The Naked Drive-Thru Guy And Other Life Lessons From A Bank
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A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about what about working in a bank taught me about money. As I thought more about it, though, I realized that working in a bank for seven straight years taught me many things about life as well. So I thought I’d share with you today four of the most prominent lessons that working in a bank taught me about life.
Working in a Bank Earned Me a Degree in “Life”
One of my many talents 😉 is that I have a serious gift for memorizing numbers when I want to. Phone numbers, addresses, account numbers: you name it, and I can hook you up. As a result, I worked to make my job as a bank teller easier (we serviced a large number of clients) by memorizing the account numbers of regular customers, especially those who were in the habit of forgetting their deposit or withdrawal slips on a regular basis.
This was a huge time-saver for me because I didn’t have to look up their account number on the computer before filling out a deposit slip for them. An unfortunate downside to this gift was that a handful of the most forgetful guys simply assumed that I had memorized their account numbers because I had the hots for them. Awkward!!!
Lesson Learned: People assume many things of their own fruition, which may or may not put you in a precarious situation. Establish strong personal boundaries with those in your life.
The World is Full of All Different Kinds of People…
Once when I was a teller supervisor, a meek-looking, mangy man of about 45 came up to the teller window inside the bank and handed the teller a note. Oh sh*t was the first thing that went through my mind as the teller walked the few feet from her window to where I was standing, and handed me the note.
On this list of demands, among required note denominations, was a request for twine. Luckily, the guy had a check, so the money we’d be giving him was his own (whew!). But we couldn’t figure out for the life of us why the heck he was asking us for twine!
After much conversing back and forth, it turned out that he was asking for a twenty, which he was pronouncing “twinny” and obviously had no idea how to spell it either. After compassionately working with the man to figure out what he needed, we sent him on his way, thanking him for his business and wishing him a fine day.
Lesson learned: have compassion on the poor and uneducated.
…Like Naked Drive-Thru Guy
It’s been nearly two decades since I worked as a bank teller, but as I worked to dig in the memory banks for stories for this post, one story still stands out at the forefront of my memory, and that’s the story of Naked Drive-Thru Guy, as we not-so-affectionately began calling him.
No, not kidding!
Our small but steadily growing suburb had a guy who would come, on occasion, through the drive thru naked as a jaybird. And yeah, he’d always come to the very first drive thru window. We called the cops every time, of course, and they’d chastise him, kind of like how Sheriff Andy from the town of Mayberry chastised Otis the town drunk, but the occasional visits continued.
Lesson learned: there’s crazy people everywhere; pray for them.
The Best Lesson The Bank Taught Me
However, probably the most valuable life lesson I learned from working at the bank was this one: Our bank branch hosted one of the busiest drive thru’s in the state. The branch manager, along with her mini-me teller supervisor, was a tough-as-nails, power-driven woman, and was constantly on us about being better, faster, and more accurate as we served drive thru customers.
There were about six of us who rotated working the three drive thru stations (working two lanes each), and we got along well and nearly always had fun. The branch manager and teller manager were hawks, always on us and giving us very little reward, despite our stellar performances.
Their idea of reward? We’ll stay off your back if you perform at optimum levels, and if you don’t, you’ll be dealing with the wrath of “us”. This was frustrating to us as most all of us worked our friggin’ tails off to give excellent customer service all the way around. So in order to beat the system, so to speak, we’d have self-induced contests between whoever was working the drive thru on a given day. The three of us that were working the drive thru at the time would challenge each other for most completed transactions, highest accuracy, and most friendly service in a given amount of hours.
It never failed that our average time to get customers in and out of the drive through was between 10 and 20 seconds – I kid you not. And we achieved this with accuracy rates well above 90% and sincere smiles on our faces. We did this not because we wanted to please management, but because we wanted to stick it in their faces, so to speak.
You want perfection? Okay, you SOBs, we’ll show you perfection. The down side of the stellar performance we achieved was that, to this day, whenever I go to the bank drive thru, I’m thoroughly annoyed when the teller keeps me waiting for more than 30 seconds, because I know they can do better. 🙂
Lesson learned: When someone or some circumstance works to keep you down, take no prisoners. Kick a** and take names, then move on to bigger and better things.
The “Success” Attitude
As I followed those of us who had the “kick a** and take names” attitude, we all did an awesome job of climbing the ladder and finding success within the company. Those who didn’t have that attitude faded away, or worse, fell into trouble within the company.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 47+ years here on earth, it’s that we have a choice as to how to handle every situation, good or bad, that comes our way. We can do it with a victor’s attitude, or we can do it with a victim’s attitude. We can leave the day, the person or the situation better than we found it, or we can leave it worse than we found it. As the famous basketball coach, John Wooden, once said: Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.
What has your job, or previous job, taught you about life that’s been the most valuable to you? Have you ever worked in a bank? If so, what did it teach you about life? What have your jobs taught you about people?
Photo courtesy of: Betsssssy