Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Big Update

It has been almost two years since the Average Joe of the Banking World has posted to this blog, but forgive me, dear hypothetical reader, there's a reason for that. The best way to boil this down is to do a quick recap via a timeline-like format: 

November, 2010: Our best teller accepts an offer from another branch to become their Lead Teller. She is slated to transfer in December. 

December, 2010: Our Lead Teller informs our management team that she is resigning, effective in two weeks. As our best teller, the most logical successor, is already committed to another branch, we are left with no Lead Teller. Our best teller stays far longer than her new branch would have preferred while the management team searches for a replacement. Seeing the writing on the wall in regards to my own position being downsized, I decide I am the most logical candidate for the Lead Teller position. My Manager and District Manager claim simultaneous epiphany on the same conclusion, proving once again that no one can simply say "good idea." 

January, 2011: I take over as Lead Teller for the branch. 

All of 2011: I rock that shit. Our Branch Annual Review score goes up from a barely passing grade to a 95.4. Tellers are responsible for exactly zero points deducted. Under the reign of King (Average) Joe the Benevolent, tellers excel at meeting their incentive goals, moral soars, Blue Point becomes the hub of banking civilization. I am told by my customers that I run an efficient ship,  and that they have complete faith in my leadership. I am told by my teller staff that they like working with me. I am told on several occasions by my fellow Lead Tellers that I am considered a leader among them. I am told by management that I have found my groove. Somewhere in this time period, I inform the manager that the handrail on the staircase is a little jiggly, and that maintenance needs to fix it. 

Late January: Mid February 2012: One of my tellers leaves for his dream job of becoming a NYC Police Officer. Then another leaves for an accounting job. Then another leaves to teach. 

Late February: Having to deal with the stress of finding replacement tellers and operating at a constant short staff is wearing thin. 

February 29, 2012: After a brief discussion with my assistant manager in our basement-level break room, I am heading back up the stairs when the handrail pulls out of the wall and I fall forward onto the stairs, re-injuring my back. I am driven to the hospital after the pain does not go away, and in fact, gets worse. The x-rays show no fractures of any kind, no damage to disks. It is diagnosed as a severe muscle sprain. 

Early March, 2012: I begin collecting Worker's Compensation and begin going to physical therapy. Over the course of my treatment, I try massage, electro-stim, chiropractic, physical therapy, heat, ice, anti-inflammatory drugs, injections, and acupuncture.

March 30, 2012: Somehow, Fiscal United Bank informs the Department of Labor that I have quit my job. This lie would not become apparent until much, much later.

May, 2012: After the required twelve week waiting period, Fiscal United Bank begins searching for my replacement while I continue therapy. I am assured that of the five weeks of vacation time I am due, only one of them will be subsumed by my medical leave.

Late August, 2012: After months of painful treatment, my back muscles are still in a state of near-constant spasm, but my pain levels have decreased to the point where I am cleared to work with medical restrictions in place (limited standing, limited lifting).

September, 2012: I am informed that beginning September 1, 2012, I have sixty days to find a position within the bank or my employment will be terminated. Time sheets are submitted on my behalf, as I am now being paid by the bank once again. I apply to nine different branches.

Mid-September, 2012: My first paycheck since my return is pillaged by Fidelity Investments for repayment of loans against my 401K. I am left with $12. It is revealed that this was done in error, and would be fixed by the next paycheck. I apply to several other positions, having heard back from exactly NONE of the original branches, and learning that our computer system only allows candidates to be considered for one position at a time. I correspond with my regional recruiter, explaining my situation, and she agrees to informally send my resume to other branches that I have applied to.

Late-September, 2012: Despite the fact that I am still in constant pain, and desperate to change my luck, I request to be, and am, cleared to work without restrictions. I grow more and more curious at how someone who has been told repeatedly how valuable they are to the company has been passed up for several positions that have been posted as available.

October 25, 2012: I finally get an interview for one of the positions I applied for, in my old college town of Southampton. The interviewing manager is one of my former co-workers from my very first branch, and the interview goes well.

October 26, 2012: I am informed via email that I am being passed up for the position in Southampton. I am also contacted by the manager of the branch in my hometown of Manorville, requesting an interview that day. Despite the short notice, I of course head over there immediately. The interview goes relatively well, I feel.

October 29, 2012: I am told the Manorville manager has a few more candidates to interview, but that I should hear back from her within a week. Hurricane Sandy hits Long Island.

October 30, 2012: My sixty day window to find a position expires. 

November 1, 2012: As I am still being considered for one last position, I am officially placed on unpaid leave, and advised by HR that I can apply for unemployment while on unpaid leave. I am also informed that the branch is closed because of the hurricane, and it is unknown when it will be re-opening.

November 12, 2012: I contact my recruiter and HR to “check-in” regarding the Manorville position. I am informed that the manager is on vacation, and she won’t be making her decision until next week.

November 29, 2012: I contact my recruiter once again to “check-in.” I am informed via a one-sentence response that she has decided to go with another candidate. No further information, responses or contact have been offered by the recruiter TO THIS DAY.

November 30, 2012: I receive a letter from the department of Labor that my unemployment benefits have been suspended due to the fact that they have they received information that I “may have quit my job with [Fiscal United] Bank on 03/30/2012.” Enraged, I fire off an email to my recruiter, my former manager, and my HR contact informing them of this oversight, and ask that they render whatever assistance is necessary to clear it up as soon as possible. I request clarification about my official status, so I can go about closing my 401K, applying for other jobs, claiming my personal effects from the Blue Point Branch, and receive compensation for the remaining four weeks of vacation time I am owed. I also inquire as to what severance I am due because of my involuntary termination.

December 1, 2012: I am officially terminated. So far, no lawyers I have contacted have called me back.

December 5, 2012: I am informed that I will not be eligible for severance due to the fact that my position was not eliminated, it was “back-filled.”

December 12, 2012: I am informed by Fidelity Investments that I cannot close out my 401K because I am still employed by Fiscal United Bank, and that there is a mandatory 30 day wait period from date of termination for an employee to receive a payout of their 401K. I contact HR to find out about what can be done to correct this additional oversight. I am informed by HR that I do not have any vacation time left, as the medical leave absorbed all but one week of it, and that I had used that week before being injured.

December 13, 2012: I am informed by my HR contact that she has taken steps to expedite the release of my 401K. I am informed by Fidelity Investments employee Michael Itzo that the transaction did not go through because of the mandatory 30-day wait period. My HR contact contacts Joe Chermesino and instructs him to assist in putting the transaction through. I am told by Michael Itzo that the transaction cannot go through on the current business day, so that it will happen the next day, and that he will contact me with the final figures. I am also told to expect the money to be deposited in my account on December 19, 2012.

December 19, 2012: Guess what?

December 20, 2012: I contact Fidelity Investments to inform them that they have failed to put the money in my account. I am told by Philip Thibault that it did not go through because there is a mandatory 30 day wait from day of termination to close my 401K. I contact HR, and they contact Fidelity. I am assured by Philip Thibault that the problem has been resolved, and that they are shipping the check to me next day free of charge, and that I should look for it by courier on Saturday, December 22, 2012.

December 21, 2012: I receive a fucking survey from Fidelity Investments in the email asking how they did. I am too blinded by tears of laughter to answer it that morning. I cancel plans for the following day to wait at home for my check to be delivered so I can then deposit it and do some late evening shopping for Christmas presents.

December 22, 2012: Guess what?

December 23, 2012: Today. I am unable to shop for Christmas presents due to check being conspicuously absent. I now have to cancel plans for tomorrow, Christmas-Fucking-Eve, so I can sit by my door and wait for a package that according to the UPS website, HAS NOT EVEN BEEN PICKED UP YET.

So yeah, you’re up to speed. My time with Fiscal United Bank is over. Which leads me to my next post…

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