My Working Day: Malathi Raja
Malathi Raja works in Barclays’ Personal Banking Operations in Chennai, India. She talks to us about her 5am swim sessions, how she has helped others find work – and competing in international basketball tournaments
My alarm goes off… at five in the morning and I start the day with a swim. I’m really into my fitness and, as a wheelchair user, I find that swimming significantly improves my physical ability. On top of that, it’s a great way to feel energised and ready for the day.
I’ll then take a company cab to the Chennai office around seven, where I’ll have a quick breakfast before getting started on my work.
I work in… Personal Banking Operations, which means I deal with requests from our savings and current account holders. I don’t communicate with our customers directly, but I am responsible for updating systems and sending information to customers based on the requests the bank receives.
Before working at Barclays… I struggled to find employment. I attended over 60 interviews, but employers would never take my application further due to my physical disability.
I knew I couldn’t be the only one that experienced such problems – and I didn’t want to sit around idly while searching for a job – so I started my own consultancy helping physically challenged people find work.
In 2016, a mentor of mine sent my résumé to the team here at Barclays and I was invited for an interview. It must have gone well, because they offered me the job and I was delighted to accept.
The most difficult part of my job… is how busy it gets. The volumes are large, and as a team we’ve got a lot to get through. We all get given our own personal targets, and you need to be organised so you can stay on top of them.
Outside of work… I’m a very active person and particularly enjoy playing basketball. I play for the Tamilnadu wheelchair basketball team, who I’ve represented since 2016. We train twice a week and play both nationally and internationally which means lots of travel – this year we competed in a tournament in Bangkok.
I think there are so many benefits to playing sport, and since joining the side I feel both physically and mentally stronger. I used to see myself as someone who was physically challenged – but now, I consider myself an athlete.
On the weekend, I also spend time teaching children how to paint – it is a great way to unwind after a busy week.
If I wasn’t working for Barclays… I’d be doing something that allowed me to help others. I had my consultancy, and I have previously worked in special needs schools, so it would probably be something along those lines.