For the past seven years, from the moment I wake up to the second I fall asleep the white collar crime machine eats away at my day as earnestly as a pac-man consumes his little white dots. Years ago it ran full time and shot at me relentlessly like a tennis ball machine on high speed. There were attorneys and detectives with side arms and a warrant and court dates and judges and phone calls from jail and letters of support to write, and gut wrenching fear every second of every day. But these days the machine runs on a much slower setting because now I am in control of it.
I begin my days by reading countless obligatory articles from the FCPA Blog, (as prolific a group as one could ever imagine), that take up an alarming amount of space in my in-box. Then it's on to the Wall Street Journal and several other compliance publications which seem to be growing in number daily. I do this because as a former white collar wife turned innocent spouse advocate it's vital that I keep informed of the ongoing machinations of corruption
within mega corporations who are paying fines in the hundreds of millions of dollars for
"alleged" non-compliance issues as a result of fraud, bribery or out and
out debauchery. Sometimes, (more often of late), where there is corruption within an organization there's an executive who gets hauled off to prison and consequently there is usually a wife and family in need of mentoring.
There was a time, in a life far, far away from the one I now lead when my reading materials of choice consisted of the best selling book du-jour, Vanity Fair and, (I'm ashamed to say), People Magazine. It's been many years since I've as much as glanced at any of these as my interests lie elsewhere these days and reading the financial news has become as routine as brushing my teeth. I cannot NOT be well versed on current events in the world of financial news because someone may ask me, (as recently happened during an interview I was giving to a Wall Street Journal reporter), "did you read that article in the Washington Post today"? While I was aware of the piece he was referring to I had not finished it in it's entirety because let's face it, there simply are not enough hours in a day to get through all the financial news within a twenty four hour cycle.
Next up on my white collar crime machine schedule is to check in with the women in my group, The Secret Lives of White Collar Wives where I was the only member for a very long time. But now there are several members who give and receive support as readily as if we had all been the best of friends for many years. It is a place of comfort and understanding. A place where we can honor and mourn our past lives and try to rise above what is and not what is no longer.
Then there's the blogging. There was a time, before I really knew about blogging, when out of sheer frustration in my quest to find answers or comrades when I would simply Google words hoping for some kind of connection; "white collar wife"; "embezzlement"; "is there anybody out there like me!!!!???"; and finally, "HELP!". I never found what I was looking for but I came close a couple of times when I discovered a few old blogs from other white collar wives but they had all long since been abandoned, each with only one or two entries and no comments. They too had sought out anyone who cared and came up empty like me. So like the sole inhabitant of a vacant planet I took on the stance of build it and they will come and began my own blog which for me was akin to knocking on the door of the universe asking for someone to hear me.It's been a year now and my blog has attracted many followers, (from all over the world to my surprise), and I am grateful and even somewhat intimidated by that fact. And slowly but surely several white collar wives have crawled out of the shadows and joined my group as a result of the blog. I know there are thousands of white collar wives who are desperately
seeking support and so I continue to seek them out wherever I can because trying to navigate through the white collar crime machine waters is frightening and is not a journey one should take without an experienced guide. We're talking level 6 water here folks.
As the machine rolls along, I set aside a part of each day to attempt to network with others in the field of compliance and deterrence. My ability is limited at this stage so I mostly try to read as much as I can on-line and respond as effectively as I can in the comment sections of others blogs or articles. I'm terrible at Twitter but recently updated my Linkedin profile in hopes of gaining some recognition as an expert in my field. And I've been fortunate to have been asked to be a guest blogger on occasion which has helped to increase my visibility. If my blog were as worthy I would have returned the favor.
I also provide private coaching for white collar wives. These women contact me because of my blog or are referred to me by a colleague. As a white collar crime veteran I'm happy to assist where I can and provide insights and mentoring that were not afforded to me in the early to mid stages of my own journey. Some of the women end up joining my group and some prefer to remain in the shadows. It is of course, their call to make.
And last but certainly not least is the time I spend worrying about my son. About his future. About the profound damage that has been done to him as a result of his father's crime and the subsequent fallout he has had to endure. My child's soul-wound is deep and I often find myself longing for the old days when I could convince him that the monster under his bed was imaginary and he felt safe in his own home. I hope someday he will be able to move past this chapter of his life to a time where the damage done has become a part of his improved self rather than his impoverished past. I pray every day that I will live long enough to see this happen. He and I have traveled a very long road together and we still have quite a ways to go before we reach our destination.
As you can see, the white collar crime machine continues to take up an inordinate amount of my time on a daily basis. Truth be told I'd rather not know anything about it because it turns out there was a monster hiding under our beds all along and it's scarier that anything we could have imagined. But as the days and years have passed I've slowly made my peace with the creature but that doesn't mean it's tame. Not by a long shot.