Sample From Chapter 4: “Spy/Traitor/Disbelief”
When I showed up for work my first day at my San Jose office, I was met by a very nice group of IRS employees. I could tell they wondered what a corporate person was doing in their midst. They were friendly, but in a decidedly reserved way. I sensed some of them thought of me as a corporate spy.
I was joining the Service as the highest ranking IRS employee in the San Jose region. The person designated as the Commissioner’s Representative for my building gave me a pass to be able to enter into the secured office areas. I saw file cabinets full of confidential corporate taxpayer information. For someone who had spent most of his career opposing the IRS, it seemed strange being here. I felt like the fox that was being asked to guard the hen house.
Just a few miles away, my former corporate tax colleagues were talking about me, wondering if I had become a traitor among them. Would I be turning over the secrets of the corporate community? Would I be someone they would want to talk to again? Frankly, I had been out of the corporate tax department world for several years at this time and was hardly in a position to give away corporate tax department secrets. Nonetheless, the tax community was concerned.
Closer to home, my neighbors were in shocked disbelief. The IRS is not popular in my hometown. They could not believe I had joined an agency so disliked. Many of my friends became uneasy when I told them I had joined the IRS. Because of this universal response, I would generally refrain from telling neighbors and others that I was with the IRS. If asked, I would say I was with the Treasury Department on an assignment to improve government efficiency. This story had a positive ring with them. I later learned that many IRS agents tell their neighbors and social acquaintances the same story.