Little did I know that when I accepted the job at the bank, that it would give me the opportunity to make a career in the banking industry. But it did. I began as a part-time teller and as I look back over my 25+ years of service, I always will be thankful to those people who affected me in some way.
As a teller, I was trained by Teri, an outstanding senior teller. Then there was our teller supervisor, Regina. Oh and I can't forget our branch manager, Rick. There was a sweetheart of a woman who worked at the desk by the name of Sherry. Each and every one of them was willing to take the time to teach me what they knew. And quite honestly, I felt blessed.
Oh, I knew that taking the initiative to learn was important so I took copies of transactions and procedures home to study. Trust me, when I say it wasn't easy in the beginning because I had majored in Accounting in college. Now some would think accounting and banking go together like two peas in a pod. WRONG! Initially, balancing for me was a nightmare. My debits should have been credits; my credits should have been debits! What a mess...and poor Regina!
However, I wanted to know what I was doing and I wanted to be darn good at it...so I never gave up. I wanted the respect of my peers because that made me feel good about myself and it made my kids proud of me...that was so important to me. After about 18 months, my manager encouraged me to apply for another position at another office. It was still part-time, but it was as a customer service rep so it was, in essence, a promotion. I had bought a suit at Bradlees, a store not far from where the kids and I lived, for the interview. Funny, but I wore that suit each time I went for a job interview within the bank...and always got the job! To me, that suit was the lucky charm.
When the folks at my branch gave me a going away party and I clearly remember, that one of the things they bought me was a black suit that had off-white piping on the jacket. It was to wear at my new job because I was no longer going to be behind the teller line. I was going to be servicing customers in the lobby. I also remember that my manager at the time, Helen (Rick had moved to another branch), wrote a little poem in the card they gave me. It said, "JP, some people think you're smart as a whip, but to me you'll always be a pip!" So, pip or not, I was on way way to a new position in the bank.
Now at that time, the kids and I were living in subsidized housing. For those of you that don't know what that is, I'll explain. It's for people who can't afford to pay a traditional rent. It's something that you have to apply for through the State. Then, once housing becomes available, they "subsidized" or supplement a portion of the rent. However, it meant that I had to swallow my pride when I went to apply, knowing that I had to "ask for help", but sometimes we all need help in some way, shape or form. And, once again, we were blessed. We had a brand new three bedroom apartment with 1 1/2 baths, living room, dining room, kitchen and full basement. The rent was about one quarter of my monthly salary, which meant that each time I received a raise or promotion, the rent would also be increased. We were so lucky to have been eligible because it certainly made life a little easier.
So, although leaving that branch, my "first home", meant another good-bye, it also afforded me the opportunity to work with another group of wonderful people...another adventure! And, anyway good-bye isn't forever.