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The day I left Bank One in 1996 Phoenix, Arizona


If you were living in Phoenix in the nineties, you remember Bank One. They were the bank that Valley Bank became, and if you lived in Phoenix going back to 1800s (yes 1800s), you remember Valley Bank. Nowadays, just to keep the record straight, it's Chase Bank.

I started working for Valley Bank in 1989, and I left in 1996. And it was the best of times, and then it was the worst of times, to work for the company. By the way, I didn't work at a branch, I worked in the tower downtown, as part of the graphics department. I had a cubicle on the 31st floor.

I was very happy to get the job as a graphic designer for Valley Bank, and happier still when Bank One bought it out and everyone got raises, and the company was saved. From 1992, when the process of converting Valley Bank over to Bank One began, life was good for Valley Bank/Bank One employees. In fact, if you recall, back in 1993 the commercials that had been running for many years, with the coaches from ASU and the U of A, Bill and Lute, stayed the same with only the name of the bank changing. In fact, nothing really changed - everyone was able to keep their jobs. But it didn't last.

Within a few years the conversion started, which moved jobs like mine back to the corporate headquarters of Bank One, in Columbus, Ohio. Many people were moved there, which was a mixed blessing - they got to keep their jobs, but they had to move to Columbus, Ohio. I wouldn't have gone, not that I was ever asked! So I resigned.

I loved working there, and it was a sad decision for me to make. I wasn't angry, I just knew that it was time for me to move on. I was too young to just sit around and wait for the axe to fall (which is what most people were doing), I wrote up a nice polite letter and hand-delivered it to my manager. It was "...with great regret..." and I meant it. Yes, it meant that I wouldn't be eligible for unemployment insurance (you don't get that if you quit a job), but watching the layoffs slowly happen was destroying my soul. I needed to get out of there - I wanted to quit while I was having fun.

I had a wonderful lunch with my co-workers, who "roasted" me. I still have some of the cards they gave me. It was in August, and by September I had my new job, which was teaching graphic design at a private college. I was never a "professor" I was kind of a shop teacher, teaching people a skill. I still very much believe in that. I started at Glendale Community College in 2001, and taught there until 2009. For those of you who are familiar with GCC, I was in "the Pit" in HT1 most of the time.

And yes, I still have the same account that I opened at Valley Bank in 1989. I still find myself saying "Bank One" when I should say "Chase", but I'm trying to remember better. I was happy to have had the opportunity to work for them, and I understand that things change.

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