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.

The Green

I’ve been in and out the banks in Charlotte since 1998 (10 times in total at BofA)—almost all of which was contracting. I was an employee at Bank of America once (and had an opportunity to be one again), but for a variety of reasons I ended up sticking to contracting. But as wonderful as most of my experiences have been, I’m tired of bouncing around, and was hoping that I would become a permanent member of the crew I joined last April.

It’s not easy having to prove yourself over and over again—and sometimes just when you’ve started to really gel with a group, the contract’s over. But I have a long history at Bank of America—twice in CRM Services, over 3 years with Business Capital (including an integral role during the Fleet merger), and tack on another 3 years in other groups. I got that phenomenal job in Business Capital because of a colleague I worked with in CRM Services. I guess I must have done something right.

But I’ve been wrong a number of times, too—but not this time. I’ve allowed my zeal to get the best of me on occasion—but not this time. How all this started amounts to a few emails coupled with a chat log—all of which would fit on a few pages at most. Had I sat back and done the bare minimum, my name would still be in good standing with the bank. Had I not looked out for the customers and anticipated their concerns—or took cue from #4 and just flat-out ignored them in this instance, The Fraudulent 5 would never be. If you look at BofA’s core beliefs, everything I did in pursuit of the right thing was perfectly in line with them–and yet I was shown disdain for my efforts.

I think people lose sight of how glorious it is to get paid to think, share ideas, and be under the gun to deliver. There is a new journey to be discovered every go-around, and I’ve seen such magnificence in the way relationships can be built in the trenches of trying times.

Doing the right thing often comes with a price, but even after this nightmare, I’m still willing to risk it. Indeed, I will fine tune my approach for next time, but I don’t imagine the source of this conflict has ever given his actions a second thought. And instead of #4 being called into question by his manager, he was undoubtedly rewarded for delivering our project on time. If not for this isolated incident, he would deserve it.

There is a nice park called The Green in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina. It is a pleasant place to visit with various sculptures and abstract art on display. What stands out in my mind the most are the artistic benches and chairs. On each piece are prominent letters spelling out words such as honor, truth, perseverance, and so on. All words but one lie flat on the top of the pieces. The one that sets itself apart from the rest is the word “Risk,” and its first letter is hanging on the edge.


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