Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: GAMBLE (04/14/16)
- TITLE: The Payoff
By Raymond Bouchoc
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A down-swing plagued the corporation for a while now. Actually, the whole industry struggled in a market characterized by large and quick swings. Lately, though, things were especially brutal for the corporation. In a stable market indicators are consistent and predictable, but in a swinging market, all bets are off.
Entering the corporation’s building, I rode the elevator to my floor. The receptionist greeted me.
“Mr. Finley would like to see you in his office right away,” she said.
The news hit me. Finley, as we called him, was a big wig. He was a VP in charge of all the traders. While I had spoken with him before, a summons like this was rare. I turned and went to his office.
“Mark, good to see you. Come in here, please, and close the door after you. I have an important assignment for you.”
Finley told me about a meeting between corporate managers of one of our clients. I was to go to a local restaurant, sit in a certain seat, and listen to what they said.
I left, wondering at the strange assignment. Later, I entered the restaurant, and sat at my designated place. Soon, the managers came in and sat at the table next to me and began talking business.
As they spoke, I realized what was happening. I was being fed information about the company that would impact their stock price. Trading on this information could potentially be very lucrative for the corporation, and for my career.
There was one problem. It was illegal.
If the company was investigated, I would be the fall guy.
My mind raced with ideas about covering myself should we be caught. Who knew about this meeting? Finley knew. Likely, one of these managers knew, too. Was I willing to gamble my career? I suspected this sort of thing went on regularly, but not by me.
Over the next few days, the decision about what to do burdened me continuously. Finally, the day arrived. I composed a memo to send out to the other units like mine. I would initiate the trade, and they would follow. We all knew the drill.
I sat in front of my computer, staring at the memo. I was hot. My palms were sweaty. I very anxious and could not sit still. Several times, I got up and walked around trying to get the nerve to go through with it.
I sat back down. I stared at the screen. I reached up with a trembling hand. I lowered my hand.
“God, help me,” I said.
I can’t explain it, but a measure of peace passed through me. My hand steadied. I reached up, and deleted the memo.
Things happened fast after that. I was fired the next day for not being a team player and for insubordination. A week later, the client firm was under investigation for insider trading. Another week passed, and the corporation I had worked for was implicated in the conspiracy. The next day, a headline read, “Clean Trader Narrowly Escapes Avalanche.” It was about me.
Apparently, my refusal to act on the information caused a blow-up at the client firm, and the secret of the conspiracy was leaked by a whistleblower. Things looked bleak for the corporation.
For me, however, things were looking up. Two weeks later, a large firm, hearing of the controversy, and my role in it (or lack thereof), approached me with a high level job offer, better than anything I could have expected at the corporation. They cited my integrity as a quality highly sought after by their firm.
I had done the right thing. I had believed in God before, but He had just been an add-on to my life. Something about these events, however, had freed me up, and lightened my heart. The events of the past month, while hard, had opened the door to a new life. I hadn’t taken the gamble, but the payoff was more than I could ever have imagined.
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