Is This Bank F***ing Kidding Me!?

Do I sound f***ing pissed!? Because I am.

I’m just going to get right into the story while it’s still fresh in my mind and my emotions are still raw. I had to be calmed down by one of my coworkers after this (it’s always nice to have one of those coworkers you can vent with).

F***ing goddamned s***, I am f***ing sick of this place. And somehow, I’m the goddamned villain again. Also, the road to Hell is paved in good intentions, so f*** everybody who isn’t yourself. Let them die. Or eat cake. Or die eating cake, or what-f***ing-ever, f***.

I Don’t Think This Is Appropriate

I was asked to help out another branch a couple weeks ago. Staffing issues, you know the deal.

I go there and the morale is kinda eh. To be fair, retail banking sucks to work at, but when I’m in the break room sitting down for lunch, I see something that shocks me.

Normally, when we get failing customer satisfaction surveys, the employees’ names are blocked out and they’re shown to each employee as a review. Nobody knows who the employee that got the bad survey was.

But at this branch, the manager puts the failed surveys in the lunchroom, right in front of the table, for everyone to see. With the employee’s name still circled, along with other parts of the survey circled with notes saying things like “This is unacceptable” and the like. And mind you, this is right in front of the lunch table so that the offending employee can sit there everyday, eating his or her lunch, and stare at this piece of paper that’s figuratively staring back at them.

What the f***? This is public shaming, and it has no place in the modern workplace. How this is acceptable is beyond me. Bring a supposed bad action to the employee’s attention and correct the behavior, but public shaming is not something that should be done in a f***ing bank or anywhere f***ing else. A new teller doesn’t need to sit down for lunch and have to stare at that for his/her entire lunch hour, and neither should the rest of the branch be privy to that teller’s “embarrassing failure”.

I say “teller” because it was a brand new teller that was most prominently featured on the “Wall of Shame”. He’d been there less than a year. I’d be looking for a new job; none of us are getting paid to be treated like that.

And mind you, the wall was full of this s***.

Is that a hostile work environment? I think it’s bordering that. And the staff there was miserable as f***. I started a conversation with a teller and a representative while we had lunch together, and they had nothing but bad things to say about the manager and assistant manager.

And a senior banker in that branch who loved his job (he loves dealing with people, a sentiment I’ll never truly understand) actually quit due to the manager and assistant manager. I don’t know the full story about what the management was doing there, nor do I have management’s side of the story, but it sounded pretty f***ing bad. Tellers were being shamed in front of their peers, constant reminders of failures were featured prominently in the break room to ensure that your one hour off the clock was as miserable as humanly possible, at least one long term banker who loved the branch and the bank and the customers left so that he’d never have to deal with them again.

Yeah, I’d say this was an HR issue.

So I took action.

Actually, I didn’t. I don’t work at that branch. But I did reach out to the licensed banker there. I know him from our monthly sales meetings.

Our bank has an anonymous hotline where you can report or escalate issues such as this. No, I didn’t go anywhere near the hotline. But I emailed the licensed banker there, told him what I saw (the low morale and everything), and let him know that this hotline existed.

Mind you, this is an internal and anonymous bank hotline. This isn’t a government agency or a labor law firm or anything. It’s all internal, and posters of it are posted in every branch’s break room (usually in a space where people don’t notice them). Information can also be found on the bank’s intranet.

I emailed my counterpart at that branch and told him what I saw. I provided a link to the page on our bank’s internal website that detailed this hotline and how it worked, and told him that he should use it if he felt that there were major problems in his branch that were stemming from the management team. There seemed to be.

I, of course, wasn’t going to contact that hotline. It wasn’t my place. I was only there for a day. Even though it was pretty clear that things were bad over there (that wall of shame is, frankly, f***ing unacceptable and disgusting), I was not going to be the one to initiate any investigation or whatever else. I didn’t want my name to be attached to this.

Hillary Didn’t Take This Much Flak For Her Emails

My boss called me into his office today. He couldn’t believe what I had done, and people are furious.

Before I continue, I should point out that this all happened a few weeks ago. My counterpart whom I emailed reached out to me today for that hotline, and I re-forwarded him the email. He said it was for a different issue that was “hard to explain”, and I didn’t press it. I don’t know what else the management team for that branch did this time around (or if it was even the management that was at issue).

So at the end of the day, my manager called me into his office. Somehow, the email got out and spread around. That manager is furious, my manager is trying to stick up for and defend me but has been put in a tough position, and things are f***ed all over the place.

I’m an instigator. I’m getting involved in things that aren’t my business. What the hell was I thinking!?

I’m in his office mentally trying to process this as he tells me that it’s the manager’s discretion on how things are run at that branch and that some employees respond better to different types of carrots/sticks. Also, my lack of judgment is something that could severely damage my career and my manager is very disappointed in me.

It’s also something–Excuse me one second.

[Photo courtesy of iosphere at freedigitalphotos.net]
[Photo courtesy of iosphere at freedigitalphotos.net]
It’s also something that could get me into trouble. Earlier this year (and no, I didn’t write about it because I didn’t have time. Which means yes, my actual real life experiences are crazier than what’s being chronicled in this blog), I was told by my district manager (yes, this district manager) to never post on this internal suggestions forum again because they didn’t like what I was posting. I was pointing out problems and being very direct about them, but if you don’t want have an unnervingly upbeat attitude all the f***ing time like some sort of synthetic uncanny valley robot and didn’t have a solution to make the bank more able to provide a legendary level of customer service, then apparently they didn’t want to hear you. My comments were far from inappropriate (I actually went out of my way to praise the direction or intent of the bank in each and every one), but because I didn’t offer constructive and upbeat solutions and only pointed out glaring and ridiculously obvious problems in our policies and procedures, I was banned from posting there again.

Fine, fair enough. I understand that the bank doesn’t want an employee embarrassing them on an internal “public” forum (though we are really stretching the definition of the word “embarrassing” well past its breaking point even in a corporate environment. Plus, our bank has financed some pretty controversial publicly reviled public works projects recently and waves of employees were viciously attacking the bank for it on our intranet, yet none of them had any action taken against them).

This was an email to a single fellow employee regarding an anonymous hotline. I didn’t CC anyone on this email. I didn’t escalate the matter towards Human Resources or to any of the managers. I didn’t call a news outlet or anything to get the inside scoop on employee abuse or harassment in the workplace or anything like that. Like I said, this was an email to a coworker about an anonymous–WAIT, WHAT THE F***!!!!!!!!!!!??????

HOW THE F*** DID THEY F***ING KNOW!?

This was an email to one f***ing person about an anonymous hotline!!!!!! How did this email become as widely spread as Donald Trump Jr’s emails about accepting the meeting with that Russian lawyer!?

No, seriously, how in the f*** did that happen!?

I know that I used our company emails to send this message, and that was my stupid mistake. But even still! Those emails are technically monitored, yes, but nobody is actually sitting there and reading each and every email.

This means one of three things:

  1. That email just so happened to be the email that was randomly picked out for surveillance. The odds of that being the case are on par with me being struck by lightning next week today at 11:52:37 AM while standing on top of a green 2014 Nissan Altima in a pink sundress with a Hello Kitty logo on it singing “I’m A Little Teapot” in f***ing Tagolog.
  2. The email monitoring software is programmed to pick out certain keywords and phrases, and the name of our anonymous hotline is one of them.
  3. The licensed banker ratted me out.

Number 1 is just impossible, and Number 3 is just not something that has any reason to happen (why would he do that? We have no bad blood, we aren’t competing with each other, and he has nothing to gain by screwing me over). Which means–Holy s***, is that legal?

That’s f***ing illegal. I understand having email monitoring software that picks out certain words or phrases for further review (I understand that phrases like “Let’s meet at midnight to complete the robbery” or “Here’s ISIS’s account number. Send the wire there” will trigger some sort of warning). But what legitimate reason can the bank have for having the software kick in for any mention of the ANONYMOUS employee hotline?

I can’t think of anything other than to stop us from reporting legitimate issues. Is that legal? That can’t be f***ing legal.

But whatever the case, somehow the email got circulated to a number of people. I don’t know who’s seen it and who hasn’t, other than its one intended recipient, his manager, and my manager. That manager is absolutely furious over the fact that I was “attempting to butt into that branch’s business by trying to get their staff to go to HR” over things of which I had no idea what I was talking about.

I wasn’t instigating a goddamned thing. Disregarding the crap I saw over there, I didn’t instigate anything, I didn’t escalate anything, I didn’t start anything, I didn’t f***ing anything anything. I forwarded a link explaining an anonymous hotline to another employee and left the ball in said employee’s court. I wasn’t reporting anything to anyone.

And what’s crazy is that my manager said I should have reported my concerns directly to either him or that branch’s manager! I don’t f***ing get this s***. I got too involved, so instead I should have done things that would have gotten me more involved. I mean, am I f***ing missing something here!? Have I gone insane!? Has he!? Have you!? What in the ever-flying s*** f*** is going the f*** on here!?

Ec-f***ing-xuse me for a second.

[Photo courtesy of iosphere at freedigitalphotos.net]
[Photo courtesy of iosphere at freedigitalphotos.net]
F***ing desk.

He’s really saying that, what, I should have escalated the issue but not escalated the issue and I think I’ve gone insane all over again.

Also, it would have been more understandable had I been a top performing banker (even though I’m, like, number 25 or whatever out of 150-200 or whatever licensed bankers in the city, but that’s a whole other topic because everything happens to me), according to my manager. So, yay, I f***ing suck at this. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I don’t plan on being here three months from now, so this place can kiss my a**.

Mixed Emotions? Nah, F*** This And F*** Everybody

As I sat there in front of my disappointed manager, being told about how shouldn’t be instigating trouble and was putting my career in jeopardy pulling stunts like this, my mind was trying to process all this. I was having mixed emotions.

Was I in the right? Was I in the wrong? Should I have kept quiet? Should I have voiced my concerns in another way?

No.

I’m not going to beat myself up like that time I was too sick to come into work and was berated for calling out. No, none of that bulls***. I was in the right this time, or at least I wasn’t in the wrong.

What I’d like to know is why the company is monitoring emails for mention of the anonymous hotline. That’s what it seems to be to me. That can’t be legal. And if the email isn’t monitored, then what about the hotline itself? It says it’s anonymous? How did my name–one that did not escalate or report any issues–become the center of all this?

No, this is the case of a manager being embarrassed and the bank not wanting to deal with this. I see very few alternatives.

Right now, I’m f***ing angry as f***. I want to vomit at the very thought of going back to work on Monday and I can’t wait to leave. I have no future at a company like this and frankly I wouldn’t want one there. It’s time to leave and, thankfully, the last peg is in place for me to do that.

But I was told by my coworker who had to console me that I did the right thing and that I shouldn’t let this place change me. F*** that. I’ve seen what happens when you try to help others. In banking, when you try to help anyone–customers, employees, whoever–it always finds a way to come back to you negatively.

I try to give someone a bank-provided avenue in secret to escalate HR issues, all without getting involved myself, and suddenly I’m the pariah in a multi-branch scandal.

Well that’s what happens when you try to help others and do the right thing. Going forward, the branch manager can slap a teller and the district manager can pull a gun on an employee and I ain’t sayin’ a f***ing word. I wouldn’t fill out an Incident Report after a bank robbery. Wouldn’t want to instigate something, would I?

I know I should have stayed off the company email, but I also didn’t think that my counterpart would forward the email to the manager who is the cause of his problems (unlikely) or that the company would be secretly trying to squash any speech about escalating HR issues anonymously (more likely).

No, going forward, I ain’t taking no chances. I look out for me and everyone else can f*** off. This is what happens when you act with your conscience and try to discreetly do the right thing. It all blows up in your face.

Readers–Just f***ing comment or something. I really don’t f***ing care right now.

Comments

  1. Hubbard says

    3. The licensed banker ratted me out.

    That actually seems most likely. It might have even been an accident. He could have just forwarded your e-mail to the wrong person with a comment like, “Can you believe the garbage that branch has to deal with?” Or he could have left his computer unlocked, gone to lunch, and some troublemaker could have seen it while browsing his e-mail.

    More to the point, since the number is anonymous, call it in yourself. As soon as there’s a data that can be e-discovered, companies tend to spring into panic mode. This is corporate anarcho-tyranny in action: anarchy for the rotten managers, but tyranny for good people like you who are trying to do the right thing. It happens when a company realizes there’s a problem and wants to do SOMETHING about it, but instead of doing the hard work of cracking down on the jerks, they bust the decent people because it’s easier.

    I’m sorry you had to deal with it. The bank is a mess. You tried to do the right thing. Stay clear.

    • ARB says

      Hubbard,

      Yeah, you might be right on that. At least on the accident part. My coworker thinks he might have ratted me out on purpose (to brown nose his manager or something) but I’m not sure. As I’ve said, he has nothing to really gain from it.

      At this point, I question how anonymous the anonymous hotline is. Call me paranoid, but look at the situation I’m in now. In the corporate world, you can’t trust anyone. ESPECIALLY the corporation you work for.

      Thanks for commenting, Hubbard!

      Sincerely,
      ARB–Angry Retail Banker

  2. Dan says

    Why didn’t the Licensed Banker at the other location take action prior to your email to him?

    You say your email got spread around. The most likely explanation is the licensed banker spread it around. Intentionally or unintentionally, I don’t know. Another possibility is that he chose not to be anonymous when he reported issue. Management searched his emails to see who complained to him and they found your email.

    Employers have the right to read their employees company email. That is well established. I don’t think you have a leg to stand on regarding invasion of privacy. If you are leaving your job in three months, you could file a whistleblower harassment lawsuit. It seems you have documented enough on this blog to get a settlement. If you are planning to leave, you may as well be paid to leave.

    • ARB says

      Dan,

      Oh, I know that employers monitor the emails. But they have to be using email surveillance filtering software of some sort to do it (I can’t imagine there’s just a team of people somewhere reading every email that goes through the bank). Now my question is whether my counterpart spread the email around or whether that surveillance filtering software pinged my email. The latter opens up a whole slew of unsettling questions, if such is the case. I still haven’t spoken to that banker yet (a little afraid to at this point. Not gonna broach the topic on company email, and a little afraid that a Facebook message or phone call to him will suddenly land me back in my manager’s office being reamed out for “harassing” another employee or something).

      I don’t know why he didn’t take action. Maybe he didn’t know about the hotline (I wasn’t actively aware of it either until I looked). Many employees get “uncomfortably tolerant” or don’t want to “make things worse” by initiating an HR complaint. Many are afraid that their anonymous reporting isn’t so anonymous. After all, no one wants to be these employees: http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/21/investing/wells-fargo-fired-workers-retaliation-fake-accounts/index.html

      I’m not planning a whistleblower lawsuit or anything like that. At least, not unless I get fired tomorrow for showing up 30 seconds late or something. My ideal situation is to get a new job (actively looking, not just hoping and pining), resign with a two weeks notice, and start fresh with a new role in a new company. I don’t feel like having any more drama than what’s on this blog.

      I appreciate the comment.

      Sincerely,
      ARB–Angry Retail Banker

  3. Joe says

    Typical petty, retail banking stuff. Making a big deal of nothing, ignoring actual problems, and making career remarks as if you could never get a rank and file position at another bank because you pointed out to a colleague the anonymous hotline. Wow.

    • ARB says

      Exactly. Of course, now I’m being targeted for every minor mistake I make. Time to get out of there. I have a career change in mind and have been working for months to make it a reality.

      Thanks for stopping by, Joe!

      Sincerely,
      ARB–Angry Retail Banker

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