Adventures of The Bank Teller – first month
Having survived the first day, I tried to settle in at my new home. On the second day, I spent my time in a side cubicle, doing training on the computer. There was quite an uproar going on behind the teller line – someone had closed the vault doors without removing the vault keys! The tellers had already opened their stations, but they are only equipped with a limited amount of cash; as soon as local businesses came in to set up their tills for the day, there was not enough money there to fulfill the orders for change – the businesses had to simply wait until someone figured out how to get hold of those vault keys. All kinds of solutions had been proffered; the most important point in the beginning was not to let the situation go beyond the doors, to the embarrassment of those involved. Eventually someone apparently managed to fish the keys out through a crack under the vault door. While the words seemed ominous, as a newbie I wasn’t sure if this was a serious matter, especially because the people involved treated it like a joke.
Days three, four and five were spent in training at a facility which was an hour and a half drive away. The training went pretty smoothly. The instructor, during introductions, let us know who was in a nearby town to where we will be working. At the end of the first day, Felicity approached me – could we carpool? She didn’t have a ride home and didn’t want to make her husband drive there and back. So for the next five rides, her husband dropped her off and picked her up at my house; we managed to sneak a glass of wine in before he got there. Weather was snowy and unpleasant, so it was nice to have someone to talk to during the long ride. My sad story of estranged family and having to work to meet bills when I am past retirement age was nothing compared to what Felicity was coping with. Still, she invited me to join her family for Thanksgiving, since I had no one to feed or join.
I began thinking she was casing my apartment to see if I could be swindled. The last day of training, Felicity was brought into an office at the end, and I ended up pacing for 45 minutes waiting for her to emerge. When she did, and we got into the car, she announced that her application for employment was suspended because two nights earlier she had been arrested for fraud. Nothing like Thanksgiving with a felon! I gave her the rest of my bottle of wine and sent her off, trying to absorb the events. When she called later to confirm dinner, I begged out, telling her I was invited by my son to join them. I’d lost her phone number, and that was the last I heard from her. Guess she didn’t beat the charge.
The second week the other teller, who was to be full-time, came in. She only needed to have two days of training. The new lead teller who arrived later that week only had one day of training. First confidence killer. Along with the three of us, a new permanent personal manager came in. After months of substitute and temporary help, the branch was finally manned as fully as the powers to be would allow on a permanent basis For the next two months, we all were carrying over our allotted hours, as things began to iron out.
Meanwhile I got to know my co-workers.
The Spinster is almost thirty years old and still doesn’t have a ‘good man’ in her life. The clock is ticking. She was fired about six months previously from another bank, supposedly for not meeting her sales quota as a personal manager. She claimed to be OCD, but appears to be very disorganized. After decades of computing consultation, I am a bugger about security, whether it be for data or currency, and she constantly alarms me with her sloppy security. She talks to customers as if each is a potential lover, and discusses bank business and personal business (even her sex life) in front of customers and with them. She calls them all by their first name, even though most of them are 10-30 years older than her. She was once obese, and the ascent into a normal figure has left her both insecure and in shock that she is more attractive now. She speaks to men as if they are lucky to know her – but underneath it all she is still that hurt little fat girl. This is the lead teller, folks.
The Diva is a striking woman who is pulling out of an “ill-spent youth”. She is full of ambition but easily cowed by a person with true self-confidence. She is already planning to be a lead teller within a year. Her paranoia makes it well nigh impossible to sweet-talk her. She is not beyond back-stabbing and carrying tales. For some reason she acts superior to me, even though she makes many more mistakes in banking than I do. Yet she reacts as if she is suffering from a sever inferiority complex. Snubs and snide ‘teasing’ comments have made every day working with her totally unpleasant. My usual reaction of avoidance doesn’t work – she will go on the attack. Her germ phobia only increases the persona of a spoiled brat.
The Drama Queen reminds me so much of my sister I took an instant dislike to her, and it takes all my effort to maintain a bemused interest in her tales. She’s overweight, brash, over made up, and chock full of self-importance. All of the professionalism that is required of the tellers is lost in this personal manager. When the branch manager isn’t around, she spends hours in a locked room on the phone, supposedly handling family matters as if no one else in her family is capable of coping without her control. No more friendly calls for help over the ten feet between teller line and platform – she is to be called over the phone, because whatever she is doing is so much more important than assisting the tellers. She has the tellers answer the phones, run errands (even to going to get her lunch), and carry on a variety of secretarial duties. She is far more concerned about spending as little time at the bank as possible than she is about doing the right things and the right way.
Big Momma is the branch manager. She hated being a teller and clawed her way over 15+ years to the manager position. Sadly, this meant kissing the bottoms of the Powers to Be to the point where she is virtually powerless in her position. She makes efforts to manage the personnel, but could really use a management course to refine her skills. And she functions as if she is constantly under the gun, so no one can depend on her to be an advocate for her own reports. But she is quick with praise that is earned, and gentle with criticisms. I have only seen one past employee come back to visit her; I hope to cement relations with some exes I know to see if I can understand why they asked to be transferred.
Lastly is HuggyBear, a sweet family man who loves people like I never could. I have never seen him angry or even annoyed with clients or coworkers in his capacity as investment counselor.
So we are now settling into our routines. I do like being out in public rather than sequestered within my apartment. And since I work in the middle of the day, I still have casual mornings, so I tune into the rest of the world – coffee, computer games, and local news with Silly Lily and the Washrag, punctuated with weather by Perky Patty. After work I take care of my personal business and social life. There are advantages to banker’s hours, and since the pay is lousy, one needs to maintain the attitude of working to live rather than living to work.
© 2015 Bonnie-Jean Rohner