Kathy Payola wakes up to the sounds of "Shake It Off" blasting from her phone. Some people might find that annoying, but Kathy loves it—that's why she set it as her 7:00AM alarm. With a day ahead packed full of hard work, some joy, and some heartbreak, she needs the motivation to be willing to get out of bed and not just stay at home cuddling with Mr. Giggles.
Kathy showers and has breakfast, then gets dressed in her normal attire: a comfortable and subdued business pantsuit. A lot of people, especially first-timers, are really anxious talking about finances with a stranger. Kathy dresses comfortably so people will think she's approachable, but also professionally so they'll know she means business. It's a special kind of tightrope walked by anyone trying to sell financial services.
Anyone who's not selling them on late-night infomercials, that is. Usually that's when both comfort and professionalism go out the window.
At 8:15AM, Kathy says goodbye to Mr. Giggles and gets into her car. Living in the suburbs, she doesn't have much of a commute to work. Still, she spends those precious fifteen minutes getting to the office the way she wants—which today means psyching herself up with more T-Swift.
She gets to the bank and heads upstairs to its Loan Counseling Center. After putting all her stuff where it belongs (the tidier the better), she begins going through her dozens of emails. She could let the emails sit there if she wanted to, but the bank wouldn't be happy if it found out it lost a dozen possible loans because she just "didn't feel like it."
At 10:00AM, Kathy has her first appointment of the day. A man wants to borrow $10,000 from the bank to start a new business. He brings in all his financial records and business plans, and they go over each and every little detail. While Kathy would love to say yes here, she knows she could lose her job if she approves something that she's positive won't get paid back.
Unfortunately for this guy, his credit just doesn't work. Kathy thanks him for coming in, but tells him his chicken training organization is just going to have to get financed elsewhere. The guy clucks his sadness at Kathy before grabbing his paperwork and strutting out of the room.
That's the heartbreaking part of the loan business. But, after all, a business that gives away money to people who can't pay it back doesn't stay in business for very long. Kathy begrudgingly reminds herself of this, and prepares to focus on the next applicant.
At 1:00PM, she takes her usual hour-long lunch break. Normally she'd just grab something from the shop next door with Jean, but today she's been saying no a lot so she wants to go see someone she can say yes to. As she opens the door at 1:15PM, Mr. Giggles brushes up against her leg asking for scratches. Kathy knows exactly what she's going to say in reply.
She gets back to the bank at 2:00PM and starts her afternoon appointment block. The rest of her day she spends dealing with clients from all walks of life: rich and poor, black and white, trustworthy mothers and possible pirates. She tells all of them no.
Finally, at 5:30PM, just as she's about to give up hope of ever giving out any money to anyone, a young woman walks in. She's looking to take out a small loan to begin her marketing business. Kathy looks through the financials—they all check out.
She does a credit analysis—everything's great. She even asks tougher-than-usual questions, and the woman's whip-smart answers tell her everything she needs to know. Kathy pulls out a huge rubber stamp and smacks a big fat YES on the application.
Actually, she just spends a few minutes signing documents. But that's how it feels.