You don’t know me from Adam, but you might want to read what I—Adam S. Gorham of Rampasture, New York—have to say... unless you don’t want to be rich. And you might not want to be rich—not everyone does. Being rich can be an inconvenience sometimes, like when you’re already running late for a party at P. Duffy’s house but your wife still can’t choose which dress previously worn at the Daytime Emmy Awards by a nominee for Best Supporting Actress in a Soap Opera, Telenovela, or Fantaserye to put on... but most of the time it’s pretty great, which is why I want to help you become a successful, wealthy whistleblower.
Whistleblowing is not only 100% legal—it’s actually encouraged by the federal government. And the practice has a long and well-respected history: Whistleblowers have been around since at least the 1200s, when ordinary folks like you and me in England were rewarded (probably with bags of gold or earldoms) for reporting their friends and neighbors who were breaking the King’s laws (often simply by not going to Church on Sundays!). The colonists brought the practice over to America, where it reached the height of its popularity during the Civil War, during which everyone and his brother was committing fraud, but especially defense contractors who sold the Union Army decrepit horses and mules, faulty rifles and ammunition, and rancid rations and other foodstuffs. So President Lincoln himself signed into law an act that made it not just possible for a person unaffiliated with the government to file an action against a federal contractor asserting fraud... but profitable as well.
And that act of filing such a lawsuit, my friend, is what is informally known as “whistleblowing.” (Because you’ll be like an old-time police officer, or a sports referee, who would literally “blow a whistle” when he saw an illegal activity, or a foul, being committed.)
Before I tell you more about how you can blow your own whistle… let me tell you about how I blew mine. I used to sell drugs. (No, not like that!) I was a sales representative for a major medical drug manufacturer. (If you’ve ever taken medicine, you’ve probably taken something my old company churned out.) As it happened, my employer was bending the rules about marketing one of its new products—Bicyclin—telling doctors on the sly that the drug cured everything from Aagenaes Syndrome to Zygomycosis. (When it didn’t do anything to improve my own Aagenaes Syndrome symptoms... and actually caused me to develop Zygomycosis, I got suspicious.) For my help exposing the illegal practices of my former employer, I was awarded more than $50 million dollars.
Now, there must be hundreds of companies defrauding the federal government every single day, and all you need to do is find one of your own, and... blow that whistle!
Maybe the very company you work for is fleecing the government. If you work for a company in the pharmaceutical, healthcare, insurance, education, environmental, housing, defense, or general parts supply industries, chances are terrific that you’ll be able to discover something to report with just a little digging. Kickbacks, double billing, gross mismanagement, abuse of authority... you probably encounter some or all of these all the time. If you happen to do the billing for your company, consider yourself at the on-ramp to Easy Street... in a very expensive car!
And here’s what might be the best part of all: You might be thinking that it would be nice to get some extra spending money from the government as a reward for blowing the whistle on your own company, but you’re worried that your reward won’t be nearly enough to retire on, especially if you’re still young. You want to turn in your bosses and/or co-workers, but that’s not to say you don’t like your job. If you could, you’d have it both ways... but we’ve all heard that saying about cake, right? Well, you can blow your whistle and eat your cake, too! Not only do laws promise whistleblowers a percentage of any money recovered by the government as damages, but those same laws protect you from being fired for being a whistleblower. I’m not kidding: You can tattle on your company and continue to work there! You can’t be fired for being a good citizen! (And if you are fired? You can sue your company for wrongful termination! Now that’s better living through litigation!)
So what are you waiting for? Tomorrow morning, when you’re packing your lunch for work... remember to pack your whistle as well. And as soon as you see an opportunity... blow it!
Matthew David Brozik wrote this and many other short humor pieces, which have been published in print and online by The New Yorker, Adult Swim, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Grin & Tonic, The Big Jewel, and no one.