I love Snoopy, that daredevil comic creation of Mr. Schultz. Snoopy has no fear, he doe snot care if it is the weekend or a Saturday or the beginning of a New Year. We do not even know if he can think through his decisions; he just takes the leap and pays the consequences, whatever they may be…
I am taking a flying leap with this blog. Most people know the circumstances under which I left Edward Jones. Some people think they know, and many of them are still with Edward Jones today. After more than 6 months of deliberations and discussions, Edward Jones terminated me. If they would have been truthful, they would have stated that they terminated me because of insubordination. Without all of the boring details, I was insubordinate, and Edward Jones does not tolerate that very well. And it did not start just in 2010. No, siree, bub! It started when I agreed to hire, prior to 2008, a young talented woman who had been displaced within the Edward Jones structure because of a male financial advisor’s inappropriate reaction to the news that his assistant was pregnant. No fantastic headlines about inappropriate sexual behavior that we have heard about in the #me, too movement. Plain old male chauvinistic behavior when his plan did not work the way he wanted it to work out. He would have a young, sexy blond in his office, and he had no concern about what she wanted in a career. He asked questions when she was hired, and this was straight from the displaced employee’s lips, questions that were inappropriate, but she wanted the job, and she kept quiet. Sound familiar? The advisor, to be fair to Edward Jones was called in to meet with management, and the assistant was displaced. She was talking with attorneys, and I was asked to at least interview her since I was looking for an assistant at the time. I did, I liked what I saw and heard, and she became a great assistant right up until her baby was born; she fell in love with her little girl and found a way to stay at home with her baby!
At that point, gratitude flowed from my regional manager for helping them out. I was on the regional leadership team to recruit women to the firm. I was given a new office, much nicer than the one I had when I arrived at Edward Jones. But then, with the market in a total downturn beginning in 2007, the _ _ _ _ began to hit the fan. Some of the happenings were acts of God, others were the result of Edward Jones’ management.
In 2009, with a very cold winter, the pipes in my new office broke in the ceiling and the walls. I was on my own with no help of any kind from the regional manager or home office to navigate through insurance claims with three different companies while keeping my clients and production under control. In the fall of 2009, my largest client died. He had gone through all the preparation that top notch estate planning professionals provided through my intervention. But when he passed, Edward Jones managed through their home office to lead my licensed branch office administrator down a path that led to her firing by home office in 2010, leaving me with a horrible estate situation due to Edward Jones’ archaic rules and regulations. I went to the Advisor Development area to explain my situation and asked for a brief period of taking me off of production so that I could finalize this estate, which was in a horrible situation due to home office misguidance of my former employee. I was told “no”.
You will notice that I am not going through all of the sordid details of any of this as it is not my intention to go back to Edward Jones in any way about my termination. When I was terminated in January of 2011, I had begun questioning the sudden change of rules in the 6 years I had been at Edward Jones regarding proprietary products and the allowable percentage of assets in annuities–both of the situations had changed drastically, and I found fault in my discussions with the compliance personnel. In June of 2010, I drew the line in the sand mentally–I would take care of my clients in the same exemplary way I always had, and I knew Edward Jones would fire me because I could not live with the new production quotas under the new guidelines. It was corporate America, and the main concern was Edward Jones’ bottom line.
But I ask myself, how different would my life be today if I could follow the corporate guidance of a firm like Edward Jones with their “old boy” mentality. I have no idea what their ratio of women to men is today, and according to industry statistics, it may be higher than the industry’s, but the real question becomes: how long do they stay with Edward Jones?
I know that I made the right decision to stand my ground and let the inevitable outcome occur. I had my values, and they certainly did not match Edward Jones as they changed from 2004-2011.
Today, I am much happier helping my clients find the right financial professional with the right firm and not selling either products or a firm! Freedom comes i many different forms!