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Women Bullies In Investment Bank
I have started to work for a huge top ten international investment bank over 2 years ago. It was not my first job and I was hired because of my skills and good references from previous employers.
First 2 weeks seemed to be like on honeymoon. Everyone charming treated me as a part of "family".
Shortly I was offered a job in another department of my company due to my previous work experiences and knowledge. New supervisors were impressed with my work and after 3 months they offered me to stay on permanent position in their department. It was a small department again after a short period I have been accepted as a true "family member". Work demands were very high due to increased demand of our clients at that time as many of them wanted to redeem their shares in our accounts as a result of credit crunch.
I coped with my duties very well and learning new things did not make any difficulties for me.
Shortly after New Year we have been called for an appointment to audience hall and told that HR will be looking for head cuts due to financial loss of the whole group. Everyone can choose if he/she prefers to stay, be transferred to another department or chooses voluntary redundancy.
Shortly after the meeting we have been informed that our long term unit head resigned and is due to take another role in another company. 3 weeks later we had a new unit head and a new manager of our department, who was a kind of neurotic and with no experience in the type of a business which we provided to our clients. Our Unit head as well asked us to provide her with info on professional qualifications and I've found myself the only of 10 with third level diploma in law and commerce.
Next weeks were just business as usual, I have noticed that my direct supervisor and manager avoid to speak to me openly and 2 colleagues in the department started asking questions in front of everyone in relation to my work commenting "if you're going to review this documentation with such strong attention to detail, we will sit here till evening". Any small spelling mistake in 40 pages of document was a huge misconduct from my side and generally it was coming from one person on a senior position, couple of years younger than me, who was designated to check my work. After a few weeks of nit-picking I finally asked, what is the reason of her nit-picking and being rude in relation to me? Her colleague yells in the front of the whole department to me, "stop to behave like a sacred cow, everyone can see this!!!".
That moment for the first time in my professional life I lost my cold blood personality and just break down and cry. I could see how funny it was for ladies in my department.
Shortly after that I have been accused of a gross misconduct due to loss of documentation. The documentation finally was found in another supervisor locker. Of course I have not received any apology.
And situations like these started to occur on a daily, weekly basis. As well I have been a target of gossips in relation to my private life - why I rent accommodation for myself and where do I have money for such clothes. Well I always was an attractive person with a good fashion taste.
My defamation campaign started with a full effort after one meeting in our head office one day. I was informed I'm not entitled to salary increase and my performance is very poor due to my unprofessional behaviour". I have asked her what does she mean by this, she said (rather yell) "you should never react this way to the criticism, it can happened everywhere and you should do everything what your senior person wants you to do" and "I do have such overview from a couple of people in our department - your superiors". That was too much for me. In the meantime I have provided her statement with my recent appraisal note and it was saying it is very good. The next day I have received a statement with salary increase.
And from this point the living hell started with a full effort - unpleasant jokes and allusions to my appearance, allusions and trivial accusations in relation to my work, performance etc.
Finally in the end of year I have received another very good appraisal, saying that I am very strong and reliable team member and I can be promoted to higher level of duties. She handed to me statement saying I will not get any bonus or salary increase for this year, because "you have to work longer in this company to be appreciated". In the same time my colleagues from the department who were working 3 or 2 months longer than me, with lack of qualifications and worse performance, have been accredited for salary increase and bonuses. They organized a party to celebrate their success, but I have never been invited.
In the same time they discovered that I am during the course for post master qualifications desirable in our industry. My supervisor who did the same course, but failed at some stage, declined to give me study leave, declined as well to give me annual leave, despite she knew about my incoming wedding and holidays needed for arrangements.
One of her sarcastic comments were "this is a miracle how your life is going on". She was shortly redundant due to voluntary redundancies, but became very aggressive after I reported formally behaviour of a senior member of our team, who was checking my work. She was her trustful colleague. She escalated the fact to unit head saying there was always been a problem with my person and my behaviour. Later on she issued an email to me including humiliating phrases as risk of disciplinary procedure against me that the way I threat other people is causing what I am receiving in advance.
The same day I was accused of breaching security rules of organisation, despite documents were placed in our department, but not in the place where they should be in their opinion.
A nightmare occurred later that day. I came to bathroom and was washing my hands, suddenly I felt like I am losing my consciousness, strong chest pain spreading to my neck and jaw. Another lady who was in the bathroom called security and shortly I was taken to ER. The same day I received a phone call from unit head asking what happened and that she hope to see me on Monday in the office as we are so busy lately. She was shocked I was advised to stay at home for a week.
I came back to work 10 days ago and discovered that management requires me to provide additional certification from ER department in relation to that what happened. My new line manager even was shaking her hands while commenting on medical certificate - "what?? What this term means?? What is it??"
And that all in a front of HR representative and in my presence. I told them all story and HR lady asked "what are you going to do now?" I told "first I want to give my line manager an opportunity to look into this situation". She declined saying "this is a responsibility of each individual to have pleasant relationships at work". HR lady angry at my manager offered her help in an informal mediation session. I asked a few ladies for this meeting and asked what is going on. They were accusing me of dirty look, and referring general to my person, they way I work and that they feel threatened, but declined to provide the evidence and explain what exactly drives them crazy in my behaviour.
HR closed this issue and classified this a small interpersonal issue. During next week my superior started extraordinary nit picking and report to my manager that I am unable to progress to serious duties.
Next week again I fall down with chest pain in my house and was forced to take 6 weeks of sick leave.
Occupational Health doctor was appointed at this stage suggesting panic/anxiety attacks and could not believe in the situations which occurred in relation to my person. I came back to work 6 weeks later and found out that my duties were taken over by another girl from our department, having not enough experience in our industry to check my work, a senior person who made such problems constantly was now my direct supervisor. A few times I had to come back to her saying she is wrong and client will not accept this feedback. She reacted in a very unpleasant manner asking everyone around what she needs to do now. Of course her mistakes were not pointed out by anybody.
In the meantime I was accused again of breaching bank security policies because I did not move archive boxes to a secure room. In fact the same senior person was working with them checking my work done that day. They have been awarded that I shall not lift anything heavy. At one to one meeting my line manager did not want to hear anything from me and attempt to issue a formal warning breaching any rules of employee's rights. I pointed out this to her and later on I was advised to bring a certificate from my doctor saying that I shall not lift heavy boxes due to my cardiac problems (and this is only for 2, 3 boxes per month). She stopped to talk to me the next day.
I was under medical treatment that time, but again one evening I had to go to ER for the same reasons and again I am on sick leave. Company doctor says I shall not attend work in such condition and he will confirm with my GP and consultant when I can be fit to work again.
At the age of 31 I am diagnosed with a cardiac problems which can be life threading, my career just hanging on. My employer does not want me to be on sick leave anymore, my manager is extremely angry while I am notifying her of my further absence from work ("Well, I hope you do will feel better soon, Dee!!"). While on sick leave I am receiving info from my work colleagues about gossips around my person and absence, how lazy I am, what is the nature of my illness, that they have to do my job now." All this situation with my illness is really funny for them.
I try to keep the faith this will finish soon and I will come back to health soon (I have never had serious health issues in the past). I cannot lose faith in myself as this will be the end of everything.