Stockbroker Joseph Tarnofsky Learns Carrying Debt Is A Career Killer
By Jill Krasny
Slacking off isn't the only way to kiss your job goodbye. Carrying around boatloads of debt can do it too, as one stockbroker learned the hard way.
Lawyer and Forbes.com blogger Bill Singer writes about Joseph Tarnofsky (pictured above), who never told his bosses (or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which regulates brokers) that he was up to his knees in debt and even had judgments against him for wage garnishments. The amounts in question were an impressive $21,721.17 and $10,957.66 in unpaid credit card bills. Six months later, Tarnofsky received four more judgments against him for unpaid credit card bills worth nearly $54,000.
As if owing all that money wasn't bad enough, Tarnofsky made the fatal mistake of never notifying his employer, AXA Advisors, they needed to look out for wage garnishment papers. The first time it happened, the company wasn't pleased. The second time it happened, Tarnofsky was promptly booted out.
It's safe to say debt is never a good thing, so we decided to ask John Ulzheimer, credit expert and president of SmartCredit.com, whether it's really the career kiss of death.
"[Cases like Tarnofsky's] are exactly why many employers perform background investigations on their prospective employees, which normally include credit reports and criminal records," he said over email. "Many employers will choose to look the other way on minor issues like old criminal records or poor credit reports, but not many of them will turn their heads to dishonesty."
He added, "The employer is likely to find out about it anyway, and hiding it just compounds the problem.
One of those reasons [employers aren't fans of your debt] is the likelihood that the defaulted debt can become a judgment and then a wage garnishment.
"That drags the employer unwillingly into the middle of a contentious situation where they are required to hold back a portion of the employee's pay," he said. "I can't imagine any employer that wants to be involved in doing that."
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