GENERATION AGELESS

Craig Iley, 52, is managing director of Business Banking at Atom Bank, a Durham-based business he set up to change the whole banking industry for the good. Craig lives in Marton, Middlesbrough.
GENERATION AGELESS

I used to do this…

I worked for a bank, several banks in fact. Life was always focused on achieving what was necessary in order to support a growing family without much thought for what I would really like to do and perhaps what I would eventually like to be remembered for. I was always conscious that I could work for a large multinational organisation for 40 years and in the end no matter how good a job I did – would anyone ever notice that I had ever been there?

Now life is about…

Really enjoying what I do everyday and making a real difference. Making sure that when I or someone looks back on my life I made enough of a positive difference to people to notice, and in the process feed my own soul. I also wanted to create something very personal for my family so I write. My first book “From the Boro to Bilbao” was published in 2016. I have plans for three more.

How I made a change…

As I approached 50 I decided that it was now or never and I had to take the risk. Fortunately my wife was totally supportive so I left Santander and, along with five like-minded individuals, founded Atom Bank.

I found that far from being daunting, the bigger that challenge was, the more energising and exciting it was and the feeling runs to your very core.

Of course it was/is scary, but giving yourself permission to try is like throwing a huge weight off your shoulders. Plus, I was at an age where if it didn’t work out then I could be sanguine enough to chalk it up to to experience and face the consequences.

Family is all about…

Appreciating one another. It’s not the big things, it’s the quiet word of advice given or received, it’s the ability to be totally honest with one another because you know each other better than anyone else, to eat together and to understand that in the end nothing is more important. Their welfare is what gets me up in the morning and it always has been.

As I get older my thoughts often turn to older family members or friends I have loved and lost and some of the things they used to talk about. I often wish I had paid more attention to my grandparents for example who lived through some of the greatest events of the 20th Century.

GENERATION AGELESSI’m lucky I can…

I was born on Good Friday and I have been lucky ever since so to pick one thing I am lucky I can do is difficult but I guess I would say I am lucky that I can write.

When I thought about it, we all live in interesting times and we currently live in the most interesting times of all. The birth of the digital age, the internet, the great financial crisis, Globalisation, Brexit and so on; and in times to come people will be fascinated by what we take for granted so it will be nice to leave something for them, written in my own words.

I’ve got time for…

Exercise. Nothing too strenuous but I like to walk and in our region we are incredibly lucky to have so many coastal and country walks. I am currently re-acquainting myself with a lot of the North York Moors that I haven’t walked since I grew up nearby in the 1970s.

Things are different because…

What makes a glass half full or half empty? The big reason things are different is because I have the changed the lens through which I view my life. I am happier and more content because I choose to be and I focus on what is important to me. I am motivated to do things because I want to, not because I feel I have to and I am not afraid of trying and if it comes to it; failing.

Day in the life of me…

I wake at 5.30am whether the alarm is set or not.  Spend the first half an hour reading the news and checking my inbox and diary. I always try to have breakfast, it’s important and helps me think. The hour or so drive to work allows me to organise my day in my head

After a busy day (they all are) I try to leave the office by 6.30 pm and be home for 8pm. After dinner I go for a walk in the evening for about a mile or so. Off to bed about 10pm to read or listen to the Radio 4 comedy half hour  I am usually asleep by 10.30pm.

The people who are important…

Family, friends and work colleagues. Atom Bank is more like a family in that respect.

Work/life balance…

I have to confess I am still not good at the work life balance thing but I am getting better. One thing I learned form my time living in Spain is that it is better to have a clear demarcation between work and home life. When you are connected 24/7 through emails,   that is difficult to achieve through the week; so I make a conscious decision to switch everything off when I leave the office on Friday evening and apart from a sneaky peak at what the next week will bring on a Sunday evening, I try to make the weekends family time.

I thrive on…

Two things, learning; it always excites me to learn or start something new and, pressure. I love the creative side of things but it’s the pressure of deadlines that forces me to finish them.

What mid life means to me…

Well it certainly doesn’t mean it’s all down hill from here for me, as I hear some of my friends bemoan. It means it’s time to indulge all of those things that I always wanted to do. To look after myself a bit better, to travel, to listen more, to learn and to achieve something I hadn’t previously thought possible. Having the courage, based on experience to know that you have to be true to yourself despite what anyone else may think.

If I am at mid life then it’s certainly the best time of my life so far, which is very encouraging because I am still not sure what I want to be when I grow up.


Craig’s book, From the Boro to Bilbao is published by Remember Media, £12.95. Order a copy from remembermedia.co.uk

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