I really do my damndest to stay away from work posts. I feel that I have to comment on a recent turn of events that came down over the past couple of weeks. This is one of those situations that really boils my blood. We're talking 'goin postal' rage here.
I'll give you the end resulf first. I am moving from the branch I've been at since I started working at the bank. I have four years of history here, and with that comes some serious customer loyalty and trust. Now, I have to start all over again. Not that it is a bad thing, but it is work I would rather not have to go through again. On the other hand, this is a breath of fresh air. I get the opportunity to recharge my batteries and create new relationships with new customers. I am looking forward to the new opportunity.
The events that allowed this to happen date back almost two years. I was asked by a trusted customer to handle a new account for her and some of her friends. Some parts of her company's paperwork had me confused and I asked for assistance. My branch manager told me the proper chain of events that needed to take place and I again failed to follow through. My BM got pissed at that and wrote me up a verbal warning. Strike One. Strike Two came when I failed, again, to complete a couple of tasks set before me. I was given a written warning on that one. Strike Three happened when I was asked to do a task for a senior lender and dropped the ball. Things might have been different, and I might have saved myself if it weren't for a well placed vacation day to mess everything up. I got back and was blindsided by a 6 month probation.
I do own up to my mistakes, and I tried very hard during this time to clean up my act. By all acocunts I probably should have been fired, but my saving grace was a Personal Banker shortage. You see, I was the only Personal Banker at my location. I went from working with another, shortly before I was married, to working by my lonesome within a month. I was also promised a promotion before my current branch manager came aboard. Hell, I was guaranteed that promotion. Being by myself changed things. I had to manage all my accounts in a timely fashion, and I had to provide services for the lenders in my branch, too. When I first started by myself, there was only one lender. Within six months, that number grew to five. Five senior lenders with personal and commercial account needs to be handled by lil' ol' me.
You can see how this added to my stress load. One PB, five lenders, and no relief in sight. Did I forget to mention all the training I did? Yup! I had to baby-sit all the new Personal Banker trainees in their paper hats that came into the bank. Our branch was the main training branch for some time.
It also didn't help that my boss was a micro manager. The worst sort, too. She was an unrealized micro manager. Whereas my former boss gave me free rein over my duties and daily tasks, this one needed me to keep her up to speed on all aspects of every customer that passed by my desk. I thought it was good at first, then I just denied that it was affecting my job performance. I believed everything was status quo. My BM was very easy to get along with and I enjoyed her presence. She was also easy on the eyes, too, which made matters more difficult. Kinda hard to do a good job when you have a fantasy that involves her, a fur coat, stacks of Benjis and the leather sofa in her office.
Being a micro manager helped get me to another level in my job. It also helped to keep me down. Whenever I did something good, she would also find ten more things I did wrong and make me feel inferior for not picking up on those mistakes, or even worse, repeating the same mistakes. That was how the trouble all started. I made mistakes that rolled into bigger mistakes. I still own up to them and accept full responsibility, but that doesn't mean I have them lorded over me at every turn.
So, August 2005 I was placed on a 6 month probation. The short reason was because I was not doing my job to the best of my ability and I was repeating the same mistakes over and over again. The one thing I didn't do wrong was take this lying down. I made my anger and frustration known to everyone of importance, and I continued to do my job well. I made my phone calls, opened accounts, closed loans, performed all my customer service tasks, and became a top producer of accounts during this time. I asked to be moved to another location where I could get out from under this shadow, get a new perspective on things and start over. Alas, that was not to be. Staffing shortages and seniority were the lame ass excuses thrown at me.
The last time I had it out with the boss lady, I really let her have both barrels. I wasn't kidding when I threatened to walk out and leave her without a PB. I was sick and tired of being the lone whipping boy of the bank branch. I still made mistakes, but they weren't the same caliber of mistake I was making those months ago. The BM was still lording the threat of probation and termination over me as if to say my life at the bank was in her hands. Even after I was nominated as a PB of the Year for being a top producer. Back in February, I was in tears as I threatened to walk. I was furious and upset that she was still hounding on me for small trivial details. She had it fixed in her mind that I was all to blame for my own mistakes and screw-ups. I reiterated my previous concerns that this was not my fault alone. The bank had a bunch to do with it and I told her that I needed help. Not just her help, but another PB. Either that, or move my ass down the road. Within a week there was the promise that help was on the way. As it was, the first relief was temporary, but very welcome. My permanent relief showed up here a month ago and has been very helpful. Finally, someone listened to what I have to say.
This was also near the end of my six month probation period. "So, how about that probation?" I asked the boss. She claimed I have not learned my lesson and needed to be on probation until my lesson was learned. This could be another year in the making according to her. That was unacceptable. I remember reading somewhere that our probation was for 90 days and no more. I called her on this in the beginning, but she shot me down with that statement being outdated. I brought it to her attention again and was threatened again. How can anyone live for six months with the threat of termination being lorded over them for eternity?
I was looking forward to being released from probation to start afresh. To hear that from her, just days before the deadline, was a slap in the face. I couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, and couldn't do any work for two days. Time was up. I was either gonna blow up, blow something up, or just blow out of there. I sat and talked with the HR director for over an hour. Thankfully, the HR department is here in our branch. I confirmed my suspicions that probation was for 90 days, and we easily corrected my files to reflect that. I got all the tension and stress off my chest that had been weighing on my for the last six months, and was able to speak to her about some other options available to me. HR told me not to worry at all. She was visibly disgusted with the BM for even thinking that the threat of termination is a viable tool to use against an employee.
Within a day of that conversation, I was called into the prinical's office. I thought she was gonna ride me for something else and swing that big termination axe again. I wasn't worried. HR told me she would get with the Regional Ops Manager and the Regional Sales Mgr. about this and clarify that now, and in the future, all probations were to be for 90 days only. None of this "until further notice" crap. Boss lady broke the good news I have been waiting to hear for over a year and a half. I am going to another location. Then, almost under her breath, she ever so briefly mentioned that my probation was over and that she was misinformed about the length of my probation. There was no apology, nor did I ask for one. There was no admission of error, nor did I expect one. She only brought it up as an after thought and then dropped it. I could tell that it was eating at her. I somehow got the impression that she was called on the carpet for it, too. I also, somehow, let slip my emotions with a huge shit-eating grin when she said it.
So now, I am gonna work my last day in this office, say my goodbyes to my close customers, and get my things out of my desk. Monday is a new day at a new location. I'm gonna sit down with my new manager and let her know I am starting with a clean slate. I will give her the Personal Banker she deserves, and not the one she just got. I am eager to start and eager to please. I think it will help my chances of promotion and advancement. I also have a few aces up my sleeve, too, that she doesn't know about.