How banks Treated Employees Way Before This Latest Financial SNAFU

I used to work for one of the lager banking institutions in the country, as a computer help desk analyst for corporate users. First, I have to say that from what I saw in my position at work it is a wonder that the recent financial collapse hadn’t happened years before. Most of the rank and file workers had a pretty good handle on their jobs, and the programs they had to work with, the biggest, brain dead idiots were largely the ones with some sort of a title after their names, like: Assistant Branch Vice President. I had one woman call in to say she was unable to get her computer to boot up, turns out her area was experiencing a blackout! Another said she had an error message on screen that she couldn\’t get rid of. After telling her 3 times to re-boot, and her telling me withing 20 seconds of her turning it back on that the message was still there, I asked, “How are you shutting it down”? Her response was that she was pushing the button on the monitor, not shutting down the actual PC!
My position started every day at 7:00AM and ended at 3:30PM. When I was initally hired I was told that the department manager was a stickler about puncuality, and he expected people to be at their desks working at their start time, not just coming in the door then having to boot up their systems. In the almost 5 years with the bank I was always there at least a half an hour before my scheduled start time, which allowed me to get my system up and running, check for any issues with programs that didn’t respond, and report them to the people that handled them so that hopefully everything would be ready to go by 7:00. It also allowed me a little extra time to walk around the corner to Dunkin Donuts for my morning coffee and donuts.
There were a few people in the department that did seem to be above the rules, strolling in at 7:05-7:10, not just once in a while but probably 3 out of the five days in the work week, the worst offender, a 22 year old kid who was born in Trinidad, and lived maybe a mile away from work as opposed to my almost 20 mile daily commute, yet noting was ever said about it, at least not than any of the rest of us could notice as he just kept on doing the same thing, day after day, week after week.
Anyway, living in the northeast winters can be harsh. In November of 2003 I awoke one particular morning to about 6″ of fresh snow. I had listened to the weather the night before and planned to be up early so I could use the snowblower to clear the driveway before showering and dressing for work. The house I lived in was an older 2 story, 2 family home, and as I was snowblowing the driveway a chunk of snow and ice slid off of the roof and hit me directly on top of the head, almost knocking me out.
I managed to finish the driveway, went inside took my shower, and dressed for work. I did my job all day and finally after work went to the local ER. After some x-rays it was determined that the impact from the ice had herniated 2 discs in my neck. The doctor first reccomended Physical Therapy, then Pain Management. I tried my best to schedule my appointments for after work ,but sometimes it just wasn’t possible and I’d have to use sick or personal time for the appointments. The bank did try to accomidate me and brought in some ergonomic specialist who measuered me for a new office chair, and made some suggestions for re-organizing my workspace.
In about March of 2004, I was forced to go out on disability as I wasn’t getting any better, and the doctor had said that I needed less hours in front of a computer screen, but the bank was unwilling to try to work with me on my schedule for maybe a split shift or something where I wouldn’t be sitting, after breaks and lunch for more than 6 hours.
Thirteen weeks later, as I was driving home from a doctors appointment my cell phone rang. When I answered it I found out it was the assistant manager of my department. He was cordial, asking how I was doing with therapy and such, then he said that he needed me to stop by the office as he had something he needed to go over with me as soon as I could. I replied that since I was already out and about that I’d head right down to the office. When I got there he took me into a conference room and told me that they either need me there, with no more time off for my injury, or I was being let go.
Seems accordint to law, (at least here in New York State), that an employer cannot lay you off if you are out on disability, which lasts for, you guessed it 13 weeks! Gee, what a coincidence! Turned out that within 5 months after my being shoved out the door the bank was sold to Bank Of America, and that during the sale negotiations they laid off other full time workers throughout the bank and replaced them with temps, who they didn’t have to pay benefits to thereby making the bank look better on the bottom line for the prospective buyer, but at the same time screwing over dedicated, hard working employees and their families.
All I can say now, in the aftermath of this latest financial SNAFU, is that I hope that the department manager, who didn’t have the guts to confront me himself has found his butt kicked to the curb, just so that he’ll know what it’s like to give your al and still come out on the short end of the stick.

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This post was submitted by Andy.

One Response to “How banks Treated Employees Way Before This Latest Financial SNAFU”

  • Rob T Says:

    I worked many years in banking, from the rank and file to middle management. I found many in senior management to be morons, pompous blowhards, and total buffoons, along with unethical crooks.
    My father also finished his career in banking and told me of one of his co-workers who stated something like, “I’m no highly intelligent or skilled banker, but I can bull sh** with the best of them, and that will get me farther than anything.” It’s a wonder banks survive at all.

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