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Being a corporate guy for Valley Bank and Bank One in the '90s, Phoenix, Arizona


I just loved being a corporate guy. I worked for Valley National Bank, which became Bank One, from 1989 to 1996. And to my surprise, most people can't see it from my point of view. I'll see if I can explain.

When I moved back to Phoenix from Los Angeles, with my tail between my legs, I was afraid that my wonderful corporate life was over. In California I had worked for Blue Cross in a beautiful building with everything from state-of-the art computers to a cafeteria. Not only was it a great job, with a nice salary and great benefits, it gave me a way to define myself. I just loved answering the phone "Communications, this is Brad". I was in my late twenties, and it just made me feel so grown up. I had a great boss who intended to promote me to his position as he moved higher in the company, and I also had a gorgeous girlfriend. Life was good. And then it suddenly ended when our department was eliminated. Just like that.

I hadn't intended to move back to Phoenix, I just wanted to see some old friends, good for the soul. But when I saw it, I knew that I was back home. I hadn't grown up in Phoenix, but it was my home in a way that's difficult to express. I never wanted to leave, and I still don't. And I figured that my corporate life was over. I moved back, found an apartment that I could afford on unemployment, and sent out resumes. I tried to be philosophical about it, I figured that at the very least I could play a lot of golf, which I couldn't do in California (way too expensive!).

And then I got the job at Valley Bank. Corporate graphic design, just like I had done at Blue Cross. I started out as entry-level, and was soon promoted to a Senior Designer. On the 31st floor of the Bank One Building (now Chase Tower), I felt that I was on top of the world. And if anything, that building was even more awesome than the building in California. If you haven't visited Chase Tower, I recommend that you take a look at it. When I worked there it was like a self-contained "space ship", with a cafeteria, dry cleaners, post office, even a flower shop (which I used every once in a while for my new gorgeous Arizona girlfriend).

I've never met anyone who has enjoyed the corporate life as much as I did. In fact, most people describe it as miserable, even people who've never seen it. But I just loved it. Best years of my life.

Image at the top of this post: 31st Floor of the Bank One Building (Chase Tower) in 1993. On top of the world!

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