Do you often find yourself sitting at your desk dreaming of life in an exotic country? Or perhaps you're just about to be thrown out of a job in banking and loathe the thought of rushing quickly into a similar position.
If you're a U.S. citizen in good health, the Peace Corps may want you and your financial skills for two years.
Best known for its agricultural and teaching efforts around the globe, the Peace Corps is tapping U.S. bankers to help advise fledgling entrepreneurs and bankers, particularly in the emerging capitalist nations of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
"Bankers have a whole range of skills that can be brought to bear generally," said Mark Gearan, director of the Peace Corps.
To staff its volunteer programs, the Peace Corps is working with banks in the process of downsizing. Early next month, the Peace Corps is taking its recruitment act to Chase Manhattan Corp. in New York, presenting workers who are about to be displaced with a nontraditional answer to the next job. If there is enough response, a second presentation will be made on Nov. 20 at Chase offices on Long Island, N.Y.
Volunteer bankers who sign up will be setting up credit systems and raising the standards of computerization. Some will work with municipal governments, some with small businesses, and others in regional banks and cooperatives.
All volunteers will be teaching, although not in a traditional classroom. Working directly in local enterprises, they will advise and train others.
Steve Lynch, who worked for Citicorp and Bank of New York Co., heard the call. He joined the Peace Corps in 1992 when neither bank would send him abroad.
In Russia, Mr. Lynch assisted a local bank in Nizhni Novgorod, formerly Gorki, and was directly involved in a program run by South Shore Bank, Chicago, helping community banks in the former Soviet bloc access a World Bank credit program.
"There wasn't anyone else there to help them," he said. Many of his clients had the "ingrained habit of not revealing all of their income to tax authorities." So Mr. Lynch had to show people why they needed to report all their earnings to qualify for credit.
Another recent Peace Corps returnee, Maria Flynn, joined for other reasons. An associate at a New York corporate law firm, Ms. Flynn was working on a loan deal late one night. It was about 2 a.m., and she was taking a break with a co-worker. While she was eating some chicken soup from a machine, she said, "Is this worth it? I'm so tired. Maybe I should join the Peace Corp."
Her colleague, a returned Peace Corp volunteer herself, looked at her and said, "You could do worse."
"The next thing I knew, I was on a plane for Hungary," Ms. Flynn said.