a bank called my employer to complain about me, I got my interview date wrong, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. A bank called my employer to complain I was rude

I have been working as a bookkeeper for five months at my current job. There was a problem with a bank statement, so I went to the bank to find out what happened. The bank is a small local bank with hardly anyone ever in it. When I walked in, four tellers all smiled at me and said hi (no customer was in the bank but me). I smiled, said hi and then asked lightheartedly, “Who would like this problem?” Then one teller piped up and said she could help me. I explained my problem, and she said since I wasn’t on the account yet, she couldn’t help. Then I asked if I could call my manager to give permission over the phone. She said no, that she would do it this time. So the problem was fixed, and I told them I was grateful and thank you. I left.

Well, today I got called into a manager meeting saying that the bank called them and complained about my behavior, that I was mean and rude and demanded someone to help me fix the problem, then huffed away after snapping at them when they told me they couldn’t help me since I wasn’t on the account. This did not happen at all. They did help me, and fixed the problem. I am completely dumbfounded at this situation, and really hurt because that kind of behavior is not even close to who I am. I got written up at work, and I feel like a fool. I find it completely unprofessional that a bank would call my employers and make up this story. Is there anything I can do, or anything I should do in this situation? I am completely deflated, and feel liked I got slapped in the face.

Is there any chance that you came off much differently than you realized or intended? It’s a pretty big deal for a bank to call someone’s employer about something like that, which makes me wonder if they could have reasonably misunderstood your tone or actions.

If you’re positive that that’s not the case, I think you could say this to your boss: “I’ve been over and over this in my head, and I just can’t understand what prompted that phone call. When I was in the bank, I was cheerful and polite, I smiled and made small talk, and I was understanding when they said I wasn’t on the account. I feel terrible that anyone there thought I was being rude or snapping at them; I would never do that in a customer service situation, and I’m mortified that anyone thought I did. As best as I can figure out, this must be a misunderstanding — but I wanted to raise it with you because I don’t want you to have the impression that I would do something like that.”

2. I got my interview date wrong

I have been preparing for an interview for what could be my dream job for almost a week. I had the first interview eight weeks ago and beat five external candidates. I was advised that the second interview date would need to be confirmed, and I was contacted every week by the HR explaining they were still interested but due to “restructure/being our busiest time,” they were still waiting for a confirmed date and content for the interview. All this is fine, it’s my dream job as I say, so I was happy to wait.

I confirmed a date for a Tuesday. This was confirmed on the phone. That Monday, I was called and advised I was expected. I quickly found the confirmation email and they were right. We confirmed Tuesday on the phone, but the email confirmation said the interview was for Monday. I explained the misunderstanding and was mortified. It’s rescheduled. But I am so concerned that it looks like I lack attention to detail. I have already written an email apologizing and confirming I will be there on the rescheduled date, but is there anything I can say at the start of the interview that will help my chances? I also do not want to draw too much attention to it. Please note: this is for a managerial position and I am up against an internal candidate, which already puts me on the back foot.

Ooof, that sucks. I would just quickly address it at the start of the interview and then move on: “I want to apologize again for the miscommunication about the interview date. I’d thought we’d confirmed Tuesday when we spoke on the phone, but regardless I’m mortified — I’m neurotic about getting appointment times correct, and I can assure you this isn’t my normal M.O.”

3. Horrible old boss is messaging me incessantly on LinkedIn

My friend and old coworker, “Ethel,” is urging me to email you because I’m dealing with a weird situation. A few years ago, I had a horrible manager who we’ll call Fergus. He frequently talked down to me and Ethel, wasn’t a very helpful manager, and when we finally were moved out from under him, went full psycho calling Ethel the b-word and saying he was going to get us fired for bringing up his shortcomings to our grandboss.

Eventually, Ethel and I reported this to our grandboss and Fergus was let go. HR actually sent out an email to make sure no one let him in the office because we were legitimately scared he would take his firing out on us.

Fast forward to today and Fergus connected with me on LinkedIn and has been incessantly messaging me trying to tell me about “his new ventures.” I politely responded once, more or less saying “That’s great. Nice to hear all is well.” But he keeps on messaging. I haven’t responded since the first message and he just emailed me again saying, “I’m a little confused, would you like to catch up? It would be great if you do but if not just let me know.”

How do I respond? Do I tell him that I have zero interest in seeing him again because he was an absolute monster? Do I keep ignoring him? Help!

Send one vague, bland response shutting it down and then don’t reply again. I’d say something like, “I don’t check LinkedIn much so won’t always see messages here. My schedule is swamped right now so I can’t schedule anything, but I’m glad things are well for you and wish you well in the future.”

Tempting as it would be to tell him that he’s a monster, I wouldn’t open that up with someone who made you scared for your safety previously.

4. My boss is assigning work to my intern without my knowledge

My manager has assigned some tasks to my intern (who I manage) without my knowledge. I only got to know about it when my intern asked me how to perform some of them, as he is not yet well versed on our day-to-day operations at that time.

I’m fine that my intern gets asked to do/help with something for new learnings, but I feel that I should be informed by my manager beforehand so that I have some visibility on priorities set for him. Am I overthinking/overreacting?

Nah, it’s reasonable to want to be aware of what work your intern has been asked to take on. But depending on your office’s set-up, it may or may not be reasonable to ask your boss to loop you in every time. If you’re not always easily accessible and the intern clearly has enough time to take on the work, it might be reasonable for your boss to just assign it to him directly. In other cases, it would be reasonable for to ask your boss to send it through you, so that you’re in the loop on his workload and can help him prioritize and make sure he’s meeting deadlines and getting the oversight and input he needs. In the first situation, though, you can ask the intern to let you know about anything your boss or anyone else adds to his plate — the onus can be on him to loop you in, rather than your boss having to do it.

5. Why would an employer restrict a job posting to internal candidates only?

Can you explain why an organization would list an open position on their job board with the caveat that it is only open to internal candidates? Aren’t they severely limiting their candidate pool by assuming the best candidate already works for them? And if they have someone in mind for the position internally already (the reason I’d guess that they’re limiting the pool), why even post it?

The position listing I’m referencing isn’t high level or one that would require specific organizational knowledge. It is so frustrating to see a position I would be really well suited for, and not even be able to apply.

Sometimes it’s because they need someone who already has institutional knowledge, and an outside candidate won’t have that (and while you note that this job wouldn’t require that, that’s really hard to know with certainty from the outside; there are all kinds of internal nuances that could impact that). Sometimes it’s because they want current employees to be able to advance, and the position makes sense as a promotion opportunity for good employees who are already there. And sometimes it’s because they’re signaling that they already have a particular internal candidate in mind, but their company rules require them to post all positions.

{ 546 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

    OP#3, please redirect Fergus as Alison has recommended. And then completely disengage and don’t respond to him via LinkedIn or any other social media platform. If he made you scared for your physical safety, then keeping some (electronic) distance seems like it would be helpful for minimizing stress/anxiety about his presence in your life.

    Reply
      1. Five after Midnight

        Fergus connected with me on LinkedIn

        Given the history described, it makes me wonder why the OP would connect with Fergus in the first place – connections actually have to be accepted. Having said that, the simplest thing is to say firmly but politely “thanks, but no thanks”; then, after a while, remove the connection. The only reason I suggest waiting to disconnect is that doing so now (so quickly after connecting) could lead to more contact attempts.

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        1. Gadfly

          Far too many people are trained to “be nice”. And many of the rest of us are nosy as fuck. I would have been tempted.

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          1. paul

            Yeah, I might be strongly tempted to not be as nice/professional as Alison was here.

            I’m sure her suggestion is safer, professionally, but damn damn damn the temptation to just tell him that he was horrible and you’d like to avoid working for him ever again would be so strong.

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            1. Kyrielle

              I wouldn’t say that, not because it’s not nice, but because I’d be terrified he’d retaliate professionally or physically.

              But I would have rejected his connection attempt – or just ignored it and let it sit unanswered, but I don’t think LinkedIn tells you when one is denied.

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        2. Ethel's Friend

          I connected with him because I’m too nice and felt guilty leaving his invite in my LinkedIn inbox for a week and a half. Plus I didn’t think he would actually speak to me considering our history – ugh!

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          1. Important Moi

            Yes, you did. Now forgive yourself if you haven’t already and don’t feel guilty. I know what it’s like to be too nice. You are never obligated to be nice to people who are not nice to you , make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, etc.

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          2. Artemesia

            You really need to reflect on why you felt the need to be ‘nice’ to someone you loathe. I restrict my facebook and linked in to people in particular categories in my life. Lots of people I knew professionally as clients will try to connect on facebook; I just let those invitations sit without accepting them. They don’t need me to tell them anything; I don’t need to accept them into my personal space. For linked in, a previous boss or co-workers you dislike, had a bad relationship with etc and don’t want a connection with — just ignore it if you don’t want to dismiss it. I’d give one last bland dismissal like Alison suggested and then wait a month and drop the connection. This guy may have trouble getting people to link with him if he is as bad as you say and thus he may consider your acceptance a lot more encouraging than you intended.

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          3. Falling Diphthong

            Most people are inclined to smooth awkwardness over. (Including, I’m fairly sure, lots of people posting ‘why I would never freeze up like that’ on various letters.) Women are usually strongly socialized to smooth. But you are allowed to stop. Blocking him will bring you some relief, and is truly a pretty minor action.

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        3. Fake old Converse shoes

          Not necessary. You can get messages from people you’re not connected to. OP should block Fergus ASAP.

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          1. Eli

            As someone who was “stalked” on social media by my former employer’s client, I confirm that this is true. Maybe you can mess with it in the settings. I’d just block!

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      2. K.

        Yep. Disconnect. You don’t have to connect with someone just because they ask you to. There’s no benefit to that connection.

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      3. Chaotic Good

        hopefully everyone’s said this but
        BLOCK THIS PERSON ON ALL SOCIAL MEDIA. All of it. Don’t just not respond; BLOCK them. Never respond to anything from them again.

        This person is clearly either dangerous or, yknow… pre-dangerous. Get them out of your life for good and don’t hesitate.

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    1. I just might

      I either would block him or modify Alison’s script to simply “Not scheduling anything, wish you well” without the swamped bit, then block him if he persists beyond that. That implies it’s a lack of time issue to be negotiated again later rather than a never want to see your face again if I can help it issue. Reasonable explanations work for reasonable people, and Fergus has proven himself unreasonable to the OP.

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      1. Consuela Schlepkiss

        I agree. If OP wants to send a message prior to blocking (a message I don’t think is even required here, frankly), this is a good edit. As you note, the “right now” in Alison’s script indicates there may be a better time in the future. There isn’t, so I would leave it out completely.

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      2. The Cosmic Avenger

        Yep, came here to say that when dealing with someone who is obviously fine with ignoring/trampling boundaries, don’t give reasons if you can help it, or you’ll wind up having to justify/argue/defend/explain them, and it becomes a negotiation where they can argue you into a position that you don’t want to be in. Same with conditionals, like “right now”. I made that mistake with a family member who was pushing to impose a burden on me for their benefit, and had to stop responding to them completely, as every communication from them became an attempt to reopen negotiations.

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      3. MissGirl

        Yes, rewrite the script to take out any “maybe”. People without boundaries need a clear cut no. “I will not meet with you.” Offer no reasons or excuses for him to argue with. Then block him.

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      4. Tealeaves

        I would change the script to: “Thanks for asking but I’m not keen to catch up. I’m glad things are well for you and wish you well in the future.”
        I think it’s ok to just be direct about it since he already gave you the opening to clarify.
        I don’t see the need to explain that you’re busy because they tend to say, “ok let’s meet when your schedule isn’t swamped” or something to that effect. It gives a mixed message.

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    2. Cassandra

      Yes, get away from Fergus! My shoulders were up around my ears, thinking about an ex-boss of mine who showed up at my house unannounced. (I pretended not to be home. He went away. The situation did not recur.)

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    3. Lora

      This. I would not reply at all. I’m visualizing a cackling, stringy-haired, drooling demon-man crawling over furniture towards OP. Like Bob in Twin Peaks, or maybe Windom Earle. He is wrong! He can’t ask for your soul, OP!

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    4. Jules the Third

      I think Alison’s script is a little too wishy-washy for this situation. I’d be clearer, still professional, and then block block blockity block block.

      My script would be more like, “Just want to be clear here: I do not want to catch up. I’m not a good professional reference or contact for you, so please don’t contact me anymore. I should not have accepted the Connection request, and I’m going to cut it now.”

      If I felt I had to soften it, I might add. “I hope things work out well for you.”

      You do not owe politeness to mean people.

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      1. Esme Squalor

        While I think your perspective is a reasonable one, scary people can be set off by any sense of being slighted. Since Fergus has caused the letter writer to fear for her physical safety before, it may be a good idea to proceed with caution here while still setting (and sticking to!) firm boundaries.

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      2. Delphine

        Speaking from experience, if a different tone is likely to escalate the situation, it’s not politeness so much as self-protection. Alison’s script might be a little too polite (OP could remove the part about the swamped schedule), but your response might be a little too aggressive. If I didn’t want to use Alison’s response at all, and I didn’t want to open a can of worms by being very forthright, I would just block the guy instead of engaging him.

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    5. JulieBulie

      Yes. A bland, vague acknowledgement before blocking will let him know that you received his message, and the subtext will tell him not to hold his breath for any further communication.

      I’d probably say something like, “Good to hear from you. Glad you’re doing well!” And that would be it. I’d leave out any mention of my schedule or how I don’t check LinkedIn much. As others have said, someone like Fergus will try to leverage any explanations or excuses in order to pester you further.

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    6. EnviroEducator

      I wouldn’t even redirect him again! You already replied once. Every time you say anything, even if it’s short, even if it’s rude, even if it’s polite, even if it says “Please stop contacting me,” internet stalker-y types will see each message as an excuse to send a few more. Just ignore the messages and block him on LinkedIn.

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  2. Mike C.

    #1: So the employer wasn’t even willing to ask you about what happened at the bank; they just took the word of the person calling and that was that? The spiteful devil on my shoulder is saying to call your employer pretending to be a suppier and get them written up for similarly behavior but that’s not a real option.

    Also I can say is that I think it’s really clear that your employer is unwilling to support the the people they employ.

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    1. MK

      Maybe. On the other hand, it’s possible the OP’s general manner is such that the employer didn’t find it hard to believe this. It’s worth taking a long hard look at how you are coming across.

      But I do find it odd that the bank called the employer. Sadly people in customer service positions are used to customers behaving like jerks.

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      1. Willis

        Yeah, I have a good friend who I could totally picture being in this situation. There’s a lot of times that she (admittedly) misjudges how she’s coming across, often in customer service situations. I wonder if the bank was calling in part to confirm that the OP actually is authorized on the company’s account, and also mentioned that she was rude in the encounter? It does seem odd to call just to say that.

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      2. Cambridge Comma

        I also find it strange. After a few months working in a shop, sarcasm or snarkiness would barely even register.

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      3. Mookie

        I’d be interested in hearing the LW respond to this, but I will say I’m strongly giving her the benefit of the doubt here because she sounds conscientious and fair in her assessment of what actually happened, qualities chronically rude people or people often interpreted as such rarely possess*. It’s worth wondering why this feedback was taken as gospel, but there are other possible explanations (the manager at the bank, provided they’re the person who issued the complaint, and the LW’s boss may know each other well and may trust the other’s judgment, for example).

        By the by, I’m sorry this is happening, LW. It’s so disheartening and demoralizing to be accused of doing something objectionable when you’ve gone to great lengths to do the opposite. I hope you’re able to get this cleared up, and I do think you should try to do so at least once more time.

        *there are exceptions, of course, and plenty of people wear different masks (affable to some, horrible to others) depending on the situation

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        1. Kateshellybo19

          To me it sounds as if this might be in a small town. While there are many things to recommend a small town one downside is that people who are local all know one another and will absolutely take a local’s word over that of someone not from there (or someone who is much younger).

          It may simply be a case of “If Miss Millie says you were rude; you need to change your attitude and I don’t care what actually happened.”

          Of course that thought is based off of her calling it a small local bank and wouldn’t apply if it is a larger city.

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          1. Deborah

            Kateshelly, that is exactly what it is. They all know each other. My boss even mentioned something about me being blackballed. I was too distraught to really grasp what she was implying at the time because I was choking back tears. ( I know totally unprofessional, but I couldn’t help it) My character is the one thing that I hold most dear.

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      4. Beatrice

        I saw the branch manager at the bank I worked with follow up with businesses on their employees’ behavior at the bank exactly twice. One was an employee of a payday loan company (neither the employee nor the company were customers), who berated a new teller for hesitating to handle honoring a customer’s personal check the way she wanted (it sounds shady, if you’re not used to the drill and you’ve just had a lot of training on how people will try to scam you).

        Another was a very ill worker from a local gas station who came to us for change, and used the money she was giving us to shield a huge sneeze while she was in line.

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        1. Elizabeth H.

          That seems a little extreme to call someone’s employer about, sneezing on money. It’s really gross but surely that’s happened to lots of other money, just (fortunately or unfortunately) without your knowledge of it. Like, I can imagine saying something to the person in the moment, but it seems petty to call someone’s employer. It doesn’t seem worse than if you saw someone not washing their hands after going to the bathroom.

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          1. Beatrice

            It was a last-straw thing. The gas station was not our customer, but their bank didn’t have as many weekend hours as we did, so they came to us for help with change if they ran out after their bank closed. We had a fee for non-customer change that we hadn’t been bothering to charge them, when they were just coming once in a blue moon when we were dead. They had been coming more often, and at busier times. He called the gas station manager to tell her that we were going to start charging them the fee. He mentioned the sneeze though. We were a teeny branch and he personally handled the transaction and was icked out.

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            1. Elizabeth H.

              Oh yeah in that content it makes perfect sense – it was part of a pattern of taking advantage of you without being extra-courteous to compensate for the inconvenience – I was imagining it as the sole reason for a call!

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      5. MashaKasha

        OP1 is new. Five months is not enough time to develop a reputation so bad that the managers would believe the bank over OP, no questions asked. I am mystified.

        Also, the bank called to say the problem was not fixed, when OP says they’d fixed it for her. I wonder if there’s some kind of a hard evidence of a problem having been fixed, that can be used as proof, not that the bank was lying, but at least that there has been some kind of a massive misunderstanding?

        The whole incident is so baffling, my first reaction was to wonder whether OP has a very common name or the bank had otherwise gotten her mixed up with another customer.

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        1. Hills to Die on

          It’s very strange! If it were me, I’d have a serious talk with the highest-ranking person at the bank I could find. Followed by a new bank and a new job.

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        2. JulieBulie

          That is exactly what I thought – a case of mistaken identity.

          I’d be tempted to go back to the bank and speak to the teller who worked with me before, in hopes of smoothing things over/clearing the air – but even if the teller and I made up and drank coffee together, I’d still be afraid my boss would get another phone call afterwards.

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          1. JulieBulie

            I don’t think that anymore, in light of others’ suggestions that the teller threw OP under the bus. That seems more likely. In which case, I would forget about trying to smooth things over with someone who would do that.

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        3. Perse's Mom

          The LW indicated she was first told they couldn’t help her because she wasn’t on the account but then they DID help her anyway (which feels like it could be a pretty big deal in banking?). I wonder if this is a case of the teller trying to cover her butt on breaking policy so it’s being spun as she was pressured into doing this by Mean OP.

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          1. Hotstreak

            I’ve known a LOT of tellers, and this was my first thought too. They are entry level, there are a hundred mistakes they are told they can be fired or jailed for, and they at times try to explain things away when they’re caught. Not to blast them all since most wouldn’t, and these types of people work in all kinds of occupations.

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            1. Deborah

              I didn’t even think of this being the reason that they may have done this to me! I will mention this to my employers as well.

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        4. always in email jail

          5 months is certainly enough time to develop that reputation (I’m not saying OP has, but it’s reasonable that one could do so that quickly)
          It does seem very odd that they didn’t ask for her version of events before moving forward with writing her up.
          Also, as OP pointed out, they helped her and fixed the problem, she had a successful transaction! It doesn’t make much sense to say that she was in a huff that they couldn’t help her when it sounds like they did

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        5. Duck Season

          Some managers just don’t bother to hear the other side when they get a complaint. I’ve been in that position; a manager dinged me for something someone else said without asking me at all. Both times I had evidence to prove that what the person said was false, and both times the person in question (2 different people at different jobs) had a history of being difficult. Some people are just bad managers.

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        6. Deborah

          I went in there 3 times while employed with my current company. The first time was with my trainer who was on the account. She asked for a copy of the bank statements. They said they wouldn’t be able to have them ready until later that day. My trainer then said that I would have to do close out on my own because she didn’t have time to wait. I mentioned to her that I was worried about doing it on my own, but no problem. The bank told my employers that I complained to them that the bank statement was late, and got snappy with them. I didn’t even speak to them, my trainer did. She can be called as my witness against this accusation. The second time I was in there was to deposit money, nothing out of the ordinary. I was still not on the account, but they didn’t even question. They asked how my manager was doing, and I said well, and that she hasn’t been in because she has been so busy at work. I said thank you and left. I have the receipts of that transaction, so their claim of saying they couldn’t help and that I walked out angry was fabricated. The last time I was there because of a discrepancy between a deposit receipt and the bank statement. They told me they couldn’t help me because I wasn’t on the account. I asked if I could call the manager and have her give permission over the phone, since they know her very well. I was told, no it is okay, we will do it this once. The problem was fixed, and I have the receipts of that transactions, so again their story doesn’t hold true. I thanked them and left. I am wondering if they have video of those days because I had a smile on my face and was very appreciative of them helping me even when I knew they really shouldn’t. T

          The only thing I can think of of why they did this was because I was connected to another business that banks with them, that lodged a complaint because of their lack of professionalism. I was kind of the face of that business to them, and they know our company (a non-profit that I volunteered for) was not happy with them.

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          1. Bea

            OMG that’s horrible, they are clearly running around with their small town petty BS and it’s going to follow you until you work somewhere that doesn’t use that bank. I’m so sorry :(

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          2. Graflex

            I feel like this should have been part of the original story – you have a (bad) history with that bank in the first place (even if you’re the happiest person on earth and the bank if run by Scrooge McDuck.) That’s a lot different then just walking in to the bank for a transaction and having the bank complain about you on your first/only visit.

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      6. a Gen X manager

        MK wrote, “… it’s possible the OP’s general manner is such that the employer didn’t find it hard to believe this. It’s worth taking a long hard look at how you are coming across.”

        I’ve been in this situation as the employer and it could be that this is a very concrete example (a.k.a. third party feedback / documentation) to address what is usually a very squishy, difficult to substantiate performance problem. When you’re struggling to address something that is squishy and you’re handed a bullet proof example it feels like you’ve been handed a huge gift (not that disciplining someone is ever fun – it’s not – EVER.).

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        1. a Gen X manager

          ^ I’m not saying that the employer is right and OP is wrong, but IF MK is right about the employer might already have some concerns and this complaint confirmed those concerns and created a clear opportunity to address and document the concerns.

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          1. Deborah

            No, my employers were very shocked to hear this coming from the bank. They said they have always found me happy, polite, helpful and respectful in all of my dealings. They ended with, but why would the bank lie.

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            1. Julia

              So they just wrote you up? I mean, sure, some people are sweet to higher-ups and horrible to people they consider below them, like a former co-worker of mine, but most people knew this about her and the bosses just ignored it. :/ So I really don’t get why they’re not trusting you here.

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      7. Runner

        Except it’s a small bank that does regular business with the OP’s business. I’m guessing the bank is very familiar/friendly with the owner and already has a very good sense of what kind of behavior he/she would want to know about.

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      8. Bunjeesaysjump

        Or it could be the bank manager is strict and was upset when she found out that the tellers provided account information/assistance to someone who is not on the account. The Tellers could’ve used the excuse of a “rude demanding customer” as the reason for giving out confidential business information.

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      9. Deborah

        I was very cordial. My employers said they were shocked when they heard this because I have always been very kind, helpful, and respectful in their observations of me.

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      10. Dorothy Mantooth

        Late response, but I have worked with someone who truly believes she’s being/acting nice, but is definitely not. When she recounts a situation to me and says she was nice, I have a hard time believing it.

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    2. Gen

      It’s strange that the fact that the problem *was* solved- the opposite of what the bank said – didn’t have an influence on the employers assessment. I wonder if the person who ‘let it go this once’ broke a bank rule by doing so and then tried to cover their butt or something?

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      1. Cambridge Comma

        Yes, that’s something that isn’t subjective. Whatever was done on the account must be recorded in some way, and that would show that, in least one particular, the bank wasn’t telling the truth. If this were a film, they’d watch the CCTV to se the OP’s general demeanour, but I’m not sure that this a thing they would do in real life.

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        1. Anon today...and tomorrow

          Oh…those CCTV things can be used in real life! :) I used to bank at a small, local bank in my hometown. I then got a job at this bank. It wasn’t a good fit and I left the job after a few months. I had my account with this bank for years and decided not to switch over to an employee account- mainly because doing so would have forced me to change all of my bill pay set ups, but also because even that early in the game I wasn’t sure if the job was for me. I left the job and about a week after I left I went to the bank to make a withdrawal. My account was frozen. I asked why. The branch manager said that all former employees had their employee accounts frozen until they could be switched to non-employee accounts. I told her that I never switched my account over and that there shouldn’t have been a freeze and that it would need to be corrected. She said she’d look into it and asked me to go to the main branch where all the employee records were for follow up. The next day I went to the main branch and was greeted by the branch manager and security who informed me that I had threatened the branch manager and that they were closing the account that I’d had with them since high school because their employee had indicated that she didn’t feel safe. They told me that I would be getting a bank check in the mail. They also went on to say that they would go to the police and get a restraining order if I continued to be an abusive former employee. I was SHOCKED! There was no threatening. Confusion and frustration? Yes. Threatening and anger? No. In the end it was my mother who handled things. She worked for a different bank but had an account in my bank. She also told me that they couldn’t hold my money if they were closing my account. She went to the main branch dragging me in with her. She told the them that she wanted to see the CCTV footage as proof of their story because she’d raised me to behave differently than they were describing. They refused. So she said she was closing her all of her accounts and transferring all of her balances to the bank she worked for (who they were losing accounts to left and right!) It would have been a significant financial loss to the bank to lose her business. That CCTV footage was found and yeah…my story was the one that was true, not the branch manager. They apologized but I did close my account immediately and so did my mom. It’s sad, because I loved that bank. They had ATM’s that you could take out as little as $5. I never used their bank again. Oh…and the branch manager was fired less than a year later. My friend worked for the branch I’d worked for and told me that the manager had done what she’d done to me to another person who quit and then to two long standing, large accounts – all three of which had left the bank and gone to the competition!

          Reply
          1. a Gen X manager

            WOW.
            The reality though is that the bank would rather have the account(s) closed and not have to deal with what it (rightly or wrongly) believes is a nuisance account.

            Reply
              1. Artemesia

                We moved our sizable accounts and my husband moved huge business accounts from a bank that added fees to our foreign withdrawals ‘because they could’. They promised to make an exception for us personally because of our account sizes, but I was so disgusted with them, we moved to a small local bank that doesn’t charge those fees and reimburses for any ATM fees we encounter. Big Octopus bank didn’t like losing those accounts either. I am always surprised when people put up with anything from a bank when there are so many competitors. Glad your Mom was able to force a review of the tapes.

                Reply
              1. a Gen X manager

                A nuisance account is generally one that requires tons of servicing, and doesn’t have any loans (loan interest is what pays a bank’s operating costs and pays for the interest paid on deposits). There isn’t a dollar figure range, but rather it is the overall value proposition.

                If you have $200k on deposit, no loans, and you frequently cause problems or take up a lot of staff time and cause frustration, you are a major nuisance account.

                Deposit only accounts just cost banks money (the interest paid on the deposits). The banks need deposits to fund the loans that pay the bills, but there are always deposits available and if you are creating drama or taking a lot of servicing time, we’d rather you move your funds to another institution.

                A customer with a $20k car loan and a $500 checking account is worth a lot more to us than the nuisance $200k deposit account.

                Reply
          2. Cleopatra Jones

            Haha, people can be so stupid and petty sometimes.

            Kudos to your mother for stepping in. A lot of times around here, there’s a sentiment that parents shouldn’t step in to help their kids ever but there are just some situations that an inexperienced kid can.not.handle. on their own.
            I had to do a similar thing for my kid, and I do not regret stepping in. Her safety was at stake, and I’d rather she lost that job than to not have addressed it, and she ended up raped or dead in a parking garage (there was an incident with a security employee who tampered with her car).

            Reply
          3. Falling Diphthong

            Also wow. And this does seem like one viable path for the drastic mismatch in stories–a bank employee screwed up somewhere and this is the shield they’re putting over it.

            My experience of banks looking the other way this once is along the lines “Depositing two checks from Grandma in child’s saving account, one doesn’t have the date, bank supervisor allows as how she’s going to go check something and if the check has a date when she comes back that’s all good.” It’s hard for me to imagine them shrugging off whether or not the person is on the account for a business.

            Reply
      2. Engineer Girl

        I was thinking this too. Perhaps the teller got into trouble for breaking the rules and then called the employer to retaliate. The bank may not even know about it.
        OP, can you arrange to meet with the bank manager? At a minimum, it’s fair to ask what the actual behaviors were. “Mean”, “rude” are subjective labels and not specific behaviors. It’s reasonable to ask for specifics so you won’t do it again. If they can’t list specifics then it’s time to get suspicious.

        Reply
        1. Ginger ale for all

          I agree that you should go to the bank manager to speak about what happened. A phone call to someone ‘s employer about perceived behavior is so far out in left field that I wonder if the bank manager even knows the phone call was made. I have dealt with some rude library patrons at the university library that I work at and it takes a long pattern of documented behavior before we think about contacting people who have power over rogue faculty or university employees. A one time incident provoking a phone call like that, makes me think that there is something odd going on.

          Reply
          1. broadcastlady

            OP has already been written up. I think going and talking to the bank manager could be seen as antagonization. I’d let it go at this point.

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        2. INTP

          Yep, or when the employee got in trouble she tried to save herself by claiming OP was so insistent and threatening that she was afraid not to. It would also explain why the bank management got involved, complaining to a business client is not something they’d take lightly or do just because someone had RBF, but they would if someone was intimidating their employees to the point of threatening their security.

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          1. Julia

            Don’t banks have security cameras? I bet OP’s face, gestures etc. can be seen on tape, and I guess that someone who says rude things usually has the corresponding facial expressions and gestures, and someone who’s friendly looks friendly.

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        3. Deborah

          I was told that if I contact the bank, or any employee of the bank that I would be fired. My employers just want to move on. I had already asked if I could speak with them, because I knew what they were saying was not true. I can’t move on, because I feel like I have been so wronged. I can’t sleep at night, I can’t stop thinking about it. I know that may be silly.

          Reply
          1. Julia

            That sounds fishy. If your employer is giving you zero opportunity to defend yourself, are you sure they’re not framing you for something?

            Anyway, I am really sorry you are going through a hard time. :(

            Reply
          2. Anon for this

            I feel so bad for you because I have been in a similar situation — where I was accused of behaving badly when I am 100% positive I didn’t, and my manager believed it without question and started disciplinary proceedings against me. There was proof that what I was accused of didn’t happen, and I had to beg my union rep to get my manager to look at the evidence. Fortunately, I was vindicated in the end and the disciplinary action was cancelled, but the damage to my reputation was irreparable and I eventually left the company in large part because of that. This is gaslighting and it’s horrible, and I don’t blame you at all for being so shaken up by this, because I know first-hand how incredibly distressing it is. I’m so sorry this is happening to you and I hope things work out for you in the end.

            (In my situation, the “bank manager” called my manager to complain about my behavior, but when the union rep convinced my manager to ask the “tellers,” the “tellers” who were there that day had no idea what she was talking about because they thought I was polite and friendly. The “teller” I was accused of being mean to wasn’t even there the day I “went to the bank” and he testified that he knew me from previous visits but had never had any problems with me.)

            Reply
      3. Karen D

        That’s what I was wondering. I can see that scenario developing pretty easily: Teller says “just this once,” then later boss says “teller, what the heck?” And teller, rather than say she was trying to be nice, crafts a tale about OP1 making such a stink right in the middle of the lobby and freaking out other customers (customers that were, of course, not even there) that she broke the rules in desperation.

        The twist in the matter, of course, is that OP ended up being written up over it. I might modify Alison’s speech a bit in light of that — it’s a great response, but probably would have been somewhat more effective before OP was disciplined. I would probably go with something more direct at this point, and say flat-out, with great sincerity, “I understand why you wrote me up; I would never want an employee behaving that way in public, and I can only assure you, now that I’ve had a chance to gather my thoughts, that I didn’t behave that way. I’ve been over it and over it and that account doesn’t just contradict my memory of it; it conflicts with the actual facts of the situation as we both understand them. The employee did accommodate me. There’s probably tape of our conversation. I’m not trying to get out of the write-up but I would like your OK to go back and see if I can smooth things over and figure out what happened – and if it turns out to be a true misunderstanding, of course I want to take that opportunity to apologize and take responsibility for my own behavior.”

        Reply
        1. Mike C.

          “I understand why you wrote me up” isn’t good because it doesn’t make sense to say. The OP was there, the OP knows it was a normal interaction and thus no writing up should have ever been considered. It’s not sincere in any way to say that.

          Also, the OP should be trying to “get out of being written up” because the OP did nothing wrong. I don’t understand why this language is so passive and accepting of something that didn’t actually happen.

          Reply
          1. INTP

            It’s not saying “I acknowledge the situation happened exactly as I’m accused.” You’re saying “I understand that rudeness to vendors is such a big deal that you would discipline an employee for it on the vendor’s word.” Because if you run into the situation full of righteous indignation that you were written up and treated unfairly you will sound like the kind of person that would be rude to a teller without realizing it.

            Reply
            1. Triplestep

              I agree that you’re not saying “I acknowledge the situation happened exactly as I’m accused”, but I also don’t think you’d want to say “Rudeness to vendors is such a big deal that you would discipline an employee for it on the vendor’s word.” I don’t know that it’s ever justifiable to discipline without vetting out the whole situation.

              Perhaps this: “Based on what the bank told you, I can understand why you wrote me up …. ” and then launch into the rest of Alison’s script. That way there’s no flat out agreement with the disciplinary action, but the OP would be leaving room to discuss what actually happened.

              Reply
      4. Mookie

        I’m not entirely sure whether this is advisable — I hope more experienced members of the commentariat can confirm — but I’d emphasize this specific fact when speaking to your manager, LW. I think Alison’s script is excellent, and can readily be delivered in a curious, concerned tone, demonstrating that you’re taking this feedback seriously and want to help to clear up the obvious confusion. That the bank manager didn’t even know the original problem had been easily resolved suggests a failure of communication on their end (and, as everyone says in this thread, that miscommunication may have been set forth deliberately).

        Reply
        1. NYC Weez

          Likewise, I could see the story being misinterpreted as an unpleasant game of telephone. Teller comments about the “unusual” interaction with the LW, and a manager misinterprets that to mean “unpleasant”. I’ve had managers that were only half listening to me when I discussed work situations, and then would go off complaining to other managers on my behalf…only they had most of the facts completely wrong, so it would make me seem crazy.

          In this situation, bc LW was officially written up for a situation they didn’t perceive any issues with, I would still ask my manager to help me reach out to the bank and try to rectify the mess. If the bank truly was offended by her demeanor, even polite inquiries may be viewed negatively. I’ve worked with people who were the proverbial “Bitch Eating Crackers” and even when I wrote notes for them using language that no one would fault me for, they were heavily criticized for it.

          Reply
          1. Elizabeth H.

            Yes – also sometimes people have really different views of what is annoying and what isn’t. I work adjacent to the student services desk and when someone was especially clueless/ignorant of what they were supposed to be doing/totally forgot about some deadline/didn’t know how to figure out something obvious the student services workers would (after the person left) make all these eye-rolling type remarks about people being foolish, pains in the ass etc. It seemed to me to be out of boredom/just having something to talk about/it being more fun for them to be “catty” (I didn’t think this was a great attitude – it bothered me a lot but never rose to the level where I would say something, which i would feel comfortable doing if it did) whereas it doesn’t bother me AT ALL to deal with people being clueless, oblivious to obvious things, etc. unless they are actively disrespectful. I just don’t care. But other people seem to enjoy the whole eye-rolling bit. I can imagine the kind of person who enjoys exaggerating customers’ cluelessness or entitled-to-special-treatment-ness might blow something like this out of proportion and it could get misinterpreted.

            Reply
      5. Kali

        It really surprises me when the bank clerk said she’d deal with it this time, despite the OP not being on the account. In the UK, that’s a breach of the data protection act, and a *really* big deal – I can’t imagine the US being that different in this regard.

        Reply
        1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego (formerly Floundering Mander)

          Indeed, and that little detail raises questions. I can’t imagine a bank deciding not to follow the rules and let someone who may not be authorized to have financial details about a company have any say in changing things on that account.

          Then again, sometimes I say things flippantly that I think are funny or will be taken as a light-hearted comment, only to find out later that people took them seriously as complaints. So it’s possible the OP isn’t coming across as lightly as she thinks.

          Reply
          1. Falling Diphthong

            It’s also possible the bank employee said something she thought was flippant, or an easy excuse that would smooth things over, and then her manager came back with “I’ve gone to the big boss and we are dealign with this outrage” and she was too cowed to try and grab that locomotive and drag it back.

            Reply
        2. INTP

          It would be a big deal in the US too. Wells Fargo opened an account to my social security number with the wrong name on it (now they’re in a class action suit for unauthorized accounts) and they wouldn’t let me do anything to that account because my name wasn’t on it. And I DID get rude with some tellers about it, hah. (Only out of desperation because I had already tried being nice and not a single teller would even tell me how I could go about getting the account closed, would not even give me a contact at corporate.) They were insistent that only the person whose name was on the account could make changes even when that person clearly didn’t exist and my SSN was on it. So basically, what the teller did was probably a big deal to her employer.

          Reply
          1. Super Secret Squirrel

            In the future, when getting nowhere with customer service, contact the CEO.

            Big companies almost always have a dedicated crack customer service team, with mad clout, checking the CEO’s email.

            How to email a CEO:
            Look up the CEO’s name (John Stumpf) and then look up “[company] email address format” (first.last@wellsfargo.com). So email John.Stumpf@wellsfargo.com.

            What to write: a very calm, measured, BRIEF account of what happened. You can provide additional details in the follow-up. Don’t be hostile or threaten lawsuits or such, but tell the problem and how you would like it resolved.

            Reply
            1. Deborah

              The only thing I would like is a written apology and statement saying the things they are accusing me of never happened. :( Right before the teller told me she will help me this once, I did say that I have the manager on standby if it would help to call her to get the ok, since they know the manager very well. Then she said no, she will help me this once. What is interesting is I heard her manager tell her “Well, she is going to have to wait for a few hours until this is fixed” They were within ear shot, so I told them “No, problem I don’t mind waiting until tomorrow” They didn’t acknowledge my comment, but if they have sound on their cameras, they will hear that I was very grateful, and kind to them.

              Reply
            2. Bleeborp

              I have seen this work even though it sounded crazy to me. Many years ago, someone I knew had a cat that knocked a glass of water on his Apple laptop and he was quoted an obscene sum to fix it and he didn’t have the money. He emailed Steve Jobs and within a day he was told to come back to his Apple store and was given a repair for less than $50. It wasn’t even like he got the run around from customer service, he just thought “hell, it’s worth a shot.” And it was!

              Reply
              1. Bleeborp

                OH and I forgot how it worked for me, on a smaller scale. The now defunct Seeso had a terrible interface and was making it impossible for me to cancel my account. After emailing back and forth with customer service for a week, my subscription still not cancelled. I was very irritated and found email address for higher up in NBC (who owned Seeso) and magically it was all resolved in a day.

                Reply
        3. Student

          I was shocked by that. I’d immediately stop doing business with a bank that did such a thing, and deeply question the judgement of the OP-employee who instigated it. If the employee was young, inexperienced with banking, I’d be inclined to let them off with a warning; a senior employee who ought to know better would get sacked.

          Reply
          1. Deborah

            I was told by my manager to go to the bank and get this taken care of. I told my manager that they may not help me because I am not on the account yet. She just said well just see what they say. I asked her if she could have her phone with her in case I need to call if they need over the phone permission. She said yes. So I went, and then the rest happened.

            Reply
      6. Hey Karma, Over Here

        My theory: the person at the bank who helped LW1 was reprimanded for breaking protocol and giving info to a non account holder. What to do? What to do? Throw LW under the bus. “I had no choice.”

        But this doesn’t explain the conflicting statement about whether LW got the info or not…

        Reply
        1. Perse's Mom

          I suppose, depending on what the requested change was, the teller may have reverted it after the fact to say she didn’t actually break policy? Depending on the system in place, it may or may not be possible to see if X was done and then reverted – it might only show that X is not the current case.

          Reply
            1. SebbyGrrl

              So your manager who sent you to do this is the one agreeing with the bank’s version of the story and reprimanding you?

              If yes, that’s why you feel so bad about this, because it is very wrong and you are taking the blame for your manager’s error, and your manager is fine with that.

              #1, you didn’t do anything wrong – your manager directed you to do what you did.

              Reply
              1. SebbyGrrl

                My keyboard quit before I could finish ;]

                Your manager is either an accounting supervisor or manager? And she sent a non-signatory to the bank in person to deal with private company banking that you were not yet authorized to do?

                This is starting to sound like the manager in the “Bob, the travel expense/’member costs” debacle.

                End result that LW boss/manager wasn’t managing and LW was being penalized for it.

                Is your company so small there is no grandboss or HR?

                Reply
                1. SebbyGrrl

                  Someone made a mistake – not you – and you are being bullied into taking the blame.

                  Can you stay at the job given that? And if nothing changes?

                  If you can afford the fall out, I say start fighting.

                  If not – your constant mantra “I did nothing wrong, I have not and am not failing, the situation I am in is not going to allow truth or my vindication. But I can do it anyway.”

                  You can, but you shouldn’t have to. Those people SUCK!

                  You DO NOT!

                2. Deborah

                  My manager, just manages the shop that I am a bookkeeper for. That small shop has a board, who are the main bosses. No HR :/

              2. Deborah

                Yes, she told me to get it taken care of. My manager is agreeing with the bank, and my employers (the higher ups) who got the information from my manager also agree with the bank.

                Reply
        2. Kat

          This is exactly what I think happened. The teller got caught bending the rules and made it sound like he was bullied into it by the customer. My kids do this all the time.

          Reply
      7. Runner

        Well, it’s still a problem if the OP still isn’t on the account (and, let’s say from the tellers’ view, strong-armed the resolution of the issue regardless).

        Reply
    3. Kate

      If the OP is saying it’s a small bank, which may have been working with her company for a long time, perhaps they have a friendly or close relationship and felt they could reach out to OPs boss about her behaviour.

      I have worked in customer service for a long time, and I do honestly think sometimes people cannot see how unreasonable and rude they’re being – I think the most likely scenario is that OP was being rude and difficult and didn’t realise how she was coming off. OP, use this as a learning experience, either about how you come across, or about the importance of being kind to people.

      Reply
      1. Kitten

        I was going to mention the same. It could be that the Bank Employee who called has an existing relationship with OP’s manager and was calling more as a ‘you might want to have a word with OP as they ruffled a few feathers here last week’ and this is how the Manager has chosen to deal with it.

        Reply
      2. Mike C.

        How can this be a “learning experience” when there are no specifics about what was done wrong in the first place? What is there to learn here?

        Presumably the OP has dealt with various customer service employees before and knows how to treat them, so I find this idea that they’ve somehow been treating everyone rude and that only now someone has said something is really far fetched.

        Reply
        1. MashaKasha

          Yeah, I too do not care much for the recurring theme I am seeing in the comment section on this post of “well maybe OP *thought* she was polite and said please and thank you, but in reality she yelled at them and flipped them off without ever knowing it”. That’s crazymaking.

          Reply
          1. Rusty Shackelford

            And yet it’s not really that hard to believe. I know people who think they are perfectly polite and pleasant and… they are not. I also know people who are very friendly and jokey but if you don’t know them, or don’t get the joke, they’re going to come across as abrasive. I’m not saying this is what the happened to the OP, I’m just saying it’s one of many possibilities. (Personally, I think it’s more likely that the teller got caught doing something she shouldn’t have, and blamed it on the OP being “rude and demanding,” but we’ve got no evidence of that either.)

            Reply
            1. JB (not in Houston)

              This. I have a coworker who thinks she’s very nice, and she is as long as (1) you don’t work for her and (2) you don’t do anything that annoys her. She’s super rude to waiters, to the point that several of us will not go out to lunch with her if we have any choice. But she truly has no idea how she’s coming across. Like a lot of lawyers, she doesn’t seem to have high emotional intelligence.

              Reply
              1. Mike C.

                All the lawyers I know have a very high level of emotional intelligence, are extremely empathetic and are among the most polite people I know.

                Reply
                1. JB (not in Houston)

                  I am a lawyer, so I’m not just talking about lawyers as an easy target. I have worked with and come across many kind, compassionate, empathic lawyers. But having worked in this profession, I can tell you that many do not appear to have high emotional intelligence, and at least one study has found that lawyers (not individually, but collectively) score lower than the general public. That doesn’t mean that they are unkind people–it just means that they may not always recognize their own emotions or those of others. That’s why my coworker can come across so badly–she cannot accurately read the emotional effect that her words and tone are having on the people around her. She also does not read her own emotions–she has blown up at people on numerous occasions for small things, but she thinks she doesn’t lose her temper easily.

                  I’m not besmirching the good name of my profession, I’m simply stating my own experience and what at least one study has found.

                  But agree with me or not, we are derailing. I’m happy to hear that you have had a positive experience with the lawyers you know.

            2. MsChanandlerBong

              Agree with you. Some people are not good judges of their own shortcomings. My mother is a control freak. When we go on vacation together, I go in knowing that I will have fun as long as I am prepared to wake up when she wants to wake up, go where she wants to go, and eat where she wants to eat. When she goes on a trip with someone, she has to have total control of the radio and heat/air conditioning at all times, even if her passenger is sweating to death and begging not to have to listen to one more bluegrass song. Yet when I told her she is overly controlling, she looked at me like I had three heads and did not understand why I could possibly think that.

              Reply
              1. LA

                Are you my long lost sibling? My mom keeps trying to float the idea of a Big Family Vacation, and I keep resisting despite her offers to pay for everything, because I know we’ll all just be stuck doing only what she wants, when she wants (plus, her paying for everything would only give her that much more leverage in her demands). Yet she honestly thinks she’s very flexible and accommodating.

                Reply
            3. Mike C.

              But none of this reaches the level of “I need to call their boss because what they did was incredibly bad behavior”. Even then, it doesn’t explain why the bank though the problem wasn’t solved when it was.

              Reply
              1. Rusty Shackelford

                it doesn’t explain why the bank though the problem wasn’t solved when it was.

                Based on comments downthread, I think we don’t really know that this is what happened.

                Reply
              2. Student

                The employee encouraged a teller to help her break account security to fraudulently access a bank account! That is what this is – bank fraud – because she was not authorized to access the account. It doesn’t matter that she works at the company, or that she “ought” to be on the account. It’s her employer’s responsibility to put her on the account – and for all we know, they may have reasons to not add her yet.

                It’s a major violation of fiduciary duty to let someone take action on a bank account without authorization. I’d have told her employer too, and reverted all her actions on the account immediately. And fired the teller that helped her.

                The teller should never have done it. However, the employee should’ve walked away upon discovering they were not on the account, though, and never allowed/encouraged the teller to break the rules. You don’t muck with bank accounts!

                Reply
                1. chi type

                  What?? All OP did was ask how she could get authorization:
                  “Then I asked if I could call my manager to give permission over the phone. She said no, that she would do it this time.”

                2. Deborah

                  My boss is the one that asked me to go down there, because she didn’t have time. When the teller said no, I asked if I could call my manager for permission. She immediately said no, that she will do it this time. I in no way was trying to commit fraud. Only trying to do what my manager had asked me to do. I even told my manager that they may not help me because I am not on the account yet. She stated well just go down there and see.

            4. NaoNao

              I totally agree. My mother (a genuinely kind person) has a weird, abrasive, annoying “jokey” manner with some customer service personnel that really makes me cringe. If she tried it out on the wrong person and it landed wrong, I could see the person having a “last straw” moment and complaining.
              She would also be baffled by the response and genuinely confused as to where she went wrong.
              She is only able to see things from her point of view and based on her intentions. “But I DO like so and so!” “But I said such and such was great before I tore into it!” “But everyone else loves me!” and so on.

              Reply
          2. Samiratou

            To quote John Scalzi, “the failure mode of clever is a-hole.” so it is possible LW was coming across differently than she believed. Or, heck, that there were some communication style differences at play. Where I live direct is often perceived as rude or angry where it wouldn’t be in other parts of the country/world, much to the frustration of transplants from more direct areas.

            However, I have a hard time believing she was so bad that it prompted the bank to call her boss. As noted above, small banks wouldn’t want to lose business accounts so it seems a bit over the top to call her employer about it.

            Reply
            1. Tuxedo Cat

              I thought there might be something cultural at play. Even within the US, what counts as polite differs from region to region.

              At the same time, I don’t know of a situation where something like what OP #1 describe would happen.

              Reply
              1. Deborah

                It could be cultural, I am in Hawaii. They were Hawaiian and I am white from the mainland. Hawaiians are very nice people, and I love them dearly. I was tired, and it was the end of a busy day, but I absolutely wasn’t rude. The teller even called me later that day to say my receipt was ready for the transaction, and I thanked her again and told her how awesome she was.

                Reply
                1. Another Haole in Hawaii

                  Deborah… as someone who has lived in hawaii 15 years.. this is EXACTLY it!! Small town + you being a haole…. Sorry, they railroaded you! I once had a deli manager at Safeway scream at me, and throw me out of the store, when I pointed out that the price she rang up my cheese for didn’t match the price on the sign. I was so nice, and so respectful… but guess what “this rude haole” got kicked out. All I did was ask if she or her manager could please fix the price, and she went to get her manager and told her that I’d threatened and yelled at the deli clerk… Then they kicked me out of the store. This kind of stuff happens… A LOT…. out here, and sadly there’s not much you can do. Everyone is related and/or knows each other out here, and it sucks! Good luck to you. Aloha!

                2. Deborah

                  I was hoping the Haole thing wasn’t the case :/ But it could have been another reason for the complaint. I have been lucky and found most people so wonderful, but I know there are some that do not like us. :(

                3. Candi

                  It’s a fact of current life, Forrest. Yes, it is racist.

                  People descended from native Hawaiians often hate “interlopers”, especially if they’re white and especially if they’re from outside the islands. It’s yet another case of White Man’s Burden eff-ups screwing things up for everyone’s descendants.

                  I first learned about it through a Not Always Right site story where a group of native race Girl Scouts -8-10 year olds!- were incredibly rude to and deliberately misdirected a white new resident.

                  Google for stories. It’s really bad, and the worst part is, it perpetuates pain in the present and can never fix the past.

            2. Zelda

              Ah- thank you for this quote. It helps explain my friend’s new boyfriend, though evidence continues to mount that he’s actually just an a-hole.

              Reply
          3. Runner

            Well, OP did immediately start with a Who wants this problem? Which might have been said lightly but even in the letter it jumped out at me, as former customer service, as already a person who isn’t going to be pleasant.

            Reply
            1. Deborah

              I did say that, because I had already seen them once that day, and I said it in a jovial manner. That I will admit I should have never said, now realizing that it was taken differently than what I intended. However, I did smile when I said it.t, but I still shouldn’t have said it.

              Reply
        2. Deborah

          What I have learned is to have a voice recorder with me at all times when and if I am allowed to go into this bank again :(. It is sad that I feel like i have to protect myself this way. Anyone who knows me knows that I never want to cause anyone distress or pain. I am a comforter, and do no like icky environments. I always try to make things better. That is why this is so upsetting to me. Knowing that my employers think that I am like this is just a terrible feeling.

          Reply
          1. Julia

            Careful, many states don’t allow recording people without their permission.
            (I totally get it, though. I often left my phone to record because my co-worker said the rudest things to me sometimes.)

            Reply
            1. Deborah

              I can legally record conversations in public areas. I also can legally record if one party knows they are being recorded, which would be me. I looked this up for the state of Hawaii. Plus my intent is a large part of it. My intent would not be malice, or to use in blackmail, but to protect myself against slander.

              Reply
      3. Trout 'Waver

        You’re presuming that the OP did do something wrong, which is unfounded.

        Part of the frustrating part of baseless allegations is that a non-zero percent of people bring their own baggage and wrongly assume that the accused did do something, regardless of there being absolutely no evidence.

        Reply
        1. Falling Diphthong

          “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” Even if you can see the person with a smoke machine standing there desperately fanning smoke.

          Reply
      4. a Gen X manager

        So much YES, Kate. Those relationships are definitely the kind of first name basis and cooperation that it is very likely that it was much less “a bank manager called OP’s employer and filed a complaint” and much more “Alice called Fergus to request a revised authorization for the bank account access and mentioned that OP was rude to the teller (because Alice knows the people at Fergus’ company and there has never been a problem and thought he’d want to know).”

        Reply
        1. a Gen X manager

          ^ “rude to the teller” from Alice’s perspective – I’m not assuming that OP was actually rude. It’s all about perception.

          Reply
      5. Desdemona

        I worked in customer service for a long time, too, and I eventually gave up counting the complaints I got from rage-addicted customers who regarded placing any boundaries on them as attacks that demanded retaliation to save their entire village before we pillaged it, including the woman who came unglued and swore at me for 15 minutes when I called to reschedule her after a no-show, and offered without prompting to waive her no-show fee. Apparently, I should never have imagined the policy could be applied to her, so the act of making the offer was an unforgivable affront.

        Or the guy who wrote a letter to my boss expressing his frustration about receiving a monthly statement on a bill which he still hadn’t paid — his complaint was that the original bill had been stolen from his mailbox, and instead of our system spitting out a statement, I should have known he would have paid the bill if he’d gotten it, so simply reprinted the invoice and adjusted the due date accordingly. The letter was a couple of weeks after the statement, and did not include payment.

        I absolutely believe the OP; some people just look for petty ways to exert power over others, and nothing you do with those people appeases them. OP might have been better off going in with an all business demeanor, and walking away when they refused to help, but how would she have known what she was dealing with? My take would be if the employer doesn’t know what kind of person the bank manager is, there’s a chance they’re alike in this regard. I’d be preparing to bolt. This looks likely to get a lot uglier — how is this even going to work if the OP is supposed to be dealing with bank issues, but if forbidden to go to the bank again? Is she going to be able to do her job? Is the manager going to happily run to the bank to fix it every time they make a mistake, and not take it out on the OP for not being able to handle it herself? She couldn’t even listen to the OP’s side, nor look at the OP’s evidence, before writing her up.

        Reply
      6. kcvinweho

        Agreed. And there were multiple visits, so this wasn’t a call about a one-time bit of pique. I also question the interactions during her previous employment – I suspect they were similarly unpleasant. I’ve seen this scenario many times before. Someone consistently behaves horribly, is finally called out on it, and goes into victim mode claiming they can ‘prove’ their innocence. There’s no awareness of how negatively they come across, just denial and defensiveness. This seems a clear pattern of nastiness, and the bank finally got fed up. They had every right to call the employer since in bank visits OP was representing that employer.

        Reply
        1. Deborah

          My previous employment is as a volunteer with a non-profit. I am still with them, Not to mention, I also own my own customer service based business. I have never had a complaint, and I have 5 star service reviews, not even anything less than 5 stars. I absolutely would never behave horribly to anyone dealing with any of my business endeavors. My point with my employers is that I have tangible proof that the bank is lying about key points of their claims. I really think they are holding a grudge against me making fictitious claims because they either got in trouble for our non-profit business making a complaint to corporate about their lack of professionalism, or like others have stated that maybe the teller got in trouble for helping me, and throwing me under the bus was a way out. If they would even allow my employers to see the video, they will see that their claims are false as well.

          Reply
    4. Purplesaurus

      I wonder if OP’s employer isn’t somewhat responsible for creating the situation. Was OP directed to go to the bank or did she do it on her own? Should she have already been on the account, if at all?

      Reply
      1. kb

        Yeah, I was thinking the LW may be on the receiving end of a game of blame telephone. The bank teller wasn’t supposed to allow LW to make a change and it got flaggd as a security issue. The bank teller realizes they’re in trouble and tells their boss that the LW was super insistent about it/threatened to call LW’s boss (which is a misinterpretation of LW asking if their boss could authorize over the phone). Bank boss realizes this is a big security issue they should get out in front of. Bank boss calls LW’s boss to ask why he sent an angry employee to do his bidding. LW’s boss is embarrassed because he made a mistake (by not putting the LW on the account yet, by sending LW to the bank, etc). LW’s boss blames the “rude” LW instead of accepting whatever role he may have had.
        It seems kind of far-fetched, but I’ve seen similar when I worked retail.

        Reply
          1. SebbyGrrl

            I said it above?below –

            Your boss is an accounting manager who sent a non-signatory to the bank to deal with something the non-signer was not authorized to do.

            Is there anyone above her you can talk to?

            You did as your were directed, by your boss.

            Anything else is fruit of that directive, i.e. the bank staff’s perception is irrelevant because your boss sent you to do it, when you weren’t authorized.

            Reply
            1. Forrest

              “Anything else is fruit of that directive, i.e. the bank staff’s perception is irrelevant because your boss sent you to do it, when you weren’t authorized.”

              No one – if she was – told the OP to be rude. She shouldn’t be sent but any interactions at the bank isn’t the fault of her manager.

              Reply
    5. That Would Be a Good Band Name

      I totally get the employer believing the bank. Banks work hard to develop and maintain relationships with their business customers. However, I’ve been a teller. It would take an insane level of rude to get me to even mention it to the manager. A much more likely scenario is one that’s been mentioned a few times: the teller thought she was going to get in trouble for giving access to someone who shouldn’t have it. So she claimed that she didn’t do anything and that the OP argued with her (have to have a reason why she was in the window for so long) and then left angry when she couldn’t get her problem solved.

      However, there is a simple fix for this. The bank says they fixed nothing, the OP knows they did. Just show your manager what they fixed and that shows that their version of the events isn’t accurate.

      Reply
      1. Deborah

        I did tell my employers this, and they said, well there are definitely holes in their story, but why would they lie? I am going to bring up the fact they might have lied because what she did was illegal.

        Reply
    6. paul

      You’re acting like they don’t interact with OP every day.

      It is entirely possible they’re being unfair, but it’s also possible OP comes across that way; we do not have enough information to tell.

      Reply
      1. Desdemona

        Sure, it’s possible, except the OP has presented evidence that their story doesn’t add up — they said they told her they couldn’t help her, and she unloaded on them, and left unhelped. OP says they said they couldn’t help her, she asked politely if they could get authorization from her boss, and then they helped her. Since the part of their story that she left unhelped wasn’t true, that bolsters the part of OP’s story that she didn’t go ballistic on them. She also says her bosses have said they observe her coming across as polite and helpful and this was a surprise. Since we have no reason to assume she’s lying to us, they probably did say that. If she actually comes across badly, there’s no reason for them to have said she doesn’t. Even if they’d been waiting for something “serious” before bringing their concerns to her, they wouldn’t have said, “Yes, everyone else thinks you’re so sweet, but you’re still never to talk to this supplier again or you’re fired.”

        Reply
    7. Elsewhere

      The bank’s employee gave account information to someone not entitled to it. They did it without verifying anything with the account owner. There is no “just this one time”, it’s a breach of confidentiality. It’s a firable offense.

      I’d be very suspicious that the employee’s manager found out what transpired and the employee distorted the event to make themself the victim. Of course it’s possible that’s not the case, but I worked in branch banks for fifteen years and encountered this scenario more than once – – but never with the calling your employer bit.

      Reply
      1. Deborah

        The manager of the bank was right there helping the teller, help me. I do not know if she knew or not that I was on the account.

        Reply
    8. Deborah

      Aloha, I am the person who the bank called about. So there is a little bit of history. I volunteered for a non-profit over a year ago who also did business with that bank. The board of the non-profit found them to be very unprofessional and made a complaint. I was their treasurer, so I was the one they saw the most. The only thing I can think of is that they got in trouble for their behavior, and lack of professionalism. So now they know I work for another business, so this is there way of getting me back? I told my employers that what they stated was false, and completely fabricated. My employers said they have a great relationship with the bank, and why would they lie? I am really frustrated, and hurt that my character is called into question.

      Reply
    9. Jennifer

      I’m not at all surprised to hear that the employer took the side of the bank, especially if OP 1 works in anything with customer service.

      Been there, have the burn marks.

      Reply
  3. Noel

    As someone who works in customer service, you may have thought you said “Who would like this problem?” lightheartedly, but that likely started you off on the wrong foot in your transaction.

    Reply
    1. Stellaaaaa

      I had a similar thought. In writing, it’s easy to see that OP was just being a little silly, but this is the exact type of goofiness that is very often misconstrued. I (and many others, I’m sure) have learned the hard way to stop trying to be clever when the situation doesn’t call for it.

      Reply
        1. Myrin

          I agree, especially since the phone call was about OP’s being “mean and rude” and how she then “demanded someone to help [her] fix the problem, then huffed away after snapping at them when they told [her] they couldn’t help [her] since [she] wasn’t on the account”. That is a whole story right here – even if her initial comment was taken wrongly, I’d think that if the OP was pleasant and polite afterwards, someone in a customer-facing position would be able to just shrug off the very first sentence’s assumed tone.

          OP, you didn’t say in your letter, but were you ever given the chance to actually explain to your boss what happened? I’d think that especially the fact that you say the problem was solved whereas the bank proclaims it wasn’t would shed some light on this situation.
          And I do have to ask: Was the problem actually resolved? On your company’s side, I mean? Like, was the bank statement this was all about corrected? The teller can tell (ha!) you a lot, having you leave like everything is a-okay, and then later find out that, for example, she doesn’t have the authority to just clear a problem like this.

          Reply
          1. Deborah

            I had to sign a paper that was the written up portion of the meeting. I was blind sided and was choking back tears, so I couldn’t really collect my thoughts. I did mention to them that it was completely untrue because the transaction was completed, and I have proof of it being completed. The bank statement was fixed, and I even got a call from the teller later that day saying my receipt was ready to be picked up. I thanked her and told her she was awesome. I do admit that my light hearted, meant to be jovial comment of who would like this problem (or meant as who wants to take this on) was not the best thing to say. That is the only thing that may be questionable with my actions. Although I did have a smile on my face.

            Reply
        2. MK

          True, but I agree with Stella that being “witty” is generally a bad idea, unless you know your audience. If something can conceivably be taken as an insult, it will be taken as an insult by someone at sometime.

          Reply
          1. Lindsay J

            Ugh, this is definitely something my boyfriend needs to learn. No the TSA agent checking your ID doesn’t want to hear your jokes. The comment you think is witty is something the cashier has heard 5000 times. Just shut up and conduct the transaction normally.

            To be fair, he totally gets it when they give him a blank face and just continue with the transaction and realizes that he wasn’t really funny or that that wasn’t the time and place. But then he goes and does it again in the next situation.

            Reply
            1. Super Secret Squirrel

              I often wish I were more witty, but I’m not funny. Very rarely, I’ll do or say something that makes people laugh, and I basically just close my mouth and go utterly quiet so as not to ruin it (and to gloat in my inner heart). But jokes to strangers, eek, no!

              Reply
        3. Sam

          No, but if it came across poorly, it could’ve set the tone for the rest of the encounter. OP is reminding me of an exchange I had while doing customer service work, where a man opened with a “jokey” quip that immediately raised my hackles and those of my colleague who overheard. This man clearly had no idea how he was coming across, and because of the expectations and nature of customer service, I’m sure he walked away satisfied with the outcome and without any idea how appallingly rude I found him. I’m not saying that this necessarily applies to OP’s situation, but I think it’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility.

          Reply
          1. eplawyer

            this is my thought too. If I were the teller I would not be thrilled at that opening. It sounds way too confrontational. You were there to get help, not pick a fight.

            A better opening would have been: Hi, I’m Cersei from AAA Store, I have some questions about this statement. Who can help me? This way sounds like you are looking for help, not to blame someone.

            Also find out why you are not on the account if you need to be in order to resolve things like this.

            Reply
            1. Trout 'Waver

              An even better opening would be for the customer service person to approach or engage the customer and ask how they can help.

              Reply
              1. Doe-Eyed

                I’ve never been in a bank that the tellers were allowed to leave the counter to approach people? There’s usually a line that feeds into a bank of windows.

                Reply
                1. Perse's Mom

                  But if there are no other customers in the bank and someone comes in, any one of those tellers could open with “how can I help you?” from the counter.

                2. Doe-Eyed

                  They could, but at our bank that would require shouting across the lobby, rather than waiting for the person to approach your window so that you can converse with them at a normal tone.

            2. Stop That Goat

              I don’t think bringing up that you have a problem is rude particularly in a customer service situation. That’s one reason that they are there.

              Reply
              1. Anon-ish today

                That was my read on it too. I always prefer that people tell me in advance if they’re asking me to do something unusual, and it would never occur to me that offering that kind of forewarning, even in a jokey tone, might be rude.

                Indeed, if the OP’s opening words are being reported accurately, it would give people who were, e.g., also working the drive-thru a chance to avoid taking on a time-intensive transaction.

                Reply
                1. Charlotte Collins

                  I agree. I’ve worked in CS (retail & call center). I wouldn’t phrase it that exact way, but I always try to let the person helping me know if I have something that might be more involved than a basic transaction. If there were multiple people available, I’d be inclined to think that this could help them decide who has time to help (someone might be doing drive-thru also or about to go on break or be near the end of a shift).

                  If the OP’s manager didn’t ask her for her side of the story, that’s a bad sign. If she needs to be coached on how she comes off to others, that should have been discussed, but if their experience is that she is a generally pleasant and polite person, then something is up with the bank. And I also wondered if this was a CYA situation for the teller, who may have gotten in trouble for helping her, so made up a story and then undid whatever was fixed. (Possible, depending upon the problem.)

                  The only time I ever had a complaint against me for being impolite to a customer, it was when I told them something they didn’t want to hear (policy that I had no power to change). The only time my manager didn’t just ask for my side of the story then laugh it off because they knew how I interacted with people, it was the third worst manager I ever had in my life. (She was fired from the store I worked at a couple months after I quit.) Oh, and she WAS rude to customers. The staff complained to the DM about it.

            3. Deborah

              I agree that I should never have made that statement to the bank. My first intention is always to make people feel at ease, and it was totally wrong of me to make that attempt in the way that I did. :/ I was not on the account yet because my bosses “Just haven’t gotten around to it yet” is what I have been told from the first month I worked there. It makes it kind of hard because I have to print out checks for services.

              Reply
          2. Lindsay J

            This.

            And a lot of the other descriptions in the story are fairly objective. I don’t see “OMG she cursed me out.”
            I see “she huffed and sighed” and “she snapped”.

            Those are both things that people can do without knowing or entirely intending to do so, and things that someone can believe someone is doing when they’re really not.

            Maybe the interaction started out poorly and then the customer service employee interpreted a normal variation in breathing as a huff or a sigh about the time or something like that as a sigh over the customer service. Maybe they interpreted a “thank you so much for your help” as having a sarcastic, snapping tone when the OP meant in sincerely.

            We’re all human – both the teller and the letter writer included – and I think a misinterpretation/rubbing the wrong way type scenario is a lot more likely than the teller lying about the incident to cover up her own wrongdoing or to purposely get the OP written up at work.

            And also, sometimes when there is an existing relationship between two companies or whatever, the threshold for talking about bad behavior with the employer is a lot different than with the general public. When I worked at an amusement park owned by a larger company, we got employee discounts for eating at the restaurants on property and could also order take-out when it wasn’t something that was offered to the general public. However, if people were rude (hassling the host or bartender about how long the food was taking, not tipping, etc) they got reported to us. We then had a conversation with the employee about it, and if someone was a repeat offender they got written up. When I worked in a mall it was similar – if a regular customer came in and was rude that was one thing. If the employee of another store came in and was rude, it would get reported to their management.

            Also, I noticed in the post and in a lot of the comments that I’m interpreting what the bank told the manager differently than the OP and the other people did. The OP and people in the comments are citing the “they said I was mean and rude when they told me they couldn’t fix the problem” as contradicting what actually happened because the problem was fixed during that interaction.

            However, it sounds to me like, “We can’t help you because you’re not on the account yet” was telling her that they couldn’t fix the problem. And then they perceived that she was being rude while she just thought she was offering a potential solution by offering to have her manager authorize over the phone (and we don’t know how the discussion before and during that offer actually went) and then so the teller felt like they had to go above-and-beyond/around proper protocol to fix the problem so the OP didn’t leave angry and potentially complain to their or her boss about the teller being rude and unhelpful and potentially damage the relationship between the bank and OPs employer. So they both told her they couldn’t help her, and then did fix the problem in the end.

            Reply
        4. Runner

          I honestly never once had a customer use that line. And it does come off even in print as passive aggressive, which is fine. Until the customer then of course wants changes without being authorized and basically demands that management be called to give authorization over the phone.

          Reply
          1. Deborah

            I didn’t demand to call my manager. When the teller told me that she couldn’t help me, I said I could call the manager (who the tellers knew very well) and that she is on standby just in case , and she said no, she would help me this once. During the transaction they even asked me how she was doing, because they hadn’t seen her in awhile. I stated that she is very busy and that is why I am here, and smiled and laughed.

            Reply
        5. Jennifer

          It depends on how sensitive your audience is. I’ve gotten complaints about what I thought were slight jokes and obviously not meant to harm or insult anyone.

          I really just shouldn’t make jokes at work at all, really.

          Reply
      1. LadyL

        Yes. In my real life I love quick, sharp, biting humor, I love sarcasm, I love repartee. At customer service jobs though? Keep it bland with me. You literally hold my job in your hands, and if I don’t dance to your tune I could get in deep trouble. I can’t assume anything you say is a joke, and so I take everything really literally and seriously. It’s self-preservation.

        Reply
        1. Alice

          I wish someone would give this advice about keeping in bland to every man in a customer service role who has told me, “cheer up love, maybe it’ll never happen” and so forth.

          Reply
    2. bridget

      Maybe, but I can’t imagine a situation in which I would think a good way to deal with a snippy customer is to call their employer! Why? Why not call their overbearing aunt or gynecologist while you’re at it?

      I’m not saying it’s not ALLOWED, just that it’s so far out of the norm that it seems most likely that the bank person who called is kind of bizarre, rather than the OP. Either a customer is so difficult or rude you call security and ask them not to return, or you shrug it off and chalk it up to dealing with the public and your problems.

      Reply
      1. Stellaaaaa

        They called her employer because OP was at the bank on company business. I’m not opposed to alerting an employer to employee issues that reflect poorly on the company. The problem here is that OP might not have done anything wrong but she’s not sure.

        Reply
        1. Mike C.

          But someone trying to make a clearly harmless joke isn’t worthy of calling an employer over. Like holy cow, I’ve heard a million corny jokes from reps and never once did I think “oh man, their boss needs to nip this in the bud!”

          Reply
          1. book 'em

            I used to work at a bookstore in a mall. I wish I could have called all the employers of mall employees who would come over to our store and made dumb jokes, let alone the ones that were mildly rude. At some point in customer service, you just suck some of that stuff up and let it roll off your back.

            “Did you just use the ‘must be free’ line on me because this book wouldn’t scan? That does it! I’m calling Williams Sonoma and telling them how rude you are!”

            Reply
            1. Super Secret Squirrel

              People use dumb jokes because they are acknowledging your humanity, but don’t know anything about you. It’s not to annoy you, it’s actually pretty much the opposite.

              Reply
              1. Ex-Academic, Future Accountant

                It’s funny how people do completely opposite things from the same impulse. I always try to take up as little of people’s time and emotional energy as possible in these sorts of scenarios, and in my mind *that* is a way of acknowledging their humanity.

                Reply
      2. McWhadden

        They probably called the employer to verify she worked there (as the underlying problem was she wasn’t authorized to do that business) and brought it up.

        If they’ve been doing business for a long time the bank manager and the boss probably have some familiarity with each other.

        Reply
        1. Amey

          This seems likely to me – they’d need to call to work out how big a mistake the teller had made. I’m definitely with the people who think she’s exaggerated her encounter with the OP because she knows she messed up.

          Reply
      3. Student

        The OP committed bank fraud on her company’s account by accessing it while she was not authorized to do so.

        Of course they called the employer about it.

        If she committed bank fraud on her overbearing aunt’s account, they’d be obligated to call the overbearing aunt, too.

        Y’all are extremely cavalier about the whole “I accessed a bank account I have no legitimate access to”. Think of how you’d react if somebody did this to you, or your company’s account. Do you not get that this is a serious breach? I am baffled why AAM doesn’t address this. The OP should’ve gone back to work and gotten the account authorization straightened out, not keep trying to access the account she has no authorization on. She’s lucky she didn’t get fired.

        Reply
        1. a1

          This is on the BANK employee, though. Not the person that does NOT work at a bank. Most people outside of banking don’t know all these laws and regulations. They think, “well I work at X, and responsible for this account, let me go fix it.” I’ve worked in banking for almost 20 years now. I would never expect someone else to know this. Once told, the OP offered to call her manager, who does have authorization, and instead of saying why that wouldn’t work either the BANK employee said “OK, I’ll do this for you this one time”.

          Reply
        2. Ex-Academic, Future Accountant

          It’s not clear whether the OP went of her own accord, or was given this task by someone else. If she was sent, then it probably came as a surprise to her when they told her she didn’t have authorization (hence the suggestion to call her manager?). If the whole thing was her idea, then I agree with you. But it’s not specified in the letter; there are details that point in each direction, so it’s hard to say for sure.

          Reply
        3. Deborah

          My boss is the one that asked me to go to the bank, because she was too busy to go. I told her the bank may not help me because I am not on the account yet, but my boss insisted I go. I then asked her if she could keep her phone on her in case they needed authorization. She said okay.

          Reply
    3. Sheworkshardforthemoney

      Year ago at a restaurant with a friend and we were seated in a dark booth at the back. When the server arrived I said.”Wow, I’m surprised you saw us.” Her face dropped and I apologized profusely because she took my light attempt at humour as a criticism. So it’s very easy to have your words misinterpreted.

      Reply
      1. Kali

        I was on a date like that once. I noticed I’d been talking a lot and went “sorry, I’ll let you speak now!” and he took it as a criticism of him. He brought up his ex, I said something like “I bet you wish you hadn’t said that” and he was offended because why shouldn’t he talk about his ex on a first date? Complete communication breakdown.:/ He went to the bathroom after half an hour and didn’t come back, which I felt bad about for a bit, and then realised that, firstly, this was never going to work out unless one of us became a different person, and, secondly, I didn’t have to buy a round of drinks now.

        Reply
        1. Lissa

          Yeah, some people just really don’t click conversionally/humour wise. I had a coworker like this. In this case it felt very mutual – we were always slightly rubbing the other one wrong and were kind of…WTF…at the other one’s humour.

          Reply
        2. NorthernSoutherner

          Never going to work, you’re absolutely right. It’s bad enough realizing that you and someone else aren’t on the same humor wavelength; even worse when it’s a date or SO.

          Reply
      2. Grits McGee

        Yeah, my mother, who is a very nice person overall, just has a knack for saying exactly the wrong thing to customer service employees, literally statements that would be innocuous to another human being other than the one in front of her. One time we were eating at a seafood place in New Orleans and she facetiously asked why she couldn’t get a baked item on a fried seafood platter. The server, the chef, and the manager all came to our table to have very serious conversations about why the fried platter only had fried items. Sometimes you just accidentally hit an interpersonal landmine, and you have no idea you’ve stepped on it until it blows up in your face.

        Reply
    4. Nacho

      Also a customer service rep here, and that kind of snarky attitude sounds a lot cuter to you than it does to us. It sets a tone that I should fix your problem, rather than us working together to find a solution, or you taking any personal responsibility for something that was more than likely as much your fault as ours.

      Reply
      1. Mookie

        The error sounds like it could have been on bank’s end. Of course, it’s lovely when people working as clients/patrons for one another can collaborate, but sometimes the problem is simple, can only be solved one way, and pretending otherwise takes up too much time. The LW identified the problem; it sounds like any discord or delay that happened during her visit was not because the bank staff needed the LW to come up with her own solution, but that weren’t sure she had the authority to request that a solution it be implemented in the first place. She offered to help them clarify that authority and they declined, for their own, unnamed reasons.

        I agree with you. Customer service representatives — in person, on-line, or over the phone, but especially over the phone — eat way too much shit. It’s not clear, however, what these specific tellers were being served for dinner.

        Reply
        1. Lindsay J

          I’m guessing that the reason they declined might have been that over the phone they had no way to know whether the person they were speaking to was an authorized person on the account or another scammer.

          When I worked in a hotel, we weren’t able to take phone authorizations for people to use their credit card for that reason – it’s pretty easy to call any random person up and get them to say “Yes, I’m John Smith and yes this person has permission to charge 8 nights at your hotel on my credit card”. But it’s also hard to point that out to people without it sounding like you are directly accusing them of being a scammer. The nuance between “We have this rule in place to prevent credit card fraud, and even though you’re probably not a fraudster we can’t possibly know that for sure so no we can’t just take your word for it and waive our policy just this one time” and “I am currently accusing you of committing credit card fraud and thus being a criminal” is difficult to get, especially when people are frustrated and upset with you to begin with.

          I can see just turning down the offer rather than trying to explain that (though I can’t see just turning around and breaking policy instead).

          Reply
      2. sunshyne84

        Exactly! I definitely wouldn’t have offered to help if you walked in and said that. When it comes to jokes you’ve heard ’em all so they’re not funny anymore. Just act normal and you won’t have to worry about coming across as an a-hole.

        Reply
          1. Noel

            I don’t get annoyed. I just find it interesting. It’s like I’m on a safari: “Here’s customerus obnoxious in its natural habit. Look how clueless it is to how it comes across.”

            Reply
          2. CorruptedbyCoffee

            If you’ve ever met someone who’s worked a customer service job for 15+ years, they are the most cynical, burned out, brusque people I know. And I don’t blame them. Even people who are hard to annoy get burnt out after years of dealing with bad behavior. It’s human nature.

            Reply
        1. NorthernSoutherner

          Whose definition of ‘normal’ are we talking about? Some people’s version of normal is an awkward attempt at humor when they know they’re coming in with a problem. Does intent not count for anything here? Or is every customer a potential target for your contempt?

          Reply
          1. Deborah

            Thank you for defending my awkward, and failed attempt at humor, when I had every bank teller staring at me, the minute I entered the bank, since it was completely empty. As a bookkeeper we are not exactly known for being social butterflies. :) Although, I have learned to guard what I say carefully now, no matter if I think it is jovial or not.

            Reply
      3. Alice

        When I call customer service I do expect them to fix my problem. I’m going out of town for a week and I want to pause the newspaper delivery – that’s not really a case for collaborative problem-solving or personal responsibility. It’s a case for “please pause delivery until x/x/2017” “sure” “thank you.”

        Reply
        1. Liz

          I work in customer service and there is no way I would consider that opening line rude unless it were delivered with a visible snarl AND followed up by shouting. The bank teller did not follow policy and when got caught, threw the OP under the bus.

          Reply
          1. No, please

            I agree. I had clients use this type of opening line all the time in my last profession. They did have a problem. It was my job to advise and fix their problem. Even if they were upset I could understand why and brush off any weird comments. After I fixed the problem they were happier.

            Reply
        1. Noel

          You can’t imagine dealing with something in a way other than how you deal with it? That’s a little odd. Many people who work in customer service have said they’d be put off if a customer started a transaction with “Who wants this problem?”

          Reply
          1. No, please

            A huge part of customer service is having empathy for the customer. If they have a problem then you have a job to do. As long as the customer isn’t yelling and cursing at you there’s no reason to take it personally. I believe this LW when she says she was polite and asked if calling her boss for verification would be appropriate. I truly don’t understand the negativity directed towards this LW. I especially don’t understand the attitude of being put-off by this question from a customer. She has a problem and needs to know who has time to help her.

            Reply
            1. Noel

              Empathy isn’t the same as sympathy. I can empathise immediately with the customer, even if I don’t agree.

              I disagree with your assertion that I should put up with everything short of screaming and swearing. I’m a cashier. It’s what a do. I assume that a customer wants to buy or return something. If a customer walked into the store and said,”Who wants to deal with my transaction?” I’d find it weird.

              Reply
    5. Allison

      I was thinking that wasn’t the best thing to say, but I’m not sure how that would warrant a phone call. Unless people were talking about it later and a concerned manager or fellow banker overheard.

      Reply
    6. KaraLynn

      Yes, of course this is the cause of this entire letter. Take away this introduction and the call would never have happened. She set the wrong tone right off the bat.

      Reply
    7. That Would Be a Good Band Name

      Eh, I guess it would depend on tone, but that wouldn’t even register with me. I heard it a dozen times a week working in customer service.

      Reply
    8. a Gen X manager

      TOTALLY agree. It’s a throw away comment that ordinarily wouldn’t cause a problem (still not the best way to start an interaction of any kind though), but it was in fact followed by actual problems. It’s not a big deal, but as Noel wrote, may have started off the interaction in a negative way, instead of a collaborative way (“I need your help” goes a long way).

      Reply
    9. INTP

      But if a joke that didn’t land out the employee soooo on the defensive that a calm interaction was perceived as being terrible enough to complain to a client, th OP is still not the problem. It’s still an overly sensitive (and I do NOT use that term lightly) teller who most likely exagerated to get this call made. A company would not call their client who provides them business to complain about one of their employees lightly.

      Reply
  4. Ramona Flowers

    #2 Don’t say you’re neurotic. That may not come off well (though perhaps this is a regional thing). Maybe say diligent.

    Reply
    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Maybe regional. It’s not going to come off poorly here. Managers want people who are neurotic about showing up when they’re supposed to show up, particularly in a context where a flag has already been raised around it.

      Right now they’re worried that she’s sloppy with details. Saying she’s neurotic about punctuality sounds more authentic than just saying she’s diligent about it; to me, at least, diligent sounds more like something she’s saying because she thinks she’s supposed to say it. (I don’t think most people say “diligent” conversationally. “I”m neurotic about punctuality” sound real and a little disarming.)

      Reply
        1. Mookie

          Yeah. Humble-bragging anal retentive or figuratively obsessive-compulsive tendencies is not actually impressive or desirable. It does depend on delivery. Delivered earnestly and like you expect to be congratulated for it makes you look naive or manipulative, in my opinion. It’s also not great when you’re using it in an apology for something else.

          Reply
        2. Rusty Shackelford

          Yeah, to me “I’m neurotic about punctuality” ranks right up there with “my biggest flaw is that I’m a perfectionist.”

          Reply
        3. Yorick

          Yeah, I would say something like “normally I’m very careful when making appointments.” She’s obviously not neurotic about this – she’s explaining this because she messed it up this time.

          Reply
      1. MiaMia

        That’s interesting. I actually do hear plenty of people use “diligent” conversationally, and it doesn’t stick out to me, whereas someone describing themselves as “neurotic” sends up a yellow flag for “potentially a problem.” I’d immediately start looking for other signs that the person would be difficult to work with, since I have never heard a person self-describe as neurotic who wasn’t. I’d expect someone using your suggested phrasing to end up being one of those people who’s, say, obsessively counting how many minutes their coworkers are late back from lunch, or that they’re a person who wouldn’t be able to handle last-minute time changes, or the like.

        I’d actually suggest not overdoing any talk about the schedule botch – maybe just go with a “sorry about the mix-up, thanks for rescheduling” and get on with the interview. Punctuality’s not exactly something you can just tell people you are, anyway – no matter how strongly she claims she’s punctual, it’s something she’ll have to prove, and mistakes happen, which reasonable people understand.

        Reply
        1. NYC Weez

          I have to agree with this suggestion. A quick acknowledgement that there was a mix-up without getting too apologetic is the right tone to me. Even if LW was 100% to blame for the mix-up, putting too much emphasis on it at the start of the interview is not going to make the case for how diligent and detailed they usually are. Instead I would move on as quickly as possible to put the focus squarely on my achievements.

          Reply
          1. Falling Diphthong

            Without getting too apologetic.

            Yes. OP doesn’t want to act like no mix up happened–that isn’t a good look–but also doesn’t want to put the interviewers in a position where they keep having to reassure her, and are getting exhausted and uncomfortable and looking for an out.

            Reply
        2. Miss Pantalones en Fuego (formerly Floundering Mander)

          I was going to make a similar observation about “neurotic”. To me it carries a lot of baggage about mental health issues and possible over-sharing. I don’t know anyone who uses it in a casual setting to mean that they pay attention to a particular thing.

          This is not the first time that I’ve found that Alison’s wording sounds off to me, though. Regional or background differences probably do account for quite a lot. I’m from a Midwestern working class family and I grew up in the Southwest, plus I have an academic background and tend to write in a rather formal way.

          I would probably go with the quick “sorry about the misunderstanding” and leave it at that. Trying to convince them that I am not usually the type to make such mistakes seems like protesting too much.

          Reply
          1. dawbs

            THis is actually closer my objection to neurotic.

            Not that it’s problematic to the hearer, but that it further enforces the ‘neurosis is a term bandied about by laypeople” (adhd = a little hyper, depression = a little sad, OCD=fussy, etc) in our society.

            I’d LOVE it if we quit using diagnostic medical words as shorthand for ‘quirks’, because it contributes to the mental health stigmas of ‘well, surely you can overcome it, after all, it’s just a qirk’ issues in the world.

            Reply
      2. Naruto

        Allison, which part of the country are you in? That sounds odd to me in Minnesota, so I do think maybe it could be a regionalism.

        Reply
        1. a1

          This Minnesotan hears neurotic uses colloquially all the time. So, I doubt it’s regional.

          (Same with “I’m OCD about this” or “I’m so depressed”)

          Reply
      3. neverjaunty

        Respectfully, Alison, this seems more like digging in. “Neurotic” may be accepted by some people, but for others it’s going to come across as concerning at best and as really insensitive about mental health issues at worst.

        Reply
        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          I don’t know if it’s “digging in” to advocate for what I see work; I like it and think it works in lots of contexts. I hear y’all that a lot of you don’t though and that’s certainly worth taking into account.

          Reply
      4. Data Analyst / Software Engineer

        By and large, if the prospective employer is already concerned about attention to detail/sloppiness/timeliness then this could very well be the straw that broke the camel’s back, and there’s nothing that can be done to overcome it.

        But if the candidate promptly responds to scheduling requests/calls promptly when supposed to/answers promptly when called (you get the idea), the scheduling mixup can likely be overcome.

        I had an interview right after grad school where the employer sent me step by step directions to get to their facility. I followed the directions to a T, and arrived at a dead end. I carefully examined the directions to figure out where I screwed up. I didn’t find it until I reviewed the heading — “directions from the North”. Well, this campus was in the northern suburbs and I was coming from down town.

        I arrived 5-10 minutes late, acknowledged the lateness, and matter of factly stated I had overlooked the directions given to me were from the opposite directions. They didn’t care and offered me the job.

        Reply
      5. Doe-Eyed

        I have to go with the other commenters, neurotic carries an overtone of being unbalanced or mentally unwell. If someone told me they were neurotic about something I’d assume they were seeing a therapist for it.

        Reply
      6. Someone else

        I completely agree. Every candidate I’ve ever spoken with who described themselves as “diligent” about something was either sorely mistaken or does not actually know what the word “diligent” means. And I never hear the term outside of hiring contexts. Calling oneself neurotic at minimum sounds like something a person would say because she thought of it herself, either sincerely or being slightly hyperbolic for effect, both of which are preferable to speaking in buzzwords.

        Reply
    2. Naina

      I agree. “Neurotic” is a real word with real meaning, usually not good. “Conscientious” would be a better choice here. It’s has positive connotations, and no risk of offending someone who may be put off by the use of a word usually associated with symptoms of mental illness. It’s not ok to say “oh I’m OCD” or “I’m so bipolar today” flippantly, and I see this as being quite similar.

      Reply
      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        Eh. I get the argument you’re making but there’s a more colloquial use of it, and as of right now society has not rejected that colloquial use. It’s a construction I use myself and it gets a positive reception.

        I don’t want to derail on this, so I’ll just say the objections are noted.

        Reply
            1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)

              I hope this isn’t additionally derailing (feel free to delete if it is):

              You often recommend this kind of language (“I’m normally a stickler for deadlines,” etc.) when apologizing for a misstep, and it’s been really helpful for me. But this exchange made me wonder — what if it’s not true? Is it still a good way to smooth something over?

              (I ask because — and I don’t mean to attack the LW; we all make these kinds of mistakes, and we’re not equally on top of every detail of our lives — it doesn’t seem like the LW is neurotic/diligent/etc. about checking dates. A person who is anxious about or super attentive to scheduling issues would have flagged the different between the phone call and the email and raised it with the employer.)

              Reply
              1. Ask a Manager Post author

                Ha, it’s a good question. If the goal is to smooth over the mistake, this kind of language works well.

                It’s true that if you’re not actually diligent/punctual/organized/etc., there’s a downside to presenting yourself as if you are — because you could then end up in a job where you struggle and could even get fired. The problem is that there are very few jobs where those things don’t matter, and very few jobs where employers will deliberately disregard red flags on those things that pop up during the hiring process. Maybe in that case a better middle ground is to downplay the language more and use something that paints less of a picture than “neurotic” or ” a stickler” or “great with details.” But it’s pretty tough to come back from this type of mistake if you don’t convey that it’s out of character for you … and so if it’s actually in character for you, that’s a difficult situation.

                Reply
        1. Elizabeth H.

          The regional/local context might be different as well. It sounds normal to me and I work in Boston. I think it may read more colloquially in the atmosphere of the fast paced East Coast cities.

          Reply
    3. Laika

      Yes, agreed. “Neurotic” has negative connotations to me. If “meticulous” or “scrupulous” sound too unnatural in conversation, maybe go with “finicky”/”fussy”/”a stickler”?

      Reply
        1. Boötes

          Wow, thank you for introducing me to this spectacular word. Now that I’ve practiced the pronunciation (what flow!) I can see it taking top spot of my favourite mutterances.

          I believe yours is a standalone statement.

          Reply
    4. Kat A.

      I have hired dozens of people, and some of them have had some personality issues. The word neurotic would turn me off. Don’t use it.

      Reply
    5. JulieBulie

      After reading the other one about the OP who was getting her boss’s husband’s opinion, I thought of something.
      ADHD interfered with my schooling, my career, and even my social life. When someone uses my disorder as the punchline to their joke, I wish I could make them understand what that feels like. It’s not exactly the end of the world, but I will be disappointed in that person, and disinclined to speak up about it in the moment because I would effectively be outing myself (to someone I’m not sure won’t use it against me).

      That’s why I wince when someone misuses “neurotic.” Neurotic, ADHD, OCD, etc don’t have the same reputation as the R-word, but they aren’t funny, either. OP could be interviewing with someone who’s battling something like this, or worrying about a similar problem in their child or other family member. It’s not exactly rare.

      Reply
  5. Greg M.

    does Linked In have the option to block someone? because this sounds like a case for it. You don’t ever want to work this person again and they are sending you a lot of messages. Like if this were twitter or facebook I’d windmill slam the block button.

    Reply
  6. LadyL

    OP1, has anything like this ever happened to you before? People feeling like you were being snippy or rude with them when you thought you were being friendly?

    You know the phrase “resting b*tch face”? Well I like to say I have a “resting b*tch tone.” Sometimes what sounded light and funny in my head comes out sounding a lot harsher to others (I think maybe my voice is more flat/cold sounding than I realize?) Occasionally I can tell it’s happening by people’s reactions, and I can buffer a bit (making it clear that I’m not mad, or straight up telling them it’s my RBT), but sometimes I only find out it was an issue later on. I could see myself saying something like, “who would like this problem,” thinking it’s obvious I’m joking with them, but my RBT betraying me and having it seem like a complaint.

    If this is the first time this has happened to you, I’m thinking that this teller is trying to cause problems for some reason, or they got you mixed up with someone else. I’m surprised that your office just took the teller at their word without letting you explain yourself. That would worry me; I should think they’d have more faith in you. When I worked in customer service if someone complained about us we at least got to defend ourselves, and usually my boss would go over better ways to handle similar interactions in the future, rather than immediately writing us up. Is your office usually so quick to judge, or so unforgiving?

    Reply
    1. Kerr

      I think you just came up with a catchy name for my problem. My tone goes flat on a regular basis, and does NOT reliably convey the lighthearted, gentle touch of humor that exists in my head.

      It doesn’t sound like this is OP’s issue, though. Unless they tried to carry on joking throughout the entire transaction, and it doesn’t sound like they did. The more I read this, the fishier it sounds. The teller doesn’t want to help, the OP offers to call their manager, then the teller is happy to help (because she doesn’t want them to call?), but then the OP is blindsided by a complaint from the bank (who at the bank?) who says that the problem wasn’t fixed. Did the problem with the account actually get fixed, in the end?

      Agreed, not letting you explain yourself is a huge problem. I wonder if the OP was so stunned that they didn’t provide a good explanation at the time? That definitely happend to me once. (And yes, that manager wasn’t a great one.)

      Reply
      1. Deborah

        I was completely blind sided, and stunned. I told my employers that that didn’t happen, and they said why would the bank lie? I was choking back tears and couldn’t collect my thoughts enough to do anything other than sign the write up. I do have a review coming up next week, and I will be typing up a better response including the advice given to me, that I will ask to be kept with the write up.

        Reply
    2. Miss Pantalones en Fuego (formerly Floundering Mander)

      Ugh, this happens to me not infrequently, or else people think that I’m complaining when I’m making a joke. I almost got fired for it last year.

      So I usually work in an outdoor, labor-intensive occupation. Last winter I was working on a site that was objectively horrible — literally the entire site was covered in calf-deep, slippery mud, it was often below freezing, and at that time of year it is only really daylight from around 9-3:30, so we had two hours of working in the dark each day.

      One day we had torrential rain so we went to the office and spent the day in a nice warm room washing artifacts. It was a nice break and when the boss asked me how I was doing at lunchtime, I made what was to me a joke that I should have been an artifact specialist so that I could stay inside during the winter.

      A few days later she told me that she thought I had a bad attitude and that if I didn’t want to be on site I could make it my last day. I was really shocked because I wasn’t slacking or complaining every day or anything like that. In truth I hated the site but it was only a 4-week project. In the end I stayed for the whole thing but it really shook me up.

      Reply
      1. (Different) Rebecca

        Ahhh, CRM. Gosh, most site supervisors would be right there with you, making over the top morbid-humor jokes about being up to their knees in mud. In fact, both supervisors I’ve worked under would have started out with ‘how’re we going to find anything in this shite?’ and moved rapidly into the old ‘found a glove!’ keeping-the-spirits-up type stuff.

        Reply
    3. Charlie Bradbury's Girlfriend

      A similar situation happened to me where a sales person complained to my boss about my “bad attitude” and that I was rude on the phone with her. My boss let me explain the situation, and the solution was that I wasn’t supposed to contact that sales person again. But I didn’t get written up for it. That seems like a pretty extreme reaction with only one side of the story.
      For what it’s worth, hearing my boss explain the conversation from the sales person’s perspective made me realize that I actually was coming off rude when I didn’t intend it. I audibly sighed because I was frustrated with the situation, but she took it personally, which I can understand. It made me much more aware of how I come off over the phone. I’m much quieter and straightforward now, and I haven’t gotten an attitude complaint since. It’s super-duper embarrassing, but you can bounce back from it.

      Reply
    4. Susan K

      I have resting b*tch tone, too! It’s hereditary — my mom and my brother also have it (when my mom calls me on my birthday, until she says the words, “Happy birthday,” I honestly can’t tell whether she’s calling to say happy birthday or to say she hates me and is taking me out of her will). And I often have a problem where people interpret anything I say in the worst possible way. I can ask a coworker, “Did the handles and spouts you ordered come in yet?” and she will think I’m accusing her of lying about ordering them, or something.

      Reply
    5. Ms. Annie

      I have RBT, too. And RBV – Resting B Volume. I wear hearing aids, and they automatically adjust the volume into my ears based on ambient noise. I have no real way of telling how loud I am talking unless I can feel my throat starting to hurt. So, I can be talking to you in what I think is a simple professional tone, and you are not only getting RBY, you are getting my “talking to you from the other side of the room” volume. So, yeah, I can see that OP may have come off WAY different than she intended.

      But, the only time I have had a bank do an adjustment for an account I was not officially on, it was a bank and banker I had worked with for years. And, then, because of the nature of the change and the circumstances, I changed banks the next day. (She let me set the pin number of my soon to be ex’s personal account and handed me a temporary ATM card.)

      Reply
    6. What the French, Toast

      I’ve had this go the other way, where I was so polite and apologetic to a customer that the customer thought I was being sarcastic/condescending. I was working as a bookstore cashier. A lady came through the checkout wanting to return a magazine. I (very apologetically) explained that we weren’t allowed to accept returns on magazines. I hate confrontation and I’d already had many experiences of customers blowing up at me after being told “no” so I phrased it something like, “I’m so sorry but we can’t accept returns of magazines. Is that okay?”

      The lady just kind of smiled and said “Okay.” Didn’t argue, didn’t complain, didn’t ask to speak to a manager. About an hour later my manager comes to me, baffled, saying a woman called to complain that I was condescending to her about returning a magazine and demanding that I should be fired. Fired! He said he’d told her I didn’t do anything wrong, but later another manager said that I had to be written up for it even though they believed I didn’t do anything wrong. Retail.

      Reply
      1. Jennifer

        That’s service for you. If anyone complains about anything, you are automatically guilty. I’ve gotten this complaint too and I say sorry constantly about everything!

        Reply
        1. Gazebo Slayer

          Yup. And anyone who demands someone be fired because she was “condescending about returning a magazine” is a garbage person with horribly screwed-up priorities and no concern for other people.

          Reply
      2. CorruptedbyCoffee

        And this is why customer service people get burnt out. After years of this, it can be hard not to get tired of the constant threats to your job and person. Or maybe that’s just where I work :)

        Reply
    7. Girasol

      Ooh, yeah, this! I know people at work who have RBT: they sound angry when (once you get to know them) they’re really conversing in a friendly manner. If the manager knew the employee like they should, they’d realize that this was likely the problem and treat it as a misunderstanding. In any case, it’s never good for a manager to take an “I don’t like her attitude” complaint from an anonymous person and turn it into ambiguous “you did wrong” feedback. When someone leaves a scolding completely mystified about what they did wrong and what they could do to be sure it doesn’t happen again, it only adds drama.

      Reply
      1. KC without the sunshine band

        Yep, same here. My mother has been telling me to correct my tone since birth. That’s just the way I talk. I have to be careful not to sound confrontational or bossy, unless I’m trying to be. My husband also tells me I have tone issues, but it has become a family joke. And I’ve definitely been told I’m intimidating with both my voice and my RBF. It’s just a part of me I try to work on. Every. Freaking. Day.

        Reply
    8. JanetM

      I’m pretty sure I look frightening; I’ve had, for example, cashiers flinch away from me when they have to tell me there’s a problem with my order. For example,

      Me: I’d like a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit, please.

      Cashier flinches, looks at manager, and says: You tell her?

      Manager: We’re out of eggs this morning.

      Me: Oh. Okay, then, could I have a sausage biscuit please?

      Cashier rings me up.

      Me, to manager, while waiting for my biscuit, in what I thought was a sympathetic tone and with what I thought was a smile: So, warehouse mis-pick, or delivery truck running late?

      Manager, with the tone and expression I would have expected had I called her a foul name: We. Ran. Out.

      I’m honestly not sure what I said, how I said it, or how I looked, but it definitely did NOT go over the way I intended.

      Huh. You know what? In writing this out, I suddenly wonder if I didn’t pronounce “mis-pick” carefully enough and the manager heard a foul slur against Hispanics / Latinxs. I bet that’s what happened.

      Reply
    9. M is for Mulder

      People feeling like you were being snippy or rude with them when you thought you were being friendly?

      This is me. I have a low voice for a woman, I tend to squint while thinking (which looks like a scowl), and I’m very sarcastic and prone to dark humor.

      I have a type of code switching I call “Literal Mode” that I use when dealing with potentially tense professional and customer service situations. I consciously lift my eyebrows, raise my voice to a higher register, and cease all attempts at joking. I use no figurative language or idioms whatsoever. I verbalize emotions instead of showing them: “This has me so frustrated I can barely think straight, can you please help me figure this out?” I restate the person’s reply, then give them a choice of solution from concrete examples: “If I’m hearing you correctly, you can’t perform this action because I’m not on the account. Would talking to my boss on the phone be sufficient authorization, or do you need him to come into the bank in person?” I end things by confirming a solution: “So I need to have boss come in. I’ll let him know that as soon as return to the office. Thanks so much for your help with this.”

      I developed Literal Mode after years of frustration in dealing with a relative with Asperger’s. It’s a happy coincidence that it seems useful in many other situations as well.

      Reply
    10. Natalie

      Oof, me, too. I routinely ask my spouse to interact with service industry employees for me, especially if there is a problem, because he has “resting relaxed/easygoing tone” and I do not.

      Reply
    11. Super Secret Squirrel

      Resting bitch tone, love it!

      These kinds of slow self realizations are why I love my life as an oldie so much more than I did as a teen or 20s.

      For me, I’ve learned that trying to make a joke when I’m actually irritated or angry – well that doesn’t work out well. The bad feeling leaks into the joke and makes it worse than an honest complaint.

      Reply
    12. Lady Blerd

      Oh, I have a colleague with RBT. It is causing a lot of friction with colleagues and even myself who feeds off such attitude. You’ve given me a new perspective on how to handle her.

      Reply
    13. Deborah

      This is the first time something lilke this has happened to me. A week later I am still bothered and in shock by it. I can’t even sleep at night. My character is the thing I hold most dear to me, and it is being questioned now, and it hurts. I live in a military community and my husband is a submarine sailor. I got the nickname of “mom” because I take care of all the wives when our husbands are out to sea. I am always babysitting, cooking dinners, inviting wives over who are having a hard time to have a comedy movie night etc. I always take people under my wing to try to make them happy, comforted, and loved. I do try to attempt humor, and in my head it goes the way I think it should, but in this case, it backfired and it makes me feel sick to my stomach. I know the bank is lying about the interactions I had with them, and I so desperately want to clear my name. I didn’t have time to collect my thoughts when I was told I was written up, but I will prepare a letter for my review that is coming up next week. So I can make sure I don’t leave anything out to defend myself. As well as the proof that the bank is lying about my actions, and behavior.

      Reply
      1. Girasol

        Maybe you followed six really nasty bank customers, and when you walked in they all thought, “What NOW??” Perhaps on a normal day your humor would have been taken as amusing and all would have been well. Maybe a day later they regretted calling your boss. Who knows? The last time this happened to me, and my boss called me on the carpet because a customer said I was unpleasant, a week later the same customer told her that I was terrific. Since I hadn’t spoken to him recently I could only imagine that he was reacting to a bad day and later regretted what he’d done and tried to set it right. I hope the bank folks do that for you.

        Reply
  7. Cazkiwi

    Comments which I think are witty and funny, and with definitely nothing behind it but cheerfulness, have definitely sometimes come across to the other person/people as rude before… Much to my horror when being asked why I was so horrible secondhand about it by other friends. My SOH maybe can be a bit too dry and sarcastic.. And yes, too ironically witty….. for some people to see the actual goodnaturedness and humour… So I completely understand your mini-freakout over this… I would be mortified that I was taken wrongly like this too! And to be written up… Eep!

    Reply
    1. Tau

      This is something I noted as well. Humour is expert-level social, especially when used in customer service situations because the power differential means workers generally won’t be able to tell you/signal you that you’re coming over poorly. It’s easy to misjudge and never know.

      OP1 – this depends on your boss, but personally I’d definitely use Alison’s script and also supplement by “Can you tell me if you think I ever come across that way at work? I absolutely don’t want to and endeavour to be polite and professional, but this situation has left me shaken about my ability to judge that correctly.” If you have friends you trust to be honest with you even if it hurts, think about running this + how they think you generally come across by them. With luck it’ll turn off this was a weird one-off or they confused you with someone else, but you might learn things that surprise you.

      Reply
      1. Super Secret Squirrel

        “Humour is expert-level social, especially when used in customer service situations because the power differential means workers generally won’t be able to tell you/signal you that you’re coming over poorly. It’s easy to misjudge and never know.”

        That… Wow that summarized it perfectly. I didn’t realize that’s what is going on, but oh man, you’re so right. Power differential.

        Bertie Wooster always thought he was being so funny, while from Jeeves’ point of view he was just a prat… but even though Jeeves was smarter and better in every way, Jeeves had to act like Bertie made perfect sense. Of course. That’s exactly the customer service power differential too.

        Reply
  8. Artemesia

    #5 I don’t see how posting a job and restricting it to internal candidates meets the requirements to post jobs. This is a rule related to discrimination and opening positions to people outside the old boy’s network. ‘Internal only’ postings make this pointless.

    Reply
    1. Chipu

      It may be something similar to what happened at the (public) organisation I work for a year or two ago. The organisation went through a restructure, which meant that some positions no longer existed, and new positions were created. As all permanent positions must be advertised, per legislation governing the organisation, the new roles were advertised even though they were only open to internal applicants so that those who were in the non-existent positions could be placed within the new structure.

      Reply
      1. seejay

        It also applies when a company has to “advertise” the job when they’re applying for a green card for one of their employees. They have to demonstrate that they can’t fill the position with an outside candidate so they have to advertise and interview like they’re going to hire to show that they can’t find someone with those qualifications and that’s why they need to hire an immigrant, thus requiring an immigration visa.

        (That’s the shortened, dumbed down version of it anyway.)

        Reply
        1. Rusty Shackelford

          But how does advertising a job that isn’t available to outside candidates show that they couldn’t find an outside candidate to hire?

          Reply
          1. Deloris Van Cartier

            I worked at a DOL center processing those applications in college so this was a little under 10 years ago but at the time, you had to show that you posted it in external places like a newspaper which was obviously much more popular at the time or an online forum. These were backlogged cases that were digitalizing to be pushed through the system so this they may have changed the regulation but it did technically have to be advertised in a public setting.

            Reply
          2. seejay

            Because you go through the motions of advertising it, collecting resumes and reviewing if there are people that fit the role and then demonstrating that you can’t find people that do fit it because the requirements are too specific. Then it shows that the employer does need to hire from out of the country because there isn’t a good enough candidate locally.

            Reply
            1. Rusty Shackelford

              But since external candidates won’t apply (since the ad states they aren’t eligible), how can anyone claim this is actually demonstrating what it claims to demonstrate? How do they get away with it?

              Reply
              1. seejay

                I don’t know the full details of how it’s done, usually the ad doesn’t state that external candidates aren’t being accepted, I’m just saying that in some cases, an ad is posted that is intended for internal candidates only, or intended to not hire, but is posted solely for the purpose of demonstrating there’s a role that can’t/won’t be filled even if people apply for it, as it’s part of the green card process. The ad won’t state that though, it’s just known internally.

                Reply
    2. hbc

      It sounds like it’s going by the letter of the law rather than the spirit. It drives me nuts when rules are written so broadly and simply that you pretty much have to make an exception. (It’s why I mini-ranted about it in the library case yesterday.)

      Either the rule should be that all positions should be posted for at least X days *and* open to qualified external applicants*, or that jobs should be posted and open unless (it was created for a particular person/it’s a restructure/permission is granted by HR/there have been no internal promotions in this department in 2 years/whatever.)

      *Who are then legitimately considered. Hiring managers should be smacked down if they then just throw qualified applications in the trash or obviously conduct show interviews.

      Reply
    3. Anonygoose

      I work at a university that’s unionized, and all Union positions that are posted have a sentence at the bottom that essentially says that union (internal) employees are considered before external candidates. However, that doesn’t mean that external employees never ever get jobs at the university! It just means that HR sends the hiring manager the applications of all technically qualified union employees, and if the hiring manager doesn’t want to interview any of them, they can then consider external employees. I think sometimes it’s worth applying anyways, because you never know if internal employees are even applying for that job.

      Reply
  9. Jaded

    LW3 – if you still work at the same company, or are still able to contact Ethel and grandboss/HR, do them a favour and let them know Fergus is kicking off again, so they can be forewarned in case this escalates further.

    Reply
  10. Sara M

    I have this problem all the time. I sound much more stern and serious than I mean to. I’ve worked on it, but I can’t fix it totally.

    Think about other instances in your life. Do you have to say “just kidding” a lot?

    Reply
  11. schnauzerfan

    #1 I’m also wondering if the teller got in trouble for dealing with you when you weren’t on the account, so she threw you under the bus… “I wouldn’t have done it, but she was soooo insistent.

    5. We have to post all openings, but sometimes we can only fill internally (say there was a RIF and several people have lost their positions and we had an opening) we’d be required to offer it internally before we could go external.

    Reply
    1. Artemesia

      I can see having to go internal for this or that reasons, but it is then pointless to post such openings in an external site. Obviously better to say ‘internal only’ than to just let people who won’t be considered apply, but still it makes ‘required to post’ a bit silly.

      Reply
      1. Amey

        At my employer (a good-sized UK university) all of our job postings are listed on our website, including the internal-only ones which we often have in situations like the ones mentioned above (restructuring etc) and sometimes when we have a recruitment freeze (this I don’t totally understand.) I don’t think they get advertised on other websites, but if you’re looking to move around within our employer, everything is in one place.

        Reply
      2. Antilles

        A surprisingly large number of employers have their processes set up in such a way that it’s basically impossible to create a ‘position’ exclusively for internal candidates. So if you want to create an official position to help internal candidates realize that you’ve got an opening (and you do!), it automatically posts it on the company’s public website for anybody to join in.

        Reply
        1. Lily Rowan

          Ah, that makes sense — at my job, union positions are posted internally for a while before they are opened up, but internal means internal — they aren’t on any site you can get to from the outside. But of course, most places I’ve worked don’t have as robust an intranet and there really wouldn’t be any place to put internal-only job postings.

          Reply
      3. MicroManagered

        #1 I’m also wondering if the teller got in trouble for dealing with you when you weren’t on the account, so she threw you under the bus… “I wouldn’t have done it, but she was soooo insistent.”

        Came looking for someone else who picked up on this. I can totally buy someone being more rude than they thought they were being–but to the extreme that the bank calls and complains about her of their own volition? That doesn’t make sense to me.

        It DOES make sense that someone could say this to CYA after the fact.

        Reply
        1. Myrin

          It could also explain the phone call to OP’s employer – if the thing the teller supposedly took care of so breezily actually had huge consequences (like data breach regulations coming into play), the bank’s director might well have come down on her hard and if she put the blame on the OP, that might make the bank’s reaction more understandable. Like “What the hell, now we have to deal with this huge kerfuffle and all because one of our tellers was intimidated by OP! If that’s how the people at OP’s company conduct their business, I’d really like to have a word with them!”. The problem obviously still lies with the teller but I’ve known a lot of people/bosses who’d rather view it differently. All pure speculation which doesn’t really help the OP, of course, but I’m so mystified by this situation that I feel a burning need to entertain any notion that isn’t completely unreasonable.

          Reply
      4. CanCan

        Yes, it’s a bit odd that they posted the position on an external website. Perhaps they just don’t have a good system to list internally.
        As for why they might only be hiring internally – there might be a hiring freeze for financial reasons. My dad’s job constanly lists internal positions, but it’s very hard to get an external position approved, because overall you’d be increasing the company’s financial liability.

        Reply
    2. President of the Lutheran Sisterhood Gun Club

      I had the same thought about number 1. Like maybe there was actually nothing wrong with the interaction at all, but then the teller got in trouble and deflected blame to you.

      Reply
      1. Kyrielle

        Yes. And it’s possible the light-hearted joke played into it, if the other tellers said, “Well, when she first came in it seemed like she was joking, but she *did* say….” Their manager might have taken that as corroboration of the rest of it.

        It might *not* be the case – there’s no way to know – but OP, I’d take two things out of this.

        I’d drop the light-hearted jokes in situations like this where you are the “power” and it could be taken wrong.

        And when the teller says she can do it for you even though the rules don’t allow it, smile and say something like, “Thank you, but I don’t want to make you break any rules. I’ll just check with my manager how we can best sort this out.”

        Maybe that’s fixing a problem that didn’t exist, but … it removes one risk factor if anything of the sort happens again.

        Reply
        1. Kyrielle

          (Sorry, just realized I didn’t say anything about talking to your manager – that’s because I think Alison’s advice there is good.)

          Reply
    3. INTP

      I had the exact same thought about #1. Employee bends the rules to be nice or avoid a hassle, it turns out that the rules were a much bigger deal than the employee realized and employee got in big trouble, employee claimed OP – a rep from a business client that she would have been instructed to keep happy – was fuming and demanding her way and she was afraid not to. In that case the banks reaction would have been understandable, they can’t have a client rep intimidating their employees to the point that employees break security rules.

      Reply
    4. anonymouse for this

      +1 – sharing info with someone who is not on the account could definitely get the teller into trouble – and saying LW1 was rude could be as an easy way out for them.

      Reply
  12. Melissa

    LW #5: I work in government, and all our job postings are made publicly available on the jobs website everyone uses, internal or external candidates. Some of our postings legitimately internal-only, but they still get posted because we apply there too!

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth

      I can here to add this — we have a lot of part-time casual or contract staff who don’t have a role that requires a computer so they don’t have or need access to the company intranet where job postings also show up. Posting an internal posting on our public website is one place they’ll see it if they want to change roles.

      Reply
    2. Grits McGee

      Yep- every federal civilian job in the US ends up on USAjobs, whether it’s internal, military-only, or non-competitive.

      Plus, on the subject of internal hiring in general- if you’re in an organization where it’s difficult to fire someone (legally or b/c of internal policy), it’s a huuuuge advantage to be able to choose from known personalities. Right now my agency will hire externally for entry level positions, but everything else is pretty much internal-only.

      Reply
    3. LQ

      In addition (also in government) sometimes we have things that we are required to post for internal only and then only if we don’t get anyone applying can we post for external candidates. But it’s all on the same website that is publicly accessible.

      Reply
    4. McWhadden

      I’m also public sector and we do the same thing. I don’t know if it’s an internal rule or a local law but we have to post them publicly even if it is internal. Because government transparency means people should be aware of positions using public funds.

      And if the internal thing happens too often people can start asking questions/raising objections. (That being said there are many reasons why internal only is appropriate. Some things are so niche that only someone who works here would have the right experience. Sometimes it’s a formality for a reclassification not an actual job.)

      Reply
  13. KatieKate

    #5 my most recent job, I was offered the position as an internal promotion, but they still had to post it on the site for a week before a formal offer could be made. Not sure what they would have done if an application came through, but I’m glad none did!

    Reply
    1. Karen K

      I’ve been on both ends of this at the same time!

      I was temping, and thought I’d like to work at the company permanently. I applied for an open, advertised position, and was told that, in fact, they already had a candidate for the position (I assume internal).

      Then, my temp boss made it very clear that he wanted me to stay. He was pretty sure that his current assistant was going to quit (actually, I think he planned to encourage her to do so!), and he wanted me to take her place. They still had to post the position publicly, so I’m sure if someone applied, they would be told the same thing.

      Reply
    2. Amber

      I had a similar situation about 5 years ago- I was working 10 hours a week for a faculty member at a local college, and she petitioned our campus president to create a position that would enable me to support the entire department (for more hours and higher pay)… The position was created solely as a promotion for me, but were legally required to post it on our website even though they wouldn’t be accepting external applicants. In that case they also needed to move quickly in order to get someone into the position before the start of the new term who knew the job, systems, and processes required. A traditional candidate search would have taken too much time and too many resources when they already had someone lined up who knew who to do the job, wouldn’t need training, knew all of the staff and their needs, and had a positive work history with the company.

      Reply
  14. Jeanne

    I have to disagree with the response to #1. Why are we assuming that she was rude when she says she wasn’t? The problem here is a boss who believes a strange phone call and writes up her employee without even being willing to talk to the employee for her side of the story. That’s a bad boss not a bad employee.

    Reply
    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      I’m not assuming she was rude. I’m suggesting that she consider whether she could have come across differently than she intended, since otherwise the bank’s action is really odd. If she’s confident that she didn’t, then great — but it would be irresponsible for anyone not to ask themselves that question in this situation.

      Reply
    2. Ramona Flowers

      Because while we take letter writers at their word as much as we can, it wouldn’t be doing the LW any favours not to raise certain questions.

      Reply
    3. MiaMia

      It’s only a bad boss if you assume they had no reason to believe the complaint. People are suggesting that there is the possibility that the boss is not a bad boss, but for some reason the complaint seemed valid. No one’s saying that’s definitely the case, but a lot of people don’t realize how they come across, so it’s a legitimate thing to suggest.

      For what it’s worth, I would be pretty taken aback if someone came in and asked, “Who would like this problem?” It strikes me as someone more or less announcing they’re going to be difficult, and I have been trying to imagine it said in different tones, and even the most lighthearted still sounds weird. Ending with the polite thank you should mitigate that somewhat, but it’s not the best opening, I don’t think. Not call-their-boss-worthy unless something else was going on, though.

      Reply
      1. CoffeeLover

        I’ve had people say that light-heartedly back in my customer service days, and it never struck me as anything else than a dad-joke type thing to say. More than that, as you said in your last sentence, it doesn’t reach the “report to the person’s employer” level by a long shot.

        While I can appreciate it’s possible OP was interpreted in a way they didn’t mean, it just seems so unlikely that I think it’s unhelpful to suggest it’s true. I think it would take an astronomical lack of self awareness to go from “I had a fairly pleasant interaction with the bank staff” to “this guy was so rude I need to report him to his boss”. It’s one thing to think you’re being pleasant and the other person thinks you’re slightly tone-deaf or rude, it’s another thing for them to say you huffed away in a rage. I mean, I’ve dealt with outrageously rude people and I’ve never reported them. I think, as others have suggested, either a) the bank employee got in trouble and is trying to cover it up; or b) the OP has a history of bad behaviour that would make the boss jump to conclusions. Overall though, I do agree that the bigger problem seems to be OP’s boss. OP, your boss is either a bad manager or she doesn’t like you – not good either way.

        Reply
        1. Myrin

          Yeah, I agree. Admittedly, that “problem” sentence is exactly the kind of thing I would say, so I might be biased not really seeing anything wrong with it, but okay, since others say they’ve had unpleasant experiences with it, let’s say it came across as rude and snarky when OP said it. Unless the rest of the entire conversation happened in a rude and snarky tone and a generally much more exaggerated manner than OP describes, that one sentence doesn’t seem like something that would make the bank employees so incensed that the OP’s boss had to be called, even if they found it unpleasant or distasteful.

          Reply
        2. Deborah

          I agree that I should have never made an bad attempt at light hearted humor. That is a lesson I have learned the hard way :( . I never walked out in angry or huffed away making a snappy comment, because the teller did help me, and resolved the problem with the bank statement. I know that I smiled a lot, and said thank you for helping me. She even called me later that evening to state that my receipt of the transaction was ready. I told her thank you again, and that she was awesome. My employers told me they were shocked to learn this from the bank, because I have always been respectful, kind, and helpful. They admitted that there were holes in the banks story , but then ended with, why would the bank lie? I am going to bring up the fact that maybe the teller got into trouble so she made it up to not lose her job.

          Reply
          1. Princess Cimorene

            I don’t think this should deter your from being light hearted, witty, funny, sarcastic, or most importantly: yourself.

            With this added bit (her calling you later) I really think someone got in trouble and there was a game of telephone that the truth got lost in or someone threw you under the bus.

            MOST people get friendly jokes, and can pick up on sarcasm and the various nuances in communication, but not everyone. I don’t think you should have to be scared and worried that this will happen every time you try to be pleasant and friendly.

            Reply
      2. Miss Pantalones en Fuego (formerly Floundering Mander)

        I don’t think I’d use this specific wording but I can imagine it being said in a “oh boy, this seems like a real headache for someone, who wants to look at this complicated problem?” kind of way. Like a way of trying to acknowledge that it was a problem that would take a lot of work, but not as a complaint or a demand.

        Reply
        1. Deborah

          Yes! This was my exact intention when saying those words. It was just supposed to be a light hearted jovial way of saying it.

          Reply
      3. Grey

        No matter the case, it’s worth discussing with your employee and hearing their side before taking any action. The OP’s boss didn’t do that and just took everything in the complaint as fact.

        Reply
        1. MiaMia

          Oh, yeah, I definitely agree there. I also think that even if the LW did come off as rude, that’s a really weird thing to call someone’s boss over unless she was screaming obscenities and refusing to leave, so the whole call to the boss seems weird to me in the first place.

          Reply
    4. Brigitte

      I totally agree. I think part of the problem is that not many people commenting here realize what a huge problem it is that the teller decided to work with LW #1, who wasn’t authorized on the account. She could easily be terminated for that, if the risk factor is high or it’s a repeat offense.

      If we take the OP at her word, the likely scenario is that the teller got chewed out at work and made up a story for her boss.

      Reply
  15. Princess Cimorene

    1. A bank called my employer to complain I was rude
    A few thoughts.

    1.) Why not remind the manager that the problem WAS indeed solved, satisfactorily so that immediately goes against what the bank is saying.

    2.) It still wouldn’t hurt to reassess how you are coming across. Although I can completely picture the scenario you described and picture myself saying the exact same thing and going to whomever was ready to help me. Sounds like a small bank in a small town and they gossiped about you after you left.

    3.) It is highly possible that they got in trouble for letting it go “this one time” by someone higher-up and to cover their own ass they threw you under the bus and said you were wild and crazy to their big boss, and that was who called your job and relayed the story.

    Either way, if you know for a fact you didn’t do anything wrong here, don’t let this go unchecked. Look out for yourself. The script Alison gave is good but I would also weave in that the problem was solved, contrary to what they told him.

    Good luck!

    Reply
    1. Princess Cimorene

      Thinking more on this…

      4.) I am dismayed that you were written up about this from a statement by an outside party with no witnesses and that your boss didn’t believe their own employee over some third-party. That makes me think your boss is an unreasonable jerk. Is he otherwise reasonable? If so then have a convo, and have your own back. If he isn’t… then stay aware of this and have your own back, because he’s going to do other ridiculous things in the future and you need to stay ready so you don’t have to get ready.

      Reply
      1. MiaMia

        I mean, presumably the other tellers were witnesses, but it’s unclear if they gave any input.

        I’m starting to wonder if, in conjunction with the LW not being on the account, the bank thought the LW was up to some kind of shenanigans. I’m also wondering if the boss’ report of the call to the LW is accurately portraying the whole complaint, because this is starting to seem like a weird game of telephone (teller -> bank boss -> LW boss -> LW).

        Really, it’s just a very weird scenario all around. Either the bank called up the boss over someone just being rude (which seems an extreme reaction), or there’s something else going on. Either way I definitely think the LW deserves at least some more clarity on what happened, especially given that the issue they claim wasn’t resolved actually was, which should be provable.

        Reply
        1. Myrin

          Yeah, I gotta say, this sucks royally for the OP but as in uninvolved outsider, I’m finding the whole situation quite mysterious and intriguing. I want to go full Hercule Poirot and investigate what’s really been happening.

          Reply
          1. Deborah

            I am the OP, and I too want to know what the heck is going on. I really am dumbfounded by the whole situation… The bank is lying, (of that I have proof via receipts of transactions) with the exception of my ill fated attempt at humor in an awkward situation (all the tellers looking at me). I have a meeting next week with my employers again. I have had time to collect my thoughts and will write up a response based on the advice given here. I can keep you all posted what happened, if you like?

            Reply
            1. Princess Cimorene

              Yes please share an update via Alison once you get more clarity on this! I would be mortified too. I am always making jokes like the one you described and I understand sometimes people don’t get it, but I am usually very pleasant and smiling. Good luck!!

              Reply
            2. Jeanne

              I wouldn’t speculate as to whether the bank employee may have gotten in trouble. Focus on all the details you can remember, the receipts, and how you are disturbed that they believe this report over you. I would ask if they have seen any security footage from the bank.

              Reply
              1. Deborah

                I wonder if I ask the bank to see the footage, if they would allow it. I will bring it up with my employers. It would absolutely help my case.

                Reply
      2. Lora

        Yeah, as I think back on all the She Was Rude At Me! Situations I have ever seen or been in where I was like, what the heck no:

        -Complainer was an obnoxious bully trying to reverse victim/bully dynamic, especially when he had just been called out on it by a victim or potential victim

        -Complainer got in big trouble for something vaguely related and was trying to deflect blame. The one I remember best is a plastics engineer who hadn’t performed a particular regulatory requirement for the FDA which isn’t required in the EU, and he argued that the FDA was being mean and unreasonable. I said, the FDA sadly doesn’t care if you think they are being unreasonable, their response is “suck it up, Buttercup!” This was apparently the worst thing I possibly could have said, so he printed out my email, stomped into the cafeteria and emotionally read every word of our email exchange as evidence of what a megabitch I am. The rest of the cafeteria…laughed hysterically at him and his nickname has been Buttercup for the past two years. We get along now, but one manager who was particularly confrontation-averse read me the riot act about it.

        -Boss had a problem with women talking. Like, at all. Not even a Bitch Eating Crackers thing but “shut up little girl” to all women who said words out loud that weren’t Yessir.

        -Complainer was from a corporate culture that listened to them when they whined about things instead of teaching them not to whine. I just had this conversation yesterday with an HR consultant: she was talking about the endless Battle Of The Thermostat and similar issues and I said you know what, I never had that problem for long: I just handed out the Facilities phone number at the first complaint and at the second one I asked if they needed me to re-send it and at the third one I raise my eyebrows and ask if they need to escalate. Because there are some things grown adults should be able to either deal with or suck it up, put a sweater on and move on with life. A professional adult should be able to reason it out that an HVAC repair might be necessary and know how to arrange such a thing, or figure out that the difference between 68 and 72 is simply a fact of life requiring, occasionally, sweaters. However, I am informed that sometimes managers not only have enough free time on their hands to handle every complaint personally no matter how minor without asking “and what have you tried so far?” but also that if you are an upper class white man people just do stuff when you whine about it and never ever tell you to deal with it or ignore you or make you present a Supreme Court-worthy case for it. I personally have never experienced such a thing, so it was a bit of a shock to find out that it was even possible to make an incredibly petty complaint without being viewed myself as a giant butthole, but apparently this is a thing.

        Reply
        1. Allison

          I’ll never forget being on the other side of this, giving someone the same level of service I gave everyone else, but he started telling me I had a bad attitude, then found my supervisor and told him what a bad attitude I had. Because when he asked for a straw, I pointed to where they were and said they were over there, when apparently it would have been better if I had walked along the counter, gestured with my arm and said “see where that TV is? they’re just under there! all right? have a great day!” but my supervisor also felt he was overreacting, so did everyone else who saw the transaction.

          I should add that when he came to my register, he put his police badge on the counter, face up, so I’d know he was an officer. I guess he was expecting special treatment and was angry he didn’t get it.

          Reply
          1. Gazebo Slayer

            Oh God. When I worked retail one customer at my store threatened to have her son the state trooper *arrest* us because we wouldn’t extend her credit for something. Fortunately, my manager laughed in her face.

            Reply
        1. Princess Cimorene

          By witnesses, I mean that work with her at her job, where she was written up for something that happened somewhere else.

          Reply
  16. They're cheap

    LW5: They probably don’t have the ability to add additional headcount to the budget. Limiting it to internal candidates just shifts the expense from one department to another, and doesn’t require an overall increase in resources.

    Reply
  17. Ramona Flowers

    #4 I agree you’ll potentially have better luck asking your intern to loop you in as you have standing to do that – and it’s also good learning for your intern to check in with their line manager when someone else asks them to take on a task, at least at first / until they’re sure they can just say yes. Personally this was not obvious to me. I remember someone saying to me: “I need to check with my line manager before taking that on,” and it being a major penny-drop movement as I just hadn’t realised that might be a thing.

    Reply
    1. Amber

      We employ a high school co-op/intern during the school year and implemented a “job report” spreadsheet that’s kept in an open location on the shared drive so that people can not only request tasks/projects from the co-op, but that she can update it with new tasks and use it as a status report for whats completed/in process/waiting to start. Since it’s on our shared drive, her supervisor can access it whenever to see what she’s working on currently and how many other priorities she’s got on her plate. It’s a great way of tracking what kind of work and how much she’s doing, the amount of time it’s taking, and who is requesting the work. It also serves a dual purpose for her to turn into to her co-op/intern program instructor and a way for us to justify the position come budget time.

      It sounds like this type of spreadsheet would be very helpful for OP#4.

      Reply
  18. kas

    LW1: something similar happened to me when I was in customer service. A woman tried to use her husbands store credit card and I told her she couldn’t. She would have to use her own credit card and her husband would have to come back with only the receipt and do a return/repurchase on the store credit card (this was store policy). Well, she came back the next day when I was off, without her husband, and said I told her to come back with her marriage certificate + proof that they lived together (which she actually brought in). During my next shift, I was written up. I refused to sign it, why would I ask the customer for any of that? I never had issues with customers and always had positive reviews but my manager decided to believe the customer without even speaking to me first.

    I would definitely go back to your manager and use Alison’s script. I’m sure sometimes we all think we’re coming across one way even though others see it differently but I’m sure you would know if you were as horrible as they say you were.

    Reply
    1. Mookie

      Yeah, I was once given the task of organizing a lot of external departmental paper mail, all dropped off by individual team members at different times, and one of the sendees phoned me prior to my posting his packet asking me to hold off sending it for a day or two until he could add something to it, assuring me that the client was aware of this. They weren’t, they complained the day after it was meant to arrive, and the team member tried to say he’d never phoned me and it must have been someone else. I knew his voice, he mentioned in the call details specific to his project, and, in general, he was just a liar here. I had to apologize to him and the client “overlooking” his mail.

      Reply
    2. Sally Sparrow

      Similar thing to #1 happened to me as well. There is a cafe in my building and when a previous catering order fell through we brought the small meeting group down to order lunch directly from the cafe instead. There was miscommunication between me and the CW that was the liaison between the cafe, so the cafe manager came up to the office to demand payment before the end of their day (when I had been told to process through our normal check run).

      I took a copy of the receipt and a manager’s credit card and went to pay. The cashier had to re-ring the entire order and mis-entered a line (2 orders of Chips versus one package of two chips) so when she read it back neither of us could tell where the problem was. So instead she just refunded me in cash the difference. I thanked her and went back to my office.

      Twenty minutes later the cafe manager comes up and wants to talk to me about the incident because I was rude to the cashier and she wants to make sure I understand the situation. However, she was wrong on what happened (the cashier entered something incorrectly where she thought I was complaining about being charged tax, since we are a nonprofit so tax shouldn’t be charged); she didn’t know the situation had been resolved and how (received difference in cash); and to top it all off she had the incorrect amounts (and that is ignoring that I received the wrong change back by a few cents in the first place). She was even holding the new receipt. I know I had a bit of a confused/shocked/mildly irritated look but I wasn’t rude.

      Another twenty minutes later and she sends an email blast to my office’s HR/Reception team complaining about me and the situation, where she still has the wrong amounts listed and still mentions the tax issue (which I never mentioned). As a result, they won’t do business with us without payment upfront.

      The HR manager did believe me to an extent but the whole thing got my other CW in trouble. The only good thing is my boss was equally in disbelief and thought the cafe manager was ridiculous so nothing happened to me in the end.

      Reply
    3. Grey

      Clients can come up with some pretty wild stories. Many years ago when I worked maintenance, I was replacing a light fixture in an office building. I touched a piece of metal and got a static electricity shock, like you get when touching a doorknob at home. I was working with electricity so it spooked me enough to draw my hand back rather quickly.

      The office receptionist called my boss, told him I got electrocuted, and “went flying across the room”.

      Reply
      1. Super Secret Squirrel

        Wait, you jumped and pulled back your hand, and she said your whole body was found through the air, across the room?! Oh my gosh, what a wild hyperbole/lie!

        Reply
    4. Former Retail Manager

      Regarding your own story and even that of OP….I am always astonished at retail/customer service managers that instantly believe customer stories and write up their employees without hesitation. I believe that I learned the first week working retail that customers will tell anyone almost any story if it will get them what they want, even things that never happened about people who don’t even work there. My response, from a manager perspective, was always to apologize profusely, resolve their issue, and assure them that the issue would be addressed with the employee (in a stern voice). And by addressed, I always meant talk to my employee and get their side of the story before doing anything. And quite frankly, most of the time, in very heated situations, you could rest assured that you’d never get the full story from either party, employee or customer. Unless surveillance could help or a third party witness, you just did what you could and moved on. I certainly would never immediately write anyone up without hearing what they had to say first.

      Reply
      1. kas

        It definitely ruined my relationship with the manager because of the way she handled it, I wasn’t too fond of her afterwards.

        Reply
      2. Gazebo Slayer

        Eh, telling people with absurd (as opposed to legitimate) complaints that the “issue will be addressed with the employee” tells them their complaints are legitimate and reinforces their bad behavior. When I worked retail, my (usually awesome) manager bluntly told ridiculous complainers – like the woman who threatened to have her son the cop arrest us – that their complaints were unreasonable and whatever they wanted wasn’t going to happen. People like that are usually more trouble than their money is worth – most vocal and obnoxious complainers are total cheapskates.

        Reply
  19. Annie Mouse

    The organisation I work for have recently advertised for some paid, work based, training positions. They are a massive deal for people who are in the field or who want to be in the field as places countrywide are like gold dust. The first two intakes were internal only, the next two were mixed, internal and external. This was because they wanted to look after their own employees first and then open it up. It made perfect sense to me (I was internal by the time the mixed intake courses were advertised but external before that and it didn’t bother me that there were internal courses first).

    Reply
  20. Kate, Short for Bob

    You do not have to accept connections on LinkedIn You do not have to accept connections on LinkedIn You do not have to accept connections on LinkedIn You do not have to accept connections on LinkedIn You do not have to accept connections on LinkedIn You do not have to accept connections on LinkedIn

    And you can unlink from connections any time you like – they don’t get a notification, you just disappear from view

    Reply
    1. Tealeaves

      What about people that are still current coworkers and bosses? I have at least one person I would like to unlink but I wonder if it will cause drama.

      Reply
      1. Antilles

        They don’t get a notification, but there’s the “People you might know” box. And given that you probably have a couple dozen other connections in common, there’s good odds of them showing up there.

        Reply
      2. Kate, Short for Bob

        I’d just do the “how weird, you’re not the only person I seem to have disconnected from, let me look into that” – and then maybe reconnect if they raise it again.

        But since people you’re working with can just find you on company email, slack etc they don’t need an active connection to you anyway – unless they’re being needy and dumb

        Reply
  21. Ray Palmer

    #5 – I have to “interview” this week to become permanent in the job I’ve been contracted for the last 2 years. I was guaranteed the job by my bosses, but our head office required it to be advertised. It got advertised within our broad organisation, and a few places online. While only one other person applied, they were never going to seriously consider anyone else.

    It’s a weird system, and sometimes it sucks to be the person who wastes their time applying, but some organisations do it.

    Reply
  22. The Other Katie

    Why shouldn’t OP#3 just silently block Fergus on LinkedIn? This isn’t a social or professional contact she needs or wants to cultivate, given that he managed her so poorly he was fired for it, and he’s not using LinkedIn for anything other than poorly directed self-promotion. Unconnect, block, move on.

    Reply
    1. MicroManagered

      I think the only problem there is that it also says he emailed her. So when she didn’t respond on LinkedIn, he contacted her through another avenue. Blocking him on LinkedIn wouldn’t fix that email is still available as a means to contact, but could also escalate the situation if he realizes she blocked him.

      Reply
      1. eplawyer

        You can block email too.

        Just because someone contacts you does not mean you have to engage with them. ignore, ignore, ignore, delete, delete, delete, block, block, block. It’s allowed.

        Reply
      2. Tuxedo Cat

        She might be better off redirecting any subsequent messages to a folder. Somewhat related, I was stalked by someone who periodically contacts me. I was advised to not respond to emails or block him, because both give my stalker attention.

        Reply
      3. The Other Katie

        So she can delete the email. He’s not entitled to contact her, and he’s not owed a response. Attempting to appease people with poor boundaries and who don’t get “back off” and “I’m not interested” signals never works.

        Reply
  23. Traffic_Spiral

    #3: If it makes you feel better, I’d consider giving a short factual retelling of his actions. “You threatened to get me fired on multiple occasions, called my friend Ethel a b-h, [recite other bad thing of his] and generally were very unpleasant to me when I worked for you. Please don’t contact me again.” Then block him. Will it help him see the error of his ways? Probably not. Will it give you some closure and help get you in a habit of standing up for yourself, while being a pretty low-stakes confrontation? Probably.

    Reply
    1. Colette

      This is someone the company actively tried to stop entering the building. A factual account may put the OP in danger – he doesn’t seem like he’d react reasonably.

      Reply
      1. Traffic_Spiral

        Not “actively tried to stop” – put out an email saying “IF he shows up, don’t let him in.” That could have been a good precaution, could have been overreacting. Regardless, if the LW honestly feels unsafe, she should clearly go no-contact, but if she wants to respond (because he was a jerk to her and it’d make her feel better to say something) she has the option.

        Reply
      2. Miss Pantalones en Fuego (formerly Floundering Mander)

        Given that he was considered dangerous, I’d keep it to the “oh, I’m so busy I don’t know when I’ll have time” kind of response and then set up an email filter that dumps his messages into spam and block him on LinkedIn. No need for him to be able to keep track of your future professional progress.

        Reply
  24. Em Too

    Restricting to internal candidates can mean they don’t want to increase headcount overall (eg no budget, or risk of layoffs elsewhere in the organisation and want to minimise payoffs). Why they would nevertheless post on an external board I have no idea.

    Reply
    1. nonymous

      so staff can apply from home? It can also reduce work for whomever in HR is responsible for updating job boards. Instead of posting both to intranet and externally, it all gets saved to one spot.

      I worked for several years at a company that had internal postings on their intranet only and it was a pain. You check two places for potential jobs (because maybe the ones that are external would be a match too!) and then if it’s on the intranet, you have to quietly print the posting, go home and write the application, bring it back to work on a usb drive (or email it to your work address) and only then apply. Obviously ymmv, depending on how restricted internet and computer usage of a particular job.

      Reply
      1. Nikki T

        Yeah, we don’t have an intranet…so there’s no way for any of the few thousand people that work here would see a job posting unless it was posted with *all* the jobs. Plus, we can apply for all jobs, not just internal ones, so, all in one place helps.
        This is a public university, so all jobs have to be posted anyway, but some are marked “internal only” for various reasons.

        Reply
  25. Jane

    #5 Sometimes there is no new funding for a new role, but the new role is considered essential. An internal candiate already has money allocated for a salary, so if the employer fills the new role with an internal candidate they don’t have to find any new money to pay the salary. (This does, however, create a gap in staffing elsewhere in the organisation …)

    Reply
      1. Jane

        Coming back to this thread late – at my workplace internal vacancies have to advertised, even if manager has someone in mind, so that everyone has the same opportunity to progess. It’s to avoid future suggestions of favoritism and/or discrimination.

        Reply
  26. nep

    Re #1 — More I think about it, it seems increasingly likely (as others have commented) that the employee who did the transaction for you got in some trouble then made up a story about how rude you were. Because really — if it went down as you said it did, even if your attempt at humour missed the mark, seems like a disproportionate reaction to call your employer. Slow day at the bank, I guess? Too much time on their hands?

    Reply
  27. August

    #1 is absolutely mystifying to me. I’ve worked a lot of customer-facing jobs. I’ve stared into the dregs of humanity and cheerfully asked if they want a receipt. I’ve fantasized about ruining customers’ livelihoods (“He yelled at me for twenty minutes about how “the foreigners” raised the price of cigarettes! In his work uniform! Please fire this man!”). But I’ve neeeever gotten to the point where I’ve called someone’s boss and complained about their behavior. Is there different protocol for banks, or for when a customer is there on behalf of a company rather than themselves?

    Either way, the fact that your boss wrote you up with no hesitation or discussion is a bit concerning. Maybe think about whether that tendency extends to other areas of your workplace, and how willing you are to put up with that.

    Reply
    1. Corvid

      I’ve stared into the dregs of humanity and cheerfully asked if they want a receipt.

      Haha, oh my god! Perfect phrasing.

      Reply
      1. Super Secret Squirrel

        Love that phrase too! In my mind you are Doctor Who, staring into a mysterious glowing vortex.

        Speaking of which, anyone know when the female Dr Who gets to tv and I can give them my money?

        Reply
    2. Temperance

      FWIW, the only time I ever complained about a person to their boss was because the man was taking advantage of Denny’s very lax policy on “the customer is always right” and he would make a game out of making servers cry to get free food. Earl worked overnights at Walmart. He showed up in his vest with his name tag on, and would proceed to call us stupid, say racist things about our owner (who is Asian and not a native English speaker), and would more or less threaten our jobs.

      After he tried to bully me and call me stupid … I called Walmart and pretended to be a customer at Denny’s, and let them know that he was coming in the early morning and bullying the staff. I’m sure that they picked up that I was one of the wait staff, but … Earl never came back. ;) (Earl is his real name. Jerks don’t get anonymity.)

      Reply
      1. August

        Oooooh, I can’t stand when someone is terrible AND a regular. In my last job, I was lucky enough that when someone was that blatantly abusive on multiple occasions, my manager would step in and be like “please stop screaming at our cashiers.” Good for you though, take no prisoners with the Earls of this world!

        Reply
      2. Sunshine on a cloudy day

        Oh wow – back in the day I was a server at a very corporate restaurant. We had someone come in regularly and do the weirdest/most ridiculous things to get free food (we caught her once dumping something from a small ziplock bag onto her plate then later tried to claim there was glass in her food). Thankfully she didn’t seem to want to get anyone in trouble (though she wouldn’t hesitate to say anything about a server/host/bartender if she thought it would help her case, I’m just saying her goal was the free food). It got the point that whenever she came in a manager would be alerted and they would monitor her the entire meal, then usually just comp her on whatever she complained about (we all lived in terror of anything escalated to corporate).

        And then one day… She asked for an application.

        Reply
      3. Gazebo Slayer

        You’re awesome for doing that! Earl and people like him are scum, and unfortunately “customer is always right” policies actively reward scamming and actively collude in their abusive behavior toward staff.

        Racial harassment by customers still counts morally (and legally) as racial harassment by the employer if the employees are required to tolerate it. Same goes for sexual harassment by customers.

        Reply
    3. Liane

      Was about to post the same sentiments.

      Line’s #1 Rule for Being a Great CSR ( without becoming overstressed):
      You can smile brightly and speak pleasantly while thinking, “You are the stupidest, rudest person I have seen in the last 30 minutes. Bless your heart.”
      If I can manage this, when my preferred response is Engineer Alice’s “Must. Control.Fist. Of. Death!” anyone can.

      Reply
    4. Birch

      Yeah, I think this says more about that teller personally. Maybe she was having a terrible day and just messed everything up, maybe she was trying to cover her mistake by throwing you under the bus, or maybe she is just a really bitter, vindictive person. I’ve been on the customer end of that–the person had me in terrified, speechless tears and threatened to have me taken by security for being “aggressive.” You just can’t tell. But I would definitely go to your boss and question why they assumed this teller was right about your behavior–ask if you come across as aggressive and rude on a daily basis, because you still can’t fathom how this misunderstanding happened. By asking, you find out if you do have an issue with the way you’re perceived, but you also allow your boss to think about their assumption. And definitely bring up the discrepancy in the stories!

      Reply
    5. MCMonkeyBean

      I was a teller for a bit and I cannot imagine a scenario where I would have called up someone’s boss unless they were like violent or threatening.

      Reply
      1. McWhadden

        I don’t think the teller did that. The boss did after hearing the story.

        Probably the boss was already taking to the LW’s boss either to confirm that LW worked there or on unrelated matters.

        Reply
    6. Jennifer

      In my experience, people are a lot more easily upset in the last five years or so. I and my coworkers have been dealing with some really vindictive, crazy people at times. I’ve gotten all kinds of complaints and been written up for the tiniest of things, I’ve had someone try to get me fired within the last year. Hell, someone threatened to sue me today if I didn’t give her what she wanted. If everyone around me isn’t 100% immediately pleased and happy at all times, my job is at risk. This was happening before the election, mind you, but as the police who have been called to my work have said, it’s all about the money and money makes everyone flip out.

      Reply
  28. Katie the Fed

    Anybody who wants to tell you about “his new venture” is probably trying to recruit you to be part of his downline in an MLM. Run! Nothing to be gained from talking to him at all.

    Reply
    1. MicroManagered

      I thought this too. Especially if they’re contacting someone they didn’t end with on a particularly good note?

      Reply
  29. Say what, now?

    OP#1, I’m sure you meant to be light hearted but I think part of the problem was how you came in. You were trying to let them know that you had an issue right off the bat, but “Who would like this problem?” comes in at kind of a negative angle. And being the first thing you said, set the tone for the transaction as being negative. Just because the teller responded kindly and was all smiles doesn’t mean that she wasn’t hurt or annoyed inside.

    When I worked in a coffee shop I would have to wait on customers and do all of the cleaning, meaning at times when it was slow I’d be in the back washing dishes. Customers thought they were really funny when they’d rap on the door to the “kitchen area” and say “Hey, does anybody even work here?” There was a window in the door and they could plainly see me up to my elbows in dishes but obviously it was my work ethic that was lacking… ugh.

    Reply
    1. Mephyle

      And yet this doesn’t speak to the fact that the problem was resolved, contrary to what the complaint claimed. That one glaring contradiction makes it so much more likely that the tone of the transaction was irrelevant.

      Reply
      1. Student

        Once the bank boss found out someone made unauthorized transactions on an account, he probably rolled them all back immediately. So the problem may, in fact, no longer be fixed.

        Reply
    2. Elizabeth H.

      I don’t understand any way that “Who would like this problem?” could possibly be interpreted with a negative angle! Could somebody who does understand it, explain it to me? It is maybe not the world’s wittiest entry line but that is not BAD.

      Reply
      1. Ex-Academic, Future Accountant

        I think it’s less about the words she used than that she walked in and addressed everyone (rather than maybe waiting a second for someone to wave her over, or something). It’s like she assumes she couldn’t possibly be interrupting anyone. The way I’m imagining it, it has a kind of presumptuous vibe, though it’s not the most egregious thing either.

        Reply
        1. Deborah

          So, I walked into the bank, it was empty. All tellers were available and said hi to me. There was a slight awkward pause ad with all of them looking at me I stated that ill-fated line meant to be light hearted. I am not normally great at social interaction, but in my mind it went smoothly. One gal piped up and said she could help. I know now not to make attempts at humor in awkward situations. Lesson learned the hard way. However, the bank is completely fabricating that I was mean, rude, and huffed off angrily when they said they couldn’t help me because I was not on the account. I am so grateful I have proof of this. My bosses also said they were shocked when the bank told them of my “behavior” because they have always found me to be extremely respectful, kind, and helpful. I hate that my character is being called into question, it makes me feel sick to my stomach.

          Reply
          1. Say what, now?

            Deborah, I’m not meaning to say that you are a bad person or even bad at interacting with people who you know. Let me tell you, I am not someone who jokes with people I don’t know and that is because I have a very wry sense of humor and have loads of experience of people misunderstanding me and my intentions. I know that my “resting bitch face” doesn’t help me out either.

            But there really isn’t any winning for me. I live in a part of the country where it’s rude if you don’t share personal information easily. People expect that you’re going to be open about your day. I find this a waste of time and unnecessary. So while I think that I’m being clear and concise, it often comes off harsher than I mean it. We just don’t have any control over how it lands with the other person. Your joke in your office may have been an ice breaker, with other people it may not be.

            Reply
      2. Say what, now?

        Yeah, it’s not the most terrible thing to say by any means. But there’s a negative here in that she came in with a sentence that signifies “I have a big problem and I want to dump it on someone.” It’s a little unceremonious and an annoying way to start off an interaction. It may also have come off as “I expect you to fight over who gets this.” Not having been there, I can’t speak to the tone so I’m not saying this in a definitive way. More a this might be why you came off as rude kind of way.

        Reply
    3. Princess Cimorene

      So I guess light-hearted sarcasm isn’t a thing? Taking things personally isn’t something most people do, especially when someone cheerfully jokes. Nuance is important here. You assuming someone was indicting your work-ethic just because they didn’t see you washing dishes is a problem that YOU have not them. The customer coming in and not seeing anyone, and jokingly and perhaps even a bit confusedly tapping on the door for service seems very very normal. You taking it to heart and thinking its a personal attack sounds like you’re someone who doesn’t do well with sarcasm and wit.

      That being said, LW probably should be aware that there are people like you working everywhere. That doesn’t make you a bad person, it just means you may not pick up on some nuance or you’re super sensitive. Your perception is probably the minority in those situations, but still valid because it is your perception, i suppose.

      However as I’ve said previously I can fully imagine the scenario and someone coming in and not being sure which teller to approach. They probably were all just staring at her (slow bank days seem incredibly boring, I’ve walked into the bank several times and have seen this same scenario to be honest) and not being sure which person to go to and to give a heads up that my transaction wasn’t going to be a normal one in a light-hearted joking way.

      You imagining her storming in angry and fussy and if she was then she wouldn’t mortified now, so I fully believe she came in cheerfully and trying to get a little smile out of bored-tellers.

      Reply
      1. Deborah

        That is exactly what it was. It was not going to be an easy normal transaction. All the bank tellers were staring at me, I didn’t really know who to go to. If I went to one, would that seem rude to the others? So light heartedly I asked, Who would like this problem? I know it probably wasn’t the best phrasing, but I had absolutely no ill intentions.

        Reply
      2. Say what, now?

        Wow, Princess Cimorene you came in a little hard there. But as I mentioned, it wasn’t the case that they couldn’t see me. There was a window in the door. They could see me quite clearly. It might be that I’m annoyed at the implication that my work ethic isn’t good enough when I’m balancing multiple tasks, but the joke itself is hardly a knee-slapper. And I’d say that your remark about light-hearted sarcasm not being a thing (even though it was meant sarcastically) is kinda true. Sarcasm, even light-hearted, is a more biting sort of humor and it’s best saved for groups where your sense of humor is known. You want to lead with kindness when you’re with strangers, especially if you’re asking for a favor (as Deborah was by asking to be helped when not on an account).

        Reply
    4. Millie M

      If the tellers are offended by that question, they shouldn’t be working in any kind of customer service job. Saying she has a problem isn’t inherently negative. It’s something that needs to be fixed. That’s what happens when you have a job, and most people who are good at their jobs will just go ahead and fix it without whining that she didn’t ask them in exactly the right way.

      Reply
  30. RP

    #4 – I can really empathize with that. I have a student worker in my office whose desk is situated behind our receptionist. If the receptionist is gone, they get dumped a lot of work. In addition, I don’t always see this. I have addressed this multiple times but office coworkers and bosses still dump tons on them.

    My working operation now is for the worker to always say yes in the moment but remind the person they are working on another big project and if it is going to take away that they were told to check with me. It has helped people figure out what is important/urgent and what isn’t. And because the worker always keeps me in the loop if I need to help them.

    Reply
  31. Liz T

    I’m pretty surprised by that advice to #3. Fergus was so abusive that OP’s whole office had to protect against physical reprisal. Shouldn’t the response be ignore, ignore, ignore until doomsday? OP can’t take back having responded once, but mightn’t further responses just encourage Fergus?

    Reply
    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Sometimes you can solve this kind of problem easily with one bland message. If he pushes after that, then yes, you definitely move to ignoring. But sometimes the single bland message solves it for you. (That said, I would have advised OP not to accept the connect at all initially; it’s because she did — which is a type of interaction — that I’m advising the single bland message now.)

      Reply
            1. Ask a Manager Post author

              If it’s not, she can block him at that point. But it gets you a better outcome enough of the time that I think it makes sense to try. And then she can block, not engage, etc.

              Reply
    2. For real tho

      I agree with you 100% and was surprised to see this advice. OP, just ignore/block. You don’t owe him anything.

      Reply
  32. Zathras

    I suspect people are right about the teller getting in trouble and throwing OP under the bus.

    That said, in general, making a joke in a customer service interaction can be kind of obnoxious. 99% of the time the customer service person has heard the joke many times before. A lot of people are also not good judges of whether strangers can tell they are joking. Often the safest thing to do as the CS person is to respond as if they were serious, just in case, then let the customer make fun of you for not getting the joke, which is not really a pleasant experience.

    That said, it is not even remotely “call your boss and complain” obnoxious. I worked retail for a great company and had very supportive managers, and I think maaaaybe we called the employer of the guy who assaulted a staff member while wearing his work uniform. But I’m not 100% sure we did even in that case! (We did call the police and ban him from the store.)

    Reply
  33. Brigitte

    OP #1 – What I suspect is that the teller got in trouble for working with you and created a story to cover the fact that she volunteered to help you. If you’re not on the account, the bank is liable for any losses that could come from a transaction with you.

    Depending on the level of risk, this can be a friable offense.

    Reply
    1. MashaKasha

      Yup that is the only reasonable explanation I can come up with.

      I might join the other commenters in erring on the side of “well maybe OP sounds rude and does not know it”, but the fact that the bank stated the problem was not fixed, when OP says it was, throws a whole new set of variables into this problem. Why on earth would a service provider swear that they had not helped a client, when they, in fact, had?

      Reply
      1. MCMonkeyBean

        I’m unclear why everyone is saying the bank stated the problem was not fixed. What I see is that they said she snapped at them when they told her they couldn’t help her–which OP says they did tell her that first. Then they did end up fixing the problem, and presumably the implication on the phone call was that they did so after she snapped at them and before huffing off.

        I not saying that she *did* snap at them or huff off. But if that’s what the bank is claiming I don’t see how that is disprovable just by saying the problem did get solved, because I don’t think they are claiming it didn’t. That part just isn’t relevant to the complaint so it isn’t a focus.

        Reply
        1. MashaKasha

          Good point, I guess that depends on what they meant by “huffed away” when they said “then huffed away after snapping at them when they told me they couldn’t help me since I wasn’t on the account.”

          Presumably they worded it differently. I would like to know what they said, because I’m not sure how to read this. Did they say that she walked away huffing the moment they told her they could not help, or that she stood there and huffed while they eventually helped her?

          Reply
          1. Lindsay J

            I interpreted it as “After I told the OP that I couldn’t help her because she wasn’t on the account, she snapped at me [so then I helped her]. At the end of the transaction she was still huffing about the poor customer service as she was leaving [even though her issue had been solved].”

            Though it really is ambiguously worded. I didn’t even think of the the whole “She was standing there just huffing away the entire time while I tried to help her” possibility.

            Reply
          2. Deborah

            They told my employers that I snapped at them and huffed away after they told me that they could not help me because I was not on the account. When that didn’t happen at all. They told me they couldn’t help me, I asked if I could call my manager (who they knew very well, and was waiting on standby) to get authorization. Then I was told no, that they would help me this once. It took about 20-30 minutes to fix the problem. I heard the manager tell the teller that I would have to wait for a receipt. I was within earshot, and made a comment that I didn’t mind waiting, and I could pick up the receipt later. Then after the problem was fixed, I thanked the teller and left. She then called me later that evening stating my receipt was ready to be picked up. I told her thank you again, and that she was awesome. That was it. I was not angry, I didn’t snap, or huff off. There was no reason to be, it wasn’t a personal venture, it was for my boss who asked me to go in her stead. I knew there was a possibility they couldn’t help me, and I was prepared for that. Not to mention it was a long day, and I was ready to go home, so if they couldn’t help me, that meant I got to go home that much sooner. There was no reason for me to be upset. Not to mention the fact that the teller did help me and I have proof of it. Even though their complaint said that they didn’t help me.

            Reply
        2. Perse's Mom

          I read it as the person from the bank saying LW demanded they fix X, the bank said they couldn’t because the LW isn’t on the account, so LW left in a huff (with problem unresolved). Thus LW’s confusion, because according to her, the issue WAS fixed while she was at the bank.

          Reply
        3. Lindsay J

          This is the the way I interpreted it as well and I’m really surprised that everybody else seems to be interpreting it differently and seizing on it as evidence that the bank must be lying about the entire transaction.

          Reply
        4. Deborah

          Aloha :) I am op1. The bank complained that they told me they couldn’t help me because I wasn’t on the account, and that because of that I huffed away angrily, when in fact they did help me, and solved the problem. I thanked them and walked out. Their reason of stating that I was mean and huffed away was because they wouldn’t help me, so the fact that they did help me, proved that claim wrong. I was nothing but smiles and nice the rest of the time. I even heard them say that it would take awhile to be fixed, and I told them I don’t mind coming back another time. Because this meant I got to go home early, if the problem couldn’t be fixed until later. So I would have been happy with either out come. But either way, they completely lied about the situation, and I am mortified that my relatively new employers think this of me.

          Reply
  34. Channel Z

    OP1, if you talk to your boss about the situation, it may be worth asking if you advertently come across as rude at other times. Because if you do, then it would happening at your current employers as well, and possibly that is why they were ready to believe the story. As far as changing it, that is more difficult if you haven’t been aware of it in the first place. Some type of coaching might help.

    Reply
    1. Deborah

      My employers told me they were shocked to hear this from the bank, because they found me respectful, kind and helpful. That there were definitely holes in the banks story, and that it doesn’t add up, but why would the bank lie. That is how it ended. :(

      Reply
      1. Princess Cimorene

        Your employers telling you they know you to be respectful and kind and helpful but then writing you up is really a mindf*ck. sorry that this is so mortifying and confusing. I hope it ends up resolved in your favor next week.

        Reply
  35. Former Retail Manager

    OP#5….Alison’s advice is spot on. I am currently a federal employee and I remember when I was trying to get hired initially, I thought that all of these internal postings I saw were will within my range of skills and I was miffed that they were internal only. However, after being with the organization for quite a while, I now see why those same positions are posted as ‘internal only.’ There is absolutely no way that anyone off the street could do the job efficiently, in the amount of time expected, without prior organization knowledge. In my personal experience, I’ve noticed that either the aforementioned scenario or the company already has someone in mind for the position and posting is a formality, tends to almost always be the case. Try not to be discouraged & best of luck in your search!

    Reply
  36. MashaKasha

    No valuable input, just wanted to say that I am reading the comments on #1 with my eyes bugging out of my head, in total shock, and counting my blessings. Not only did something like this never happen to me in my life (unless you count an incident at a sleepaway camp when I was 8 and the girl who accused me of being mean was 7 and I got in trouble), but on more occasions than I can count, I thought I was being abrasive or sarcastic and the other person apparently perceived me as very nice. That’s the feedback I have always gotten in my life. “Very nice”. E.g, after a job interview “she’s very nice, she has the qualifications, but isn’t a good fit”. That’s how nice I come across! Without even trying. I was so shocked to read OP1’s letter, because I imagined how helpless I’d feel if it happened to me – that, no matter what I do, I cannot control the other person’s perception of me. Then I read the comments and apparently it happens a lot to a lot of people! How scary. I guess my takeaway from this should be for me to be open to the people that I talk to myself, and to assume that they have the best intentions unless 100% proven otherwise. IOW, not to be that teller.

    Reply
    1. Deborah

      I do feel completely helpless. I know the truth, I know that they are lying, but there is nothing I can do about it. I could lose my job over this. I am so disheartened, that I don’t even know if I want to stay employed by people that think this of me, even if they don’t know me well enough to know otherwise. Thank you for your words on my problem.

      Reply
  37. KEM

    OP#2- The SAME thing happened to me last Fall. There was a verbal commitment for a certain day but they then scheduled me for the day I told them I couldn’t do. My fault for not properly reading the email.
    Problem was, they didn’t call me when I failed to show up and they were shocked when I did show up on the verbally committed to date. Despite apologies, they were not too impressed and the director of the agency said if i wanted to be employed there, I would have found a way to make it on the date specified in the email (I HAD A FUNERAL THAT DAY.).

    Needless to say I didn’t get the job. Bullet dodged.

    Reply
    1. EvilQueenRegina

      Someone who temped at my old job had an interview somewhere once, she got there and they were really frosty towards her for no obvious reason. The interview went ahead, but as she was leaving they said to her “By the way, why were you so late? We were expecting you at 10am”. They had sent her a letter with one time and recorded it on their schedule as another time. She had the letter with her so was able to prove it was their error and she wasn’t late. She didn’t get that job but also ended up deciding she dodged a bullet on that one.

      Reply
  38. LQ

    #4 happens …because of me? To my boss anyway all the time. His boss would give me work, or someone else in the org would give me work and wouldn’t go through him. Partly it was fine (and even good because we were trying to make our department/area seem really welcoming and eager to support other areas of the business) and occasionally it meant I was doing things I shouldn’t be. It has been much much easier for me to reach out to boss and let him know that Wakeen in accounting needs me to do x, or his boss assigned me to do y and it will take so much time and what might get pushed aside. With an intern you might want them to just come to you so that you can estimate time, get clarification, prioritize etc. I think the right way to get this is try to get your boss to go through you, but really the key will be getting the intern to come back to you each time.

    Reply
  39. Allison

    Gah, #1 is my nightmare! I’m often worried that someone will track down my employer, or a prospective employer (if I’m interviewing), or my boyfriend, my dance school, or my parents to complain about me being rude. I worry about this every time I’m even the tiniest bit aggressive, cranky, frustrated, or just raise my voice regardless of the reason. I try to be a good little girl, especially towards people in customer service, but I’m only human and I have bad moments like everyone else.

    Maybe your “who would like this problem?” sounded bad, even if your tone was lighthearted. Maybe (if you’re a woman) these bankers are old fashioned folks who expect women to be effortlessly, flawlessly sweet at all times and you failed to meet that standard. Maybe the banker was covering her butt. Maybe the person who complained heard the story in the breakroom and misinterpreted what happened. Who knows? What’s concerning is that your boss believes them and isn’t even asking for your side of the story, but maybe that’s because you’re still new.

    2) The whole point of a confirmation is to make sure the interview was scheduled for the correct date and you’re definitely coming, you should have caught the discrepancy in the email and said something. You can apologize and explain it was out of character to miss that, and that you’re a stickler for punctuality, but it might be counted against you.

    5) What I don’t understand is why a position only open to internal candidates is posted publicly like that. There should be a way for them to alert current employees about the job without the general public seeing it.

    Reply
    1. Jennifer

      Oh, I had a bad moment on Monday when I had something I categorically did not want to do/was not comfortable with doing sprung upon me with no warning due to “security.” The lady telling me wanted me to smile and say that I was okay with that, but man, I was not okay with that and I could not camouflage that enough to be socially acceptable. I was trying not to rage out, but I really kinda wanted to even though I know It’s Not Her Fault. I tried complaining to another staff member later about why did they not give any warning about this, and she said the security thing had been sprung on them within the last *hour* and they had no warning about the new restrictions. So again, not their fault, but it was really hard to be all “everything’s FINE!” when they wanted me to be Fine!

      Reply
  40. CM

    OP #2, if they hold this against you after you explained and apologized, you don’t want to work there. I agree with just saying one sentence apologizing for the miscommunication, and then drop it and don’t mention it again. I have been the interviewer in this situation (also worse situations where the person really did not have a great excuse) and while it’s not ideal when you’re just getting to know each other, I think everybody should be allowed one screw-up.

    Reply
  41. Rocky the Lemur

    #5. I agree with everyone addressing this, but also see another advantage (especially in jobs with background or heavy primary verification): hiring internally is often much faster. In my current org, there were requirements both before and after posting externally that made it very arduous. I think they are better now, but it still is a reason I hear to post internally only. Because we are so large, internal only are posted widely. In addition, some people eligible to be considered “internal” candidates may not have access to our intranet. So it’s posted publically to reach all potential internal candidates.

    Reply
  42. Essie

    LW #1, all speculation about your “tone” and body language aside, the bank’s facts about this incident directly contradict your facts. You understood the issue to be finished. They claim the issue went unfinished. I suggest tracking down this discrepancy before putting any brain power into the social aspects–you needed a business matter dealt with, and if they are correct, it ISN’T dealt with.

    It’s probable that the wildly different interpretations of the incident will start to gel as you delve further.

    Reply
    1. Mephyle

      And I hope very much for #1 that the issue was fixed, and that it doesn’t turn out to be another lie in this nest of falsehoods.

      Reply
      1. Deborah

        Yes, the issue was fixed that day, and I have tangible proof of that fact. So the bank stating that I huffed away angrily when they said they couldn’t help me is false. No matter which way they look at it, the out come of what actually transpired doesn’t match up to their claim. I am so grateful I have that going for me. There is one more claim from the bank that I didn’t mention in the original question. They stated on another day I walked in their demanding a bank statement and that I was upset, and snapping at them for not having the statement on time. Another outright lie, because this incident happened when I was being trained for the position. My trainer was with me, and was on the account. She asked them for a copy of the bank statement, and they said it would be ready in about 2 hours. I didn’t even say a word because I was still training. My trainer is a witness that this never happened as well. The only thing I can think of is that they knew I was connected to another business last year that filed a complaint about them, and this is their way of getting that business back, since I volunteered for them? I am not sure though, the whole situation seems completely unreal. It hurts a lot. I know I probably shouldn’t let it, but it does.

        Reply
  43. LawBee

    #1 sounds like someone complaining on someone else’s behalf, whether by request or not. Definitely address it with your manager.

    #3 – I wouldn’t say “swamped right now”, it opens the door to the “but when? Now? Next week?” which is worse. If you must respond, be very clear that you’re not interested in “catching up”. Be polite and professional, but don’t open even the tiniest window or respond in any way afterwards. Delete those messages unread. Ugh, what a jerk.

    If you’re concerned about your safety and feel like you need to know where his brain is at, have a partner or friend check the messages for you.

    Reply
  44. anon4now

    OP #1…its feels to me like the bank employee who helped you did something she was not supposed to do, and when called out on this by their supervisor, claimed your behavior was threatening to them so they had to.
    At a minimum, I would submit a written response detailing your account of events to go with the write up. I’d then look for new employment. Your employer did not even ask you if the allegations were true, which shows they have no loyalty to you.

    Reply
  45. Aphrodite

    OP #1, I am so sorry this happened. Others above have made comments similar to what I would say so I will simply say this: Thank you! Thank you for sharing this issue because it has made me super aware of things that may have contributed to a situation I am now in. Potential unconscious actions have damaged me as well but your letter and the responses are very insightful and helpful to me.

    Reply
  46. Emma UK

    OP1- My guess would be that the teller got in trouble for helping you when you weren’t on the account- so made up the story to show mitigating circumstances.

    Reply
  47. jojo mcscroggles

    pretty typical to only post internally at first or at all – particularly since a company may want to cultivate internal talent. it can actually be pretty demotivating to watch your company hire a bunch of senior positions externally and watch your advancement opportunities dry up…of course that sort of thing tends to work itself out naturally when people move on to be someone else’s external hire.

    Reply
  48. Phoenix Programmer

    #5 Everywhere I have worked they post internal for at least 3 weeks before opening up to all. It has its benefits and shortcomings but overall I like it.

    Reply
    1. saminrva

      I know of at least one university that does this too — the posting is “internal only” for 2 weeks or 10 days or something and then it opens to everyone after that. I don’t have an explanation for why they do that or who it benefits at a university where the hiring process is slow anyway (i.e. they’re probably not actually filling the job in that initial period).

      Reply
  49. bopper

    As always, there are toxic people who are trying to convince you not to listen to your Gut. Read “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin DeBecker to learn how to listen to your gut.

    Block this guy.

    Reply
  50. McWhadden

    OP#1 I have a close friend who worked her way up at a bank starting at teller. And local branches (even of major banks) definitely form very close professional relationships with businesses. That is probably why your boss believed the story (they likely have known the bank rep for awhile) and it’s why trying to discredit them is a fruitless endeavor.

    I am sure you weren’t rude and that this was all a huge misunderstanding or intentional deflection because the teller got in trouble for helping you. But there really is absolutely no benefit to you to do anything other than apologize. Say you had no idea you came off that way and didn’t intend it.

    Trying to fight the bank’s account is just a dead end. There were several tellers there presumably corroborating the story. Your office likely has been doing business with the bank for a long time and they probably don’t do this a lot.

    I’m sorry. It’s one of those little injustices that might haunt you forever (I have several of those.) But it doesn’t have to be a major issue at work.

    Reply
    1. Mephyle

      Except, there is a very important benefit to finding out whether the issue was truly resolved or whether that was just another story.

      Reply
      1. McWhadden

        Well, she has access to the statements and she’d be able to see whether it was truly corrected or not. She realized an error because the statement was wrong.

        Reply
      2. Deborah

        The bank stated they couldn’t help me and that I walked off angrily and in a huff, after snapping at them for not helping me. The truth is they did help me, the problem was resolved that day and I have the receipt to prove that the problem was resolved, and that because of that, they are lying to the fact they didn’t help me and I got angry. :/ So if I have several pieces of evidence that shows their complaint is a lie, should I still show this to my employers?

        Reply
    2. MashaKasha

      Your comment makes sense for this one incident, but how would you advise the OP to go about her future interactions with the bank? Nothing like this ever happened to me, and all I can think of is I’d be terrified to walk into that minefield with a work-related inquiry again. But she *will* need to; her employer is this bank’s client and she is the bookkeeper. Other than wearing a bodycam, what should OP do?

      Reply
      1. McWhadden

        I think the only thing to do is be super polite but formal and act like it never happened.

        If the bank starts picking apart her behavior and complains again that would be really, really odd behavior for a financial institution. And then it’s a whole other ballgame.

        Reply
      2. Deborah

        The bank has requested I do not go in again. If by any odd chance I have to go in again, I will be recording everything. I can’t let this happen again.

        Reply
  51. Kat

    OP #5: I previously worked at a large public university. We were required to post all open positions on our website, for a minimum of 2 weeks, even if we knew we wanted to hire an internal candidate. There was no exception. Sometimes they limited it to internal applicants because it was basically a promotion for one person to get a higher salary, sometimes it was because they had someone who had already been trained and was doing the position unofficially, and sometimes it was because they knew there was a lot of internal interest. Either way, the job HAD to be posted whether it was internal or external.

    Reply
  52. apparently not the only fashion designer here

    In regards to #5, I wonder if it would be worth it to submit your application materials anyway, or would that be a strike against you for future positions?

    The way I see it is that it couldn’t hurt because it’s likely they’ll just trash your resume, but there’s an off-chance that someone could see it and decide that you’re at least worth interviewing. I’d imagine that most people wouldn’t blackball you for something like that, but I don’t have any hiring experience to back that up. Anyone else have a similar thought?

    Reply
    1. KC

      There is a specific reason why they’re only hiring internally. If I got an external candidate, it would be a total red flag for me. I’d wonder if they even read the job or instructions, and assume they were applying to everything willy-nilly. In a case like this, I’d rather the candidate reach out to me (LinkedIn or similar) to confirm their eligibility before wasting their time (and mine) in applying.

      Reply
      1. Cherith Ponsonby

        Would it make a difference if the external candidate included something in their cover letter to the effect of “I realise this position is posted for internal candidates only, but if you do decide to consider external candidates, I’d be very interested in talking further”? (please forgive the suboptimal wording, my brain is not working at peak functionality today)

        I ask because I can see myself doing this as a jobseeker, thinking it would be less intrusive than contacting the hiring manager on LinkedIn or by email – if you’re never going to consider external candidates then you can just trash their application, but if a candidate reaches out to you directly then you have to take the time to read their message and (presumably) write back. I’ve never done any hiring, though.

        Reply
  53. Arielle

    Something similar to #1 happened to me at my very first job! I was working as a paralegal at a Big 10 law firm, and some member of the press called my desk phone trying to get in touch with a partner I had never heard of, and was trying to get me to transfer their call. They would not let me get off the phone. They would not hang up and call the main phone number. In trying to explain that they had called a random desk, I said something to the effect of, “I’m not a receptionist, I’m a paralegal.” This was not meant to indicate that transferring phone calls was in any way below me, but just that I absolutely was not equipped to help them and could not get them to the person they wanted to talk to.

    Well, this didn’t go over well. 30 minutes later I got a phone call from my boss screaming at me because I had been “snooty and rude” to someone on the phone. Apparently this had been some very important person who was on some kind of time crunch to talk to this very important partner, but instead of looking them up in the employee directory (which I guess they somehow managed to find) they had taken the time to look ME up instead and figure out who my boss was.

    Reply
      1. Deborah

        This is exactly why I don’t like complaining about people. You never know their intentions, or heart. I always try to give others the benefit of the doubt. I wish this wouldn’t have happened to me, and I am sorry it happened to you too :( . Oh I am OP1 btw :)

        Reply
  54. Katie Fay

    #3: if the OP was actually frightened that Fergus would blame him/her for his firing and retaliate why ever connect on LinkedIn? (an invitation to connect must be accepted) DISCONNECT!

    Reply
  55. Lady Phoenix

    OP #3: Block the asshole. Don’t reapond or anything. Just block ’em. This is one connection that does not need to be made

    Reply
    1. Kyrielle

      Normally I’d agree, but now that the connection is made, there’s a small but sadly non-zero chance that the asshole will overreact if he realizes he’s been blocked. The bland reply Alison suggests and ignoring him (and then releasing the connection and blocking some good while later when he’s hopefully forgotten about the OP) may be safer here.

      If the letter had come in before accepting the connection, I’d have advised not to connect – but it’s late for that, and if you’re connected to someone and then not connected to them, it’s not super hard to guess what happened. And a grouchy monster of a person might not take that as time to move on the way you’d hope.

      Reply
  56. Chrissy

    OP #1 – I don’t know what it is about your letter, but I truly feel your sincerity and I’m sorry that someone chose to interpret your actions unkindly rather than give you the benefit of the doubt. I would actually be hurt to be accused of that kind of behavior since it is also against my nature. I hope you can clarify this misunderstanding with your boss. Best of luck.

    Reply
    1. Deborah

      Thank you so much Chrissy. It means a lot, and these posts have definitely helped me work through this problem, or at least made to feel a bit better. -OP1

      Reply
  57. whatwhat

    #3 I am wondering why you connected with him on LinkedIn(!) You can ignore connection requests; I do it all the time. I’d disconnect immediately.

    Reply
  58. Neurotic

    #2: Not to give you any false hopes, but this happened to me a few years ago. I missed the second interview and they called me, asking me why I hadn’t shown up. I nearly fell out of my chair when I realized the mix up and profusely apologized for the mistake. When they gave me an alternative time to make up my interview I asked them, “because of my mistake, is there even still a chance that you will seriously consider me?” There was a long pause, but then she reassured me that they would still consider me. I ended up getting the job, in spite of my error. I think it’s a good sign that they are still offering a time for you to interview. Why would they waste their time if they consider an error like this to be indefensible? I also agree with Alison’s advice on how to address this at your interview.

    Reply
    1. Lindsay J

      We had something like this happen with a candidate.

      In our previous round of hiring, we thought she was just a no-show for her interview.

      Turns out there was a miscommunication between her and the HR scheduler – she missed an email or something.

      We had scrap the hiring process and restart for a different reason. She reapplied and got an interview again. We’re strongly considering her – she’s one of our top 2 candidates right now.

      She has a strong job history otherwise and we figure she wouldn’t have stayed with her current company for years or have a good reference from past employers if she really was so flaky that she regularly misses important dates, so we’re treating it as a one-off.

      And, I mean, I know myself that I’ve screwed up important dates and stuff like that before. Or had to ask to reschedule interviews because of things like funerals. So while we definitely did notice it, it wasn’t an insurmountable issue for her candidacy. And if it had been we wouldn’t have agreed to interview her again.

      Reply
  59. MHR

    #5 – It’s also possible that the job is currently open only to internal candidates, and once they have those candidates interviewed they will see if they have anyone qualified and if not will open it up.

    Reply
  60. Ophelia Bumblesmoop

    OP #2: When I was interviewing for an internal position in another college/department at my University, my interviews were held in a conference room with two entrances: one through the Dean’s main office and a private entrance off the hall. The first interview directed me to wait at the private entrance and the committee would greet me. The second interview was with the Dean and Chair. On the phone when I scheduled I was told to come to the conference room. In the confirmation email, I double checked the date and time and it looked fine. I missed the added note to use the main office. I stood outside the conference room, hearing the Dean and Chair (muffled) talking until 5 minutes past my interview start time. I double checked the email, saw the arrival note, and panicked. When I properly joined the interview, I apologized profusely, explained what happened, and since I had the fortune of previously interacting with both individuals, I knew them well enough to make some self-effacing jokes about it. I’m pretty convinced that the way I responded was what secured the position – I took it seriously since it was such an obvious mistake, but I didn’t browbeat it or show desperation/panic because of it. I made a mistake, owned it, and moved on.

    Mistakes don’t have to be the end of the hiring process. It can be a chance to show the hiring manager/committee how you respond.

    Reply
  61. Beth Anne

    OP#1 The thing that seems weird is that it seems like she just took it upon herself to go to the bank when she probably should have gone to her boss about it and then her boss take care of it or she call the bank and give her permission to take care of it. The whole thing is very weird.

    Reply
    1. Deborah

      My boss was the one who told me to go because she said she didn’t have time. I told her that they may not help me because I am not on the account yet. She said to just try. I asked her to keep her phone by her in case I could call for authorization, she said okay. I am Op1 btw :)

      Reply
    2. Jeanne

      She states in a comment that her boss was waiting for a possible bank call to verify that this employee was authorized to do the transaction. The boss knew where she was and why.

      Reply
  62. Wakeen's Duck Club

    2. I once missed an interview, got it rescheduled after the fact, then got the job. Missing an interview time is not the end of the world.

    Reply
  63. Statler von Waldorf

    #1 – I’ve been a bookkeeper for almost 20 years now. I’ve dealt with every bank in my small town to the point where I can walk into any one of them and get called out by name. Once, I was called “the Norm” of one local bank by a new teller who was boggled after five different tellers said hello to me. I’ve even worked at one of those banks, though only for about three weeks over 20 years ago. The joke that you lead with isn’t the problem, though I will echo some other commentators that it probably didn’t help you either.

    I’d bet every single dollar I have that the teller threw you under the bus to save themselves after they broke protocol. There is zero doubt in my mind that is exactly what happened. That really sucks, and I feel for you, but what sucks worse is that isn’t even your real problem.

    The real problem is your boss. Bookkeepers live and die by the trust that they build as part of their job. Your boss just took someone else’s word over yours without giving you a chance to give your side of the story. This is a much bigger deal than for a bookkeeper than for many other jobs. I strongly recommend you update your resume and start looking for a new job, because this is as big a red flag as I can imagine. If a cash shortage or weird anomaly appears in the books, can you trust your boss to believe you when you say you didn’t steal it? If you can’t, you have a much, much bigger problem than a rogue bank teller.

    Reply
    1. Deborah

      This is my first job as a bookkeeper and I didn’t even think of the bigger issue you mentioned. I can’t thank you enough for those words of wisdom! I actually am applying for my dream job as a certified personal financial counselor working with military members in December. I am crossing my fingers. :)

      Reply
    2. Jeanne

      Yes. I don’t think the bank teller is the main problem. I believe her big problem is her boss, who refuses to support her employee who has worked there for X years over an unknown teller.

      Reply
  64. Koala dreams

    OP nr 1:
    I’ve read the comments and I have a different understanding of this issue than most people. Maybe I’m off, but I’ll put my perspective here just in case. You can just disregard it if you don’t think it’s relevant.

    In my experience, bank tellers are very serious about only doing business with the people named on the account. I’ve been at the bank with the account holder right next to me, and even though the account holder just explained that they were the one who invited me to go with them, I’ve got quite a reaction. I only said hello and my name, and I got a stern lecture about how the bank tellers are not authorized to talk to anybody else besides the account holder.

    I find it quite likely that the teller became suspicious right from the beginning, when they heard your name and the name of you company. The moment they realized that you were not the account holder, your conversation had already gone wrong. Everything after that got shadowed by these suspicious. If the account holder had walked into the bank and behaved the same way, the teller might have perceived the exact same behaviour as polite, but since they were suspicous of you they saw every part of the interaction in this light.

    I don’t have any real advice for you since I wrestle with similar issues in my communication with bank tellers. It has been very though-provoking for me to read the different advice on this. Thank you for writing in and sharing your experience!

    Reply
  65. Anonymousaurus Rex

    #5 – The company I work for often lists jobs for internal candidates first, and then if no one suitable applies, opens the job up externally after a certain amount of time. The idea in this case is (in addition to what Alison said about giving employees an opportunity to climb the ladder) that in cases where there needs to be downsizing internal candidates have preference and get a chance at an internal job-change rather than being laid off. This is tricky because it doesn’t always produce the best candidates, but it does build goodwill within the company and helps to buffer fears of job insecurity.

    Reply
  66. MommyMD

    The bank employee was completely out of line. So was your employer for writing you up without your side of the story. It sounds as if you encountered a lazy employee who was miffed that they had to go the extra mile to solve the problem. That employee should be reprimanded not you.

    Reply
  67. Noah

    I think that’s terrible advice for #1.

    Currently, boss thinks she was very rude to a bank employee.

    If she says what Alison recommends, Boss with think either:
    1. She is lying; or
    2. She is not aware of her own behavior.

    Even if OP #1 is totally right about what happened, Boss is going to think #1 or #2.

    I think the status quo is better than either option 1 or option 2.

    Reply
  68. SirTechSpec

    OP/LW #5: At my org we always post jobs “for internal candidates only” first, and only if no qualified internal applicants can be found do we then open it up externally. One reason, as Alison pointed out, is that turnover is pretty low and promotions qua promotions are extremely rare – typically the only path to career advancement is to apply for an open position, so we want to make sure that’s as realistic an option as possible.

    The bigger reason, though, and one that’s probably more valid than any of the justifications usually given, is that we’re the largest employer in the area by a wide margin, and spouses/partners of internal applicants are also considered internal. If we want to attract the best people, some of whom want or need two-income households, we either have to explicitly make “trailing spouse” hires, which is a tad autocratic, a big hassle, and not especially realistic to coordinate on a regular basis; or provide a system like this whereby spouses get a head start and can thus reasonably expect to find a job before too long. Not saying it’s not weird, but I think it’s an appropriate balance between individual needs (to have both partners working) and our needs as an organization (to only have people working at jobs that actually need doing, and ensuring that they meet some minimum standard of competence.) We can and do pass over internal candidates and open it up to the broader world, so at least in our specific case, it’s worth making a note if there’s a position that’s perfect for you but currently listed as internal-only.

    Reply
  69. House of Cats

    OP #1: Wait, you got written up at work because the bank said you were rude!? Alison didn’t address that part in her response. That seems crazy to me, regardless of whether you were rude at the bank or not. Also, the bank reported that they were not able to fix your problem, but they actually did fix it. So, it sounds like they did not give an accurate report to your manager, which makes them less credible to me.

    Reply
    1. Deborah

      I am the Op1, and I agree that their credibility is lacking, especially since i have tangible proof that half of their claim is false. My employers only told me “Why would the bank lie?”

      Reply
  70. Ursula M.

    “I want to apologize again for the miscommunication about the interview date. I’d thought we’d confirmed Tuesday when we spoke on the phone, but regardless I’m mortified — I’m neurotic about getting appointment times correct, and I can assure you this isn’t my normal M.O.”

    Really? You recommend saying “I’m neurotic” in an interview?

    Reply
    1. Ursula M.

      Ah, I see this was covered before and you’re refusing to accept that it’s not professional language. Cool.

      Reply
  71. Bea

    You went into the bank to work on a statement issue O_o

    Is there a reason you didn’t call them about it instead? I have been a bookkeeper for almost two decades and would never ask a teller about a statement issue. That’s a phone call and you can give them your FEIN, so they rarely need you on the account to fix any issues.

    Our bank got scolded by my boss once and they’re now afraid to speak to him, so it’s so odd that they took your visit so poorly without you having done something egregious BUT I know some people are fickle gross humans who will complain because they suddenly decide that you’re rude. We had someone snap at one of my employees who asked for clarification on an order just the other day, ranting at him for being hostile when he was absolutely nothing of the sort, I was sitting right next to him listening since I’m still training him. Argh.

    Reply
  72. Deborah

    I didn’t call them because the bank is very close to my office, and the issue was a complex problem, that I needed to show them, so they could understand exactly what happened, and find out where the issue was. It took about 30 minutes to fix.

    Reply
  73. I love this community

    Using “Who would like this problem?” is like leading with “You aren’t going to like this.” or “I have something horrible to tell you.” Not that I believe the bank employees, because I don’t. I get that the OP was trying to be humorous, but maybe that wasn’t the best opener. (Altho I say things like that fairly often because I get nervous/have social anxiety issues.)
    When I was in my twenties, I had a car loan thru our “hometown” bank. My mom – at that time in her 50’s – used them since she was in her teens and her prestigious employer of 25+ years did as well.
    My mom called me one day while I was at work and told me the bank CALLED HER to let her know that I was going to be late with my car payment if I didn’t pay it that day. My mom did NOT co-sign my car loan…
    Small town bank awesomeness….

    Reply
  74. Bookworm

    #2: You may just have to write it off. I once got a job and later found out that one of their other candidates did the same. Apparently the interviewee had been given the date/time for a phone interview, not the in-person one. I don’t know if that was what killed the candidacy but it didn’t help.

    It happens. Sometimes all you can is live and learn. It may turn out that if you *don’t* get the job it was better that way (trust me, even though I got that job I realized I was miserable 3 weeks into it but couldn’t back out because I had trained my own replacement at my previous temp position and the economy was terrible).

    Reply
  75. Kim

    I asked- I got the interview date wrong. I didn’t expect to get such a swift answer. I was extremely anxious about this mishap and was making me even more nervous for the job interview. After reading the reply, my anxiety disappeard and I took the advice. All was fine. Thank you so much

    Reply

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