How one colleague's failure to do the right thing became the benchmark for the four who followed—and the damage they left in their wake.

Well, not so young anymore, but I did go out west for a while–which I’ll get to momentarily. I came up with the idea to protest the bank because I was incensed by the way I was treated, and it’s unconscionable that my reputation is forever tarnished over something so ludicrous. The only way I would ever get any leverage was to exercise my Constitutional rights in a way that I never fully appreciated until now.

But my arrangement would be a far cry from the standard approach to protesting. I came up with the idea for a portable station consisting of a comfortable chair and a 4-sided sign surrounding an A-frame designed for 2. No offense to anyone who prefers the conventional approach to peaceful assembly, but I have no interest in walking around with a sign and getting in anyone’s way. My prime directive is that I do not engage unless engaged first. I let my sign convey my message, but I’m happy to talk to anyone who’s interested in learning more. And if I’m going to spend a few hours hanging around, I would rather occupy my time with some good reading–though I will close that book in a heartbeat to answer any questions the curious may have.

But the first round wouldn’t last long, for my transmission went on the fritz during a trip to D.C. And then a couple of job opportunities came along. One of them was a great opportunity for an 18-month contract with Wells Fargo. I had a 3-hour phone interview with one of the SQL developers, and when I was done nailing almost every answer–we just kept on going with exchanging ideas. Okay, so I had lost my dream job, but here was someone I would love to work with, and I think the feeling was mutual–so I felt that the in-person interview would be pretty much a formality. I must admit that I didn’t do as well as I could have, but I’m fairly certain that it was my answer to the manager’s “What about this gap in your resume?” that doomed me. After everything I had been through, I still told the truth–and I could feel it was over with every word. I really liked that manager, too, so the nightmare just never ends.

The other opportunity was a short-term contract in Reno, Nevada–and so off I went. Needless to say, they didn’t ask me anything that intersected with this ridiculous drama that plagues me.

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