide and try new things”

Monique poses with arms folded at Rabobank
Monique poseert met armen over elkaar bij Rabobank
Monique de Wolf
Analist Financial Economic Crime
Reading time5 minutes

Sometimes you want a new challenge in your work. Changing jobs and doing something new is often possible at Rabobank. Monique de Wolf knows all about that. She moved from a position at a local Rabobank to the central organization, where she worked her way through different roles and ended up becoming an analyst at Financial Economic Crime.

Monique worked as the assistant to the managing director of Rabobank Vallei and Rijn in Ede until 2017. Her project coordinating role had acquainted her with many different aspects of banking, from the Coöperatiefonds and the members council to the Supervisory Board. And even though Monique thought it was “a fantastic job,” she was eager to learn what was happening in the central organization. She told us that she “wanted to discover what the possibilities were over there. And I always intended to return to the local bank, so I could be a link between the local and the central.”

Switch

It was more or less a coincidence that a temporary assignment for a position in the central organization landed in her lap just when she was looking into it. She took the plunge and decided to go for the interview. The assignment consisted of assisting then Director of Operations, Kirsten Konst. As it turned out, Monique was the ideal candidate. Making the switch from local to central was a crucial step in her career development, she recalled: “When the temporary assignment, I did not go back to the local bank. I took a job in the ‘Corporates’ domain and then moved into a role as project management coordinator and scrum master for Talent Management, which is part of HR. It was such a great learning experience.” She continued, “I did that happily for several years.”

Don't wait around

When a redesign was announced at HR, she switched back into action mode. Or more accurately, change mode. She explained, “I like to try new things so I saw this change as a good challenge. It was the right time for me to expand my horizons, something to which I am naturally inclined. And I’m not one to wait around either, I want to look ahead and discover what else is out there!”

A recruiter helped her arrange a few “coffee moments” at Financial Economic Crime (FEC) and eventually she was able to spend a day tagging along there. It felt like a good click so her next step was the interview process. And that was no joke, Monique recalled: “assessments, intelligence tests, a difficult case—there was a bit of everything. ‘Bring it on,’ I thought. It was fun and I learned so much.”

Monique in conversation with a colleague at the coffee corner of Rabobank

Monique was hired and on January 1, 2022, she started a five-month-long course that was specially designed for new FEC analysts. “It was so well organized,” said Monique, “we were assigned a coach, a team lead, and a manager and got to sink our teeth into real dossiers, only within a protected environment. The course included a variety of people. Everyone from young graduates with no Rabobank experience to people in senior roles who were looking for something else, just like me. It was so refreshing, and you learn so much from each other through regular consultations. That made shifting to the real thing very natural, it was a soft landing since you already know how it all works and who to speak to about what.”

​​​​​​​FEC turned out to be the right place for Monique. She likes it so much that she is already doing another course. “I told my team lead that I want to progress from Analyst B to C. A place became available much sooner than expected and I was able to start the course in February of this year. Just like the course I did last year, we are learning on the job. I find putting what you’re learning directly into practice a very pleasant way to apply the new knowledge. Also, the atmosphere in the team is very open. I really like this job. It’s easy for me to complete a lot of tasks at the same time and I am not afraid of handling complex dossiers.”

Believe in yourself

It’s obvious that Monique’s “change capacity” is in good working order. Wherever she goes, she adjusts like a chameleon and manages to organize her work so that it’s enjoyable. That alone is a fine art, and not one that everyone is cut out for. “You have to dare to make decisions and not be afraid to try new things,” she said. “Even when you’ve been in a certain job for 25 years and feel like you’re ‘stuck.’ The reality is that you’re rarely stuck. Don’t just stay somewhere because you think you can’t change. Take my role as scrum master, for example. I had heard of that vaguely before, something to do with post-its on a whiteboard, but I didn’t know exactly what it involved. But I still went for it. And before I knew it, our squad was working with the scrum method and I had gained a certification. It really helps to simply believe that you can do something. That can remove hurdles.”

Monique walks across the street with one hand in a pocket

Wrong choices don’t exist

She calls herself the odd man out when it comes to the way she perceives Rabobank. Monique explained, “I don’t want to get too comfortable. I think Rabobank is a fantastic employer, but at the end of the day the responsibility for your work satisfaction is yours alone. You have to remain at the helm. Once I took a horizontal step just to do something I liked better at the time. It didn’t come with a higher salary, but it is impossible to express the experience you can gain in a different job in terms of money.”

“Regret” is not a word that occurs in Monique’s vocabulary. A choice once made is always the right one, in her view, and there is no sense in looking back. “I’m not afraid to ‘stretch’ and take a wide view. New things can be disappointing, but it’s better to see them as ‘in-between’ choices. I’m very pragmatic in that way. I always manage to work my way to something I do like. That way, it’s impossible to make the wrong choice. Taking steps doesn’t mean the steps have to be huge, after all. Small steps will get you there too.”

The responsibility for your work satisfaction is yours alone."
Monique de Wolf

As far as Monique is concerned, it is essential to have a large network within the bank: “especially in the hybrid era when we are not all coming into the office. Make sure you keep expanding it. Whether that is through your direct colleagues or by cold calling a recruiter and asking a few impertinent questions, just do whatever works for you. And maintain a healthy sense of curiosity and a desire to learn. You have to remain open to new experiences: who knows where they will take you? Don’t let yourself get scared off, just ask yourself, ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’ See your career as a game that you’re always getting better at. Take a gamble from time to time. Like this interview, for example. That’s something I’d like to try doing sometime!”