Learning Lessons From Horrible People

From Mommy the Banker:

I did an update to this story which was completed at 10:18 pm tonight after receiving tremendous support and questions/feedback/personal stories.

This post has been expanded to include those along with replies in my Leave a Comment section. ❤️🤦🏼‍♀️

I can’t help it – the month of October always reminds me of HER. I started a big promotion in October, her birthday is this month, it is also the last month before a new Fiscal Year…..

Who is “HER?” – you ask?

Ten years ago, I was newly minted in my career (not new to the Bank as I had been a Teller during College), but new in my role as a Financial Advisor. I was 23 years old, beginning my first, real full-time job after graduating from College and I wanted to impress everyone but specifically her.

I began to dress differently, more like her style, (she was very good at putting together work outfits), skip lunch to work, and do errands for her or whatever she wanted/needed/asked. I was young, impressionable and naive, I wanted to be liked.

Without a family of her own to go home to, She spent a lot of her time at work. I was thankful she had taken me under her wing and made me feel like I could actually do well in my new role because she spent so much time coaching and mentoring me. I began to perform at an exceptional level which I do attribute to her, seriously even now. She knew her stuff and was enthusiastically sharing her experience with me so I could be “just like her.”

Of course this was in 2007, before the Financial Crisis of 2008, before stricter rules and regulation came into her life. She didn’t know any other way but her own and so she taught us how to be Bankers, her way.

When you are young and in your early 20’s, you are not always able to recognize the early signs of emotional manipulation from another woman (or man), a person who is supposed to be your manager, a mentor and source of support.

2007/2008: The first year working for her was wonderful, really it was. I was working alongside a guy around my age, in the same position and she pitted us against each other for some healthy competition. There was amazing synergy between our colleagues and I felt so happy working there, like things were finally coming together after graduation.

Along the way, I had been given some warning signs, starting with behaviour such as sharing negative feedback about us with each other. One of my coworkers that she also clung to, would know when I would be reprimanded for something before I would meaning she was talking about me to other colleagues.

Unfortunately, her behaviour started to get even worse once our second year working together rolled around. November 1 is always the start of a new year for Bankers and so, we look forward to that as our fresh start, like the first day of school.

Nothing was good enough for her that year. It was now 2008-2009 and the economic climate had changed drastically. For example, Interest rates had dropped dramatically and people were rightfully pissed off. We had goals to meet after all….”what were we going to do about it?”

A mortgage renewal at 5% in 2008 was now able to be renewed at 3% a year later. We couldn’t just change the rate – banks would lose money if contracts broke like that because once a rate is “booked,” it is made into a package and sold as an investment of mortgage-backed securities.

We had people coming in all the time, angry and confused, asking questions about mortgage penalties and stock market drops. There was only so much one can do but we helped them in earnest. We could only do our best but I actually met some of my long-term clients from those experiences.

I began to gain their trust because I helped them take advantage of the shitty economy. I helped them invest money, (buy low, sell high!), explained how the market works even when it goes down 50% (like it did in 2009) or help them refinance to take advantage of low mortgage rates.

Good enough? No, we were never good enough. Nope….never.

She was smarter and better than us, not just at her own job but ours as well. The honest, hard-work we did wasn’t good enough.

She wanted more from us and would do ANYTHING she wanted to do in order to achieve this.

To compensate, We would work just as long as she would. If she worked from 8 am to 6 pm, so did we. If she didn’t take a lunch, we didn’t either.

Why didn’t we just leave or complain? Well because she could be amazing; thoughtful, endearing, even maternal: she insisted on buying us lunch almost every time, just so we would eat with her on the rare occasion she actually stopped to eat.

Then the “bad times” would appear and then they began to appear ALL the TIME….and it wasn’t just affecting me any more, it was affecting everyone.

  • She chose her victims wisely but no one was off-limits, we were all affected somehow. We were scared to speak up about her; nobody wants to be a tattler.
  • She was “our Manager” and “We were just “fucking idiots” compared to her and knew nothing.” She was: “smarter, worked harder and better” than any of us ever would.
  • Our personal lives were “affecting her ambitions” and “we were bringing down the Branch” because we had “distractions.”
  • Having a baby would “FOR SURE RUIN YOUR CAREER ANGELA!”
  • IF we called in sick, our bank accounts would be checked to ensure we didn’t go anywhere that day. She didn’t give a shit if it was wrong – she wanted to catch us doing something.
  • The people we dated or had relationships with “weren’t good enough” or they were “ugly losers”and it would never work out. Oh and they too “distracted” us from our jobs….what didn’t distract us exactly?
  • Never mind the fact I worked every Saturday because she did or not ending my day until she ended hers. I refused to take a vacation or even two days off because she would just call me every day and stress me out anyway.
  • I would never get the year-end rating of “Excellent” although it was deserved because of something….always something I did that had NO effect on business results or metrics. She just didn’t think I was deserving of that rating.
  • She took pleasure in trying to convince me that my engagement and relationship was horrible, would never work out and they made me lazy.
  • There was no point in making any effort outside of these four walls because it was the best thing I would ever have so don’t try to apply for any other positions.
  • THE EMAILS: “Do not even THINK of leaving tonight if you don’t have this, that and this DONE.” Even if you were supposed to be off at 4….you stayed until SHE was done.
  • If we upset her, she would give us the silent treatment and ostracize us until she felt like it was over. Imagine trying to get work done and you are too scared to talk to your boss?
  • The Worst: – feeling like you are always on the verge of being fucked over because someone is having a “Bad Day.”

I could go on and on about what she did to make my life hell but that’s not the point of my post.

My post is about being Gaslighted into a life filled with paranoia, anxiety and insecurity because of ONE PERSON: My Direct Manager.

She was the one who decided my salary, my year end rating, my LIVELIHOOD.

Sadly, I was not the only person she was doing this to but I did bear the brunt in the most unusual ways.

She knew what she was doing: she would pull me in close, make me feel like I was her favourite, her confidant, all while telling others she thought I was the worst.

Then, all the while telling me she thought that about them, that I was the BEST. That she loved me and couldn’t imagine work without me.

Until of course I did something she didn’t like or made a mistake at work, even if it had no effect on her, she would blow up and I’d bow down to her like an abused puppy, waiting to either be hugged by my owner or smacked on the head again. It was so fucked up.

This didn’t go on for a few months….a year…..two years….

It went on for SIX YEARS…..Six years of back and forth; “you are good but bad, you are smart but stupid, you are my friend but my enemy, you are liked by many but hated by most.”

I couldn’t even function like a normal human being outside of work. I would come home, collapse on the couch, and then do it all over again the next morning. My personal relationships with family, friends and then-boyfriend suffered and my anxiety skyrocketed.

When another division of the Bank wanted to take me for a serious promotion, she flat out told them not to take me.

According to her: I wasn’t ready, smart enough or good enough. She told that Hiring Manager she knew someone “better” and even had that person apply for the job. The job that she knew I was qualified for and wanted so badly.

It didn’t work – I got the job and finally left after 6 long years.

FINAL THOUGHTS & AN UPDATE BY POPULAR DEMAND!

UPDATED AT 8:30 pm:

I am getting some amazing feedback and questions regarding my SIX long years in a toxic work environment so I decided to do a little Q & A so I can address some of your questions:

A: I am not going to nor have I in the past, call her names like “bitch” or something because I actually feel sorry for her. Sometimes, you have to step away from you own hurt and pain inflicted on you by someone else because for them to treat you in that manner, something is JUST NOT RIGHT in their world.

To answer your question, I do believe KARMA is real and I’ve been successful both personally and professionally since then because I worked hard, made personal sacrifices, loved my co-workers and clients.

She is still there….She has spent ten years in the same position, at the same place. I think it is very sad when people can’t fulfill their dreams and I know she had big ones.

REVENGE CAN BE SWEET THOUGH, ESPECIALLY FOR THIS LOVELY LADY!

Now that is a great story! – ME

You would think a big promotion and leaving behind an ungrateful Manager would have healed me but it didn’t. I had some serious PTSD (which I have experienced, in 1991) mainly from working in that environment for so many years.

It took forever before I could relax, stop worrying, get my anxiety under control, even take a vacation and love working again.

I had to convince myself and actually believe I WAS GOOD ENOUGH and worthy of accolades.

The only interaction we had at the Branch with Human Resources was during their once a year “meet & greets” and it was during those times, we would individually report similar occurrences and stories.

Not much was done because it is VERY difficult to punish or fire bullies. It takes several months of complaints, documentation, following up, etc before some one is let go.

Everyone has the right to a fair trial right?

When I finally got a chance to be a leader in a branch, I was given the ability to coach and mentor Junior Sales Representatives. I made damn sure I left a positive impression on these young employees because I never wanted them to feel what I felt: not good enough no matter what I did.

 

Read the Comments Section below for some more Q&A!

It can be hard to recognize the signs of abuse in your workplace but “If it feels wrong, it probably is.”

Learn more about Workplace Abuse and Gas-lighting:

 

MUST READ:

Are You Being Manipulated at the Office?

Gas lighting at Work: When You Think You Are Going Crazy

9 thoughts on “Learning Lessons From Horrible People

  1. Andrea says:

    I have had a horrible boss too. For weeks he would give me no assignments, but I was not allowed to leave earlier. He told me to just to beg to other colleagues if they would be so kind to give some of their work to me (his exact words). Confused as I was, i just did what he said, but they gave me nothing.
    After a few weeks other colleagues would send complaints emails to the manager because I was doing no work.
    Manager was very rough on me and made me finish difficult documents within a day. It were topics I did know quite a lot about, so I knew I written it well. Once it got released, they didn’t put my name on it.
    When I asked why, response was “deal with it”.
    It was a horrible year. I cried every day.
    I only stayed for one year and luckily found a new job, but I became extremely scared and bitter.
    They ruined part of my personality and it will take time to get over that.
    Basically, I wish them the worst.

    Like

    • mommythebanker says:

      Wow what a story! I don’t know what sex is worse; male or female? Most men I’ve worked with have been great. Tell me: other than emotional stress, did you suffer any physical symptoms? If you read my post “Three Little Birds,” I explained how every morning I felt anxious I would throw up. It was actually such a relief to barf lol a lot of that happened between 2008-2013

      Like

      • Andrea says:

        I have hardly ever worked with females, but from others, I understand they can be mean and jealous.
        I prefer men too, but I will say there is a lot “macho” going on which has started to annoy me. Definitely when it comes to salary I became a bit “arrogant” and simply tell managers I will not work for lower salary than I intented to have.

        I read your post and found it very interesting. People deal differently with anxiety. Luckily, unlike you, I have not experienced many physical symptons! Anxiety (except for after watching a horror film) hardly ever keeps me up at night – strangly.
        My no. 1 way of dealing with anxiety is obsesive cleaning and throwing things away which are still perfectly functional.
        I do have restless legs though. Not sure if it’s due to anxiety. I just always had that. Then again, i had anxiety for ad long as I remember 😑

        Liked by 1 person

    • ouroddspring says:

      This took me back to my first career job. The setup in the department was different. My direct boss was an older sweet lady that was able to mentor me in a healthy way. However, I had to work more closely with someone above me and experienced very similar behavior. Thank goodness I got out of it after 3 years but it was a tough few years. The worst part was the guy that was my friendly competitor and confidant left the company two years in and then convinced me join his company a year later….my first week at the new job he was recruited by our nemesis at our old company. He took my old job and made double my pay. And he was given two associates under him to help with the same workload I had left. So not only did he make more than I did, he was given management experience all while doing the same work I did for a year but with a better job title!! I might have to write a post to process this one. It still stings and its been a few years now.

      Like

  2. InkedShrink says:

    Yikes! That sounds like a freaking nightmare. Frankly I’m amazed you made it six years let alone six months. It’s crazy the amount of damage one person can have on our psyche and the impact that can have on the rest of our life. So glad you got out and that it wound up having a positive impact in the end. Is that person still working for your company?!

    Like

    • mommythebanker says:

      Hello InkedShrink – lol yes from 2007-2013, I worked with her alongside another work friend who stayed 6 63/4/ as well. What is even scarier: two other AMAZING, lovely ladies are still working there meaning 10 whole years and I’ve been told not much has changed. Unfortunately you cannot just fire someone for being abusive 😦

      Liked by 1 person

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