My “dream” was to work in a bank until I would die. But ironically, I was forced to start a war against the bank I was working for. Which brought me to an entirely new life.
I began to work for a bank through a job agency. I initially had a temporary contract. However, in fact, I was working as a full employee of the bank.
After three years, the director of my office told me that I would become a full rights employee of the bank.
I didn’t like the situation at that moment, but as the director told me so, I decided that it was worth to wait.
A few months later, the director in an attack of sincerity, admitted that I was not going to be part of the staffing company. At that moment I started to think to take action.
I was tired of the bad labor conditions. I was doing the same job than other employees but earning much less and without the social benefits.
As I studied a bit of labor law, I suspected that my situation was irregular.
First, I started to search for information to make sure I had some base to take a legal action.
After consulting some specialized websites, it seemed that I had the law on my side.
In any case, I spent a few months thinking to sue the bank or not. As you can imagine, it’s a serious matter.
As much as it seemed to be right, there were no guarantees. I could win or lose.
Besides, the bank could make my time in the bank hard. You never know how they can react.
I saw how the same company fired pregnant women that were working there for many years.
You can’t be more miserable.
Once I decided to go on with the process, I sent a request to the bank to normalize my situation. To do so, I used an online legal service. Maybe it’s ok to appeal traffic fines but not for this kind of matters.
So you know what?
The bank totally ignored my request.
Find a Professional
I quickly understood that I had to find a good professional if I wanted to face this matter against the bank successfully.
Fortunately, the girlfriend of my brother is a lawyer, and she could recommend me the right person.
I visited that lawyer with all the documents that I had. He looked at them and told me it was enough to sue them.
However, as a good lawyer, he also told me that there was nothing sure.
The law says one thing, but it can be interpreted in different ways. I signed a document to give him powers to take legal actions and left the matter on his hands.
I immediately noticed the difference with the online service. My lawyer sent another request, and in a heartbeat, the bank contacted him.
My lawyer required the bank to change my labor status and to become part of the staff of the bank. Which meant to have a higher salary and social benefits.
The bank didn’t accept, so my lawyer sued them. There started the process that will last six months. In my country the justice is slow.
From the beginning, I said to my lawyer that I didn’t want to make a deal and accept money. I wanted to make justice.
During that time, the company started to offer me different amounts of money. I completely ignored it.
At the beginning of this process, I felt demotivated. I didn’t want to work. In fact, that happened to me even before. I also felt disappointed to see that the bank didn’t want to listen.
After a few months, I changed my mind. I decided to take it easy. It was going to be a long process and after all, time was on my side. The longer it would get, the more money they had to give me.
To make it better, they couldn’t fire me, because I took that legal action against them and it would be dismissed.
Is it not great?
There was still the doubt if it was going to win or not. My lawyer told me from the beginning that with the justice you never know. However, for some reason, I was confident to win.
We Need To Talk
In one occasion, the job agency that hired me, called me to visit them in their office and talk with them.
I was scared, to be honest.
Before I went there I called my lawyer, and he told me I didn’t need to worry, but that I could try to record the conversation, just in case.
That comment didn’t make me feel better.
I went to the office of the job agency, and I found two friendly women waiting for me in a huge and cold office. They wanted to talk to me. The conversation went like this:
– Hello Albert, how are you? Have you thought about making an agreement?
– I know nothing about this. My lawyer is taking care of it.
– Think that it’s a complicated situation. We are willing to give you this money. – she gives me a paper with an amount.
– I see, but it’s better if you talk with my lawyer.
– He tells us that you don’t want to make an agreement. – insists one of the women.
– I really don’t know. He takes care of all these things.
– Understand that you can take advantage of the situation. As you know, many people are getting fired these days. Now you can take the opportunity and leave with some extra money. You probably will not be able to do it soon.
– I understand. Unfortunately, I have no idea about this matter. My lawyer is the person you can talk with.
– Wow, you are a great client. – one of them can’t avoid saying.
The actual conversation was much longer but you get the point.
I think they saw that they could get me out of my statement. I repeated myself like an old record.
As you know, sometimes the only way to win an argument is to avoid it.
Precisely, you can’t argue with lawyers about these matters. They are in another league.
As sweet and friendly these lawyers seemed to be, they would take my eyes off if they could.
They don’t give a fuck what happens to me. If a car runs me over me, they would feel release.
Let The Lawyers Do Their Job
Using my lawyer, I keep myself safe. It’s his job.
The fact is that it was the opposite that I told those lawyers. My lawyer was following my command. Which was no to negotiation.
I have read many books about strategy, negotiation, law, and philosophy. I was using all my knowledge to fight against the bank.
What I used the most was the strategy to confuse the enemy. I said one thing and my lawyer another one. Which confused the bank.
In some moments I even enjoyed the process. It was great to see them with the face of not knowing what was going on.
I just wanted them to leave me alone until the day of the judgment arrived.
The Judgment Day
Finally, the day of the judgment arrived.
Obviously, it was a labor day, so I had to absent from work for several hours, getting paid anyway.
Justice can be great. Right?
From the other part came two lawyers from the job company, a lawyer for the bank and the director of my office.
On my side, I had my main lawyer and an associated. Two friends of mine also came to give me moral support. Which gave me an idea.
I asked my lawyer if we had to notify to the appearance of witness and he said no. Without wanting it, my friends helped me to pressure even more to the bank.
They would think they were witnesses. And I would say it was the case.
Because I noticed the director coming close to take a look to them but pretending he didn’t. Fortunately, the director didn’t know they were my friends.
When we were at the door of the court, about to get inside, the lawyer of the job agency came to me and made me another offer much higher.
For a few seconds, came to my mind a lot of ideas. I valued what it would be to make justice. Which meant to keep working on the bank and probably to be unhappy my whole life.
On the other hand, if I took the money, I would be free, and I would not see them anymore. It was a tough decision.
With this idea in mind, we went inside the courtroom.
To be inside the courtroom made a huge impression on me. I had never been in a place like that before. I had only seen it in movies.
What an impression!
I didn’t know how to act. My lawyer only told me to be careful when I answered to the other lawyers.
When I was yet in shock, the judge began:
– Did you decide to bring this case to justice?
– Yes. –I answer trying to hold my anxiety.
– Have you tried to make a deal?
– No? Don’t you want to make a deal? –says the judge surprised.
– I would like to make justice.
– That’s nice. It’s a beautiful idea to make justice. The reality can be different. Imagine the case that you win. You would have to keep working in the bank. Understand what that could mean after you sued them.
– I understand, but what about to make justice? Also, there are more people like me in the same situation. –I ask the judge.
– It’s nice that you have this idea. Unfortunately, make justice maybe it’s not in your the best interest. As I said, in the case that you win. And as you sued them, I understand you have good reasons.
– I see. –I answer without knowing what else I could add.
– Better try to make a deal. You have one month. I suggest both parts to talk and find a solution before that date.
I didn’t expect that. It catches me totally out of guard. We all went outside the courtroom and stayed there.
Even with the stress of the moment, I realized that the judge wasn’t just talking to me. He also was throwing some indirect suggestion to the other part.
In other words, the judge was saying that they better make a deal or they will be in trouble. It’s clear that he was pressing us both to sign an agreement.
The lawyer of the company came again to me and offered me the same amount that before but tax-free. I say no several time, and she left.
After thinking about it for a few seconds, and I had an idea.
Negotiation For a New Life
I told my lawyer that I want that amount plus his fees. So I could keep that amount tax-free totally for me.
My lawyer went to talk to the other part for five minutes, and when he came back he told me:
– The lawyer of the job agency says that it’s impossible. – my lawyer says laughing. I laugh too and I reply.
– I don’t care what they say. They agree, or we come back to court. And they should know that I will not accept even one euro less.
My last comment was also a message to my lawyer. His fees were quite high. So I open the possibility for him to lower his amount to make a deal.
The last thing a lawyer wants it’s to go to court. For them, it’s much better to arrive at an economic agreement. Fewer headaches.
I don’t want to give the impression that I kept everything under control the whole time. I suffered a lot of tension during the six months that it took place.
Particularly in the beginning. From the middle of the process to the end I felt more comfortable with the situation.
It was also hard to stay calm in the key moments and played it cool. Everything I have learned turned out to be useful.
Three Days Later Starts a New Life
On a Thursday, only three days later, someone called me at the bank’s office where I was working:
– Mister Albert.
– I am your lawyer. Take all your stuff and come to my office.
– Should I take everything?! –I asked with the hand holding the telephone shacking.
– Yes, everything. You will not work in the bank any longer. Tell the director that you leave or just leave. Up to you.
– Have you made an agreement?
– Of course, as we agreed. Come here, and we will talk about it.
Even if that ending was predictable I wasn’t ready mentally for it. I said goodbye to my co-workers mumbling, I took my stuff and left.
Straight away, I went to the office of my lawyer, and I signed up the deal with the amount we had agreed, plus the days of that months I had worked. They even were generous.
I couldn’t believe it. It was all over.
I didn’t have to come back to work at the office. After years of doing it, I had a strange feeling.
No more stress, no more pressure, no more following orders. I felt extremely free.
Then it was the time to think about what I would do with my new life…
After this I started to travel around the world I wrote my first book Stories of Love and Sex.