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As a former Financial Advisor, I use to think that Financial Abuse was only something Bernie Maddoff did to his unaware investors over a decade ago and certainly it was abuse.
Working with the Nonprofit, “We Leap Inc., Ms. Gwen McLeod, and researching abusive behaviors I have learned it is so much more than a corrupt person scamming money from their clients. It can take place anywhere an unequal balance of power exists between a spouse, a sibling, a friend, a caretaker, a neighbor, a stranger or even an employer.
I’m thinking of my first job where I frequently missed out on thousands of dollars of bonuses. I worked hard but never was fully paid what I earned. My boss at the time would erase my name on trade tickets and put his own name on the transactions for the commissions.
I was with a good office making good money in Vero Beach, Fl. I was newly licensed and registered as a broker having good success when I was asked to relocate temporarily to an office and help the manager.
His best friend had walked out on him without notice leaving him angry and alone and short-staffed. He also had a reputation for a bad temper but since it was only a temporary stay there, I decided to go work at his office to assist in Stuart, Fl.
He was a bad person from the beginning. The position was never temporary. They had lied to me.
He was “in charge of me” for six years and, he kept my salary the same. Managers in other offices gave yearly raises, commissions and promotions for work well done, and even shared big bonuses with their staff. He did not share anything with me.
He was difficult. He didn’t talk. I worked quietly, but still my hard work went unnoticed and his attitude grew more resentful toward me. He had a bad habit of being short with me and a rage ensued if there were even the smallest mistake. He reported my every error to the big boss and covered his own mistakes without mention. I walked on "eggshells daily."
People knew what he was doing. No one was concerned.
Things went on as usual until he made a $250,000 transaction error. He sold the wrong stock.
He was furious and worked relentlessly, trying to clear himself and he tried to make me responsible for the error. I told him, I did nothing wrong. He did the transaction and sold the wrong stock!
He said there was no way he could have avoided this error. He practiced what he was going to say to excuse his debacle to the owner. He insisted there was no way for him to have known before hand to avoid it and it was not his fault! He paced back and forth , neverously every day knowing he was at fault.
When the Big boss planned a special trip from Connecticut to Stuart with a team of attorneys to "fact find" I was concerned. I thought the office would have to close. We would all lose our jobs, our careers.
I was afraid of any backlash from him as a result of all of this. I think that was why I helped him.
I offered a solution which he grasped quickly and made his own by repeating my words. I showed him that he could have avoided this enormous error by checking the cusip number on the certificate of stock against the cusip number of the stock he sold. It needed to obviously match before paying any investor.
Now I needed to change what was happening in my life! But how? I had only spoke up for myself once and got rebuked harshly for challenging his management style. There was no sense pleading my cause. He didn’t care. They didn’t care. The job had become a “dead end.”
I finally got the courage I needed to get out.
I took action and found a new job!
My resignation stressed the point when I wrote: “I now understood the limitations of working with someone who was so relentless in making me misrable and his biased unfairness to a female in his office to thwarting any possibility of success or monetarty benefits working with him.” I spared the bullying details although the upper mangement was well aware but did nothing to intervene.
After fifteen years total with the company, I gave the owner a two-week notice and left unceremoniously by dusting my feet off on their logo welcome mat.
I was confident I could do better anywhere away from that toxic environment. I also knew I would handle things differently in the future.
If I see any kind of abuse I will not be silent…
and most of all I would never allow a bully to take advantage of me again…Ever.
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