The Boy Who Cried Force-Placed Insurance: Quitting Rage

December 22, 2010 7:07am – After spending the last 4 months fighting for my job for refusing to adjust the reports I created to show false numbers, I was blocked from a promotion, put on a written warning for a nonexistent attendance policy, and demoted to an entry level position. I spent the last 6 years of my life building databases, spreadsheets, etc to monitor, track, and report on various projects involving mortgage and insurance tracking operations. I did everything I could.  I don’t need this shit anymore. I’ll find a better start elsewhere. I submitted my 2 week’s written notice yesterday.


When I signed in this morning, an IM popped up from my boss:


“Come see me.”


I casually shuffled through my drawers and checked the 2 plastic shopping bags I packed last night in anticipation of this moment.


Rhonda is an AVP in charge of tracking operations for 7 sites spanning 3 countries for at the time the largest bank in the US serving 12 of the largest mortgage lenders, was a stern woman. She dresses like a librarian with a rich husband. Her makeup, nails, jewelry, outfit, hair, shoes, purse, etc are coordinated, stylish, organized, and well groomed at all times. Rhonda’s a stoic and proper woman, known throughout the company to be a stickler to the rules. She’ll do whatever’s necessary to complete a project. Most people are afraid of her.


I served the last 4 years of my career working directly under Rhonda as her project specialist. Anytime one of her managers dropped the ball, I was there to pick up the scattered pieces and save the project, no matter how many government, client, or regulator changes were enacted. What Rhonda loved about me was that I never failed to obey company orders, but have never been afraid to voice my honest opinion. I’ve never been a yes man.  She consulted with me on various impossible projects that I made possible. I saw behind a lot of curtains throughout my career, so I gave this morning’s meeting my full attention. I walked into Rhonda’s office, lightly shut the door, and sat down; setting a notepad on her desk and sipping my coffee.


“What’s up?” I asked politely.


She replied hesitantly, “I’ve discussed your notice with my boss, and we’ve decided…”


“You’re letting me go.”


“Yes, which will be effective immediately. I’m going to escort you to your desk to grab whatever you have an immediate need for. Do you need a bag?”


“I’m good. Let’s go.”


We left her office and walked to my desk in polite silence. When we got to my desk, I opened my bottom drawer and removed the bags I prepared, picked up my coat and coffee mug, and nodded to Rhonda that I’m ready to go.


“You know I’ve always respected you,” I said as we walked toward the front door.


“I know.”


“Which is why I want to let you know in advance that I’m going after you for the bullshit way this ended. It’s unacceptable to me.”


“I know. I appreciate that. I need your badge,” she stated softly as we reached the front lobby. I looked down to see I stood on the tile. She stood on the carpet, pointing at the lanyard around my neck. Our badges were used as keycards to access various points in the building. Mine is quite valuable. It can access various restricted areas throughout the campus.


“My hands are full,” I replied, thrusting my pelvis forward. “You’ll have to grab it for me.”


Rhonda sighed and reached to take the lanyard off my neck.


“Actually that’s mine. The only part that’s yours is the badge itself.”


She reached into the plastic pouch and retrieved the badge.


“Goodbye, Rhonda.”


“Good luck, Brian.”


January 5, 2011 11:30am – Today is my last day with the bank. I spent the last 2 weeks enjoying the holidays with my family and friends while arguing with the bank’s HR department to get my written warning removed. A few days after I walked away from Rhonda, I got a call from a headhunter in an auditing position within the bank. He said I can be hired into his department for a higher pay than I could have transferred with anyway. I just had to get that written warning removed or I wouldn’t be eligible for rehire.


Things aren’t going well for the HR rep. She broke company policy, notifying managers I named in my complaints that I opened the cases. In turn, I was notified by former colleagues that a bomb threat was called in to my old workplace. A bank processing center of 5 buildings and over 2000 employees was shut down and evacuated with the exception of 2 floors of one building which, ironically, housed my direct coworkers. Two hours later a Swat team chased a crazed gunman through the mall across the street from the banking center. The mall was full of evacuated bank employees.


Police officers surrounded the bank, bringing bomb sniffing dogs and robots throughout the parking lot and each floor of each structure. Employees were individually brought into rooms to speak with members of corporate security posing as police officers. As they left the room, they were escorted to their desk and out of the building. Upon leaving bank property, any employee that knew me immediately called and texted me detailed information about what’s happening.  I started recording the events on my Facebook page.


I discovered a manager I named in an HR case (along with an employee having an affair with her manager) called the bank’s security to report a bomb threat, naming me specifically as a disgruntled ex-employee. By the time the police department surrounded my home that night (over 12 hours after the incident was alleged to have happened), I’d already spoken with dozens of employees and pieced everything together.


Although I avoided arrest, the tactic effectively scared me (albeit not as intended). I noted the effects. Thankfully, I was able to keep a cool head and organize my thoughts, notes, documents, and knowledge. I spent the next 3 days getting stoned and writing out, in complete detail, every bit of knowledge I could think of about everything that happened to me over the course of the last year. That weekend, however, everything changed.


January 8th, 2011 – Only 3 days after my traumatic experience, a young man named Jared Loughner shot congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, AZ, an hour and a half down the road. I watched the incident through a different perspective than everyone else. I didn’t follow the story of Gabby and the other victims/heroes of the events. I found myself drawn to the stories where Sarah Palin’s rhetoric was blamed for the horrendous attack. I was scared and sometimes in tears watching how the shooter was portrayed in the media, realizing that I’m not the only person watching this event unfold.


It’s also being watched by the 2000 employees who were victimized 3 days earlier. It’s being watched by the families of those employees. It’s being watched by my former friends and colleagues. I was being blocked throughout the weekend left and right. I received anonymous voicemails, emails, and Facebook messages telling me what a piece of shit I am. I’ve been called and told some very hateful and disgusting things in my day, but each comment still took its toll. To put it in perspective: if you ate shit every day, no amount of shit eaten in no amount of days will make you comfortable with the fact that you’re eating shit every day while we’re eating steaks.


I’m not the kind of person who is comfortable eating shit. I came up with a plan. In fact I found I had all the time in the world, so I came up with several plans. More importantly I documented them and tracked the progress. I learned to treat my life as my own corporation and only work for its improvement. This is where my 80’s training montage would be…


Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer.

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