I hesitated for a long time before I expressed my rage against this corporate machine, but now that my dance with this particular devil is done…let me tell you about it. For the past few years, my family has made a special effort to live more simply, pay off debt and choose a life that isn’t inspired by all the physical trappings of modern society. I’m not saying we live like monks, but we, like a lot of others working in health-care fields have suffered in this economy. We want to live responsibly and not live in the mentality of blaming the world for the challenges that we may face on any given day. Some days are better than others. Today, having gotten out from under the single most Faustian company in the world, Bank of America, I feel free. The holes in my stomach can heal, the frustration of feeling victimized by a company that is rife with story after story of malfeasance is over.
In all my discussions about power, I thought it was high time I took an opportunity to act powerfully in what, to me anyway, was a situation in which I had none. Choosing to act powerfully doesn’t always mean having the upper hand. In this instance it meant seeing a situation clearly, and also affirming the belief that I am a good and honest person who was in need of help solving a problem. That was my platform. While I think I’m a pretty good negotiator, I had a very positive and yet completely unfruitful conversation with a representative who was rendered speechless in the end even though the machine he worked for may have won, it was I, not he, who felt powerful at the end of our conversation. I was completely forthright, made no excuses, wanted to resolve a problem efficiently and then proceeded to state the truth to him that not only were they unwilling to negotiate anything, I was penalized for being truthful and responsible. Not to go into detail, any time I was put on hold so he could “check with his manager,” he came back with an even more dismal situation. I asked him how he could stand working for this company, (not at all in a mean way, but more because I was curious) given how stressful this was…he answered me, in a tired voice, that it was his job. I said, that I pride myself on working with people to solve problems and are usually successful in creating solutions where both sides can benefit. I repeated back much of what the company touted in their new campaign, that they wanted to help stay connected and help people in their ordinary lives. Being as ordinary as they come, it appeared to me that the company not only didn’t want to keep me connected they were doing their very best to make life as difficult as possible. He had nothing to say to that. Ironically, I felt good after the phone-call because I had done everything I could do on my end. I ended with phrase: “You have to know that this will catch up to your company, that the rule of the universe is that whatever you put out there comes back to you. It certainly has for the rest of us. But when you have an opportunity to help, and your company literally pays bonuses for pushing people to default, you have to know that eventually you and your company will have pay the price…even if all you do is answer the phone and relay your manager’s message…” We ended the conversation politely. I did pray for him that night, more because he didn’t seem to thrilled about working for them. I know I sounded a bit judgmental but at that moment, it seemed so true. Also, he had to go back. I don’t, and I guess that is why I win.
I learned something too. All the years our business had a relationship with this company, like millions of others, I never thought about what a monster we helped make. I get that it was done completely unwittingly, but we still did our part, and I feel most definitely we paid the consequences. Isn’t this how a lot of monsters get created? Not by one thing, but by diffusing it among the masses until they become the catch phrase…”Too big to fail” Perhaps this is why Jesus talks so much about the difficulty of a rich man getting into the Kingdom of God. Today, I cut my ties with this particular devil and will for the first time in a long time sleep well.