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Ex-Occupier now holds Wall Street job

By Chris Knowles and Raelyn Johnson, CNN
updated 5:38 AM EST, Thu December 8, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tracy Postert was fully committed to the Occupy Wall Street protests, she tells CNN
  • The biochemist says she had been looking for work, but couldn't prove it to naysayers
  • She showed up at Zuccotti Park with her résumé, and soon had a job offer
  • She now researches biotech companies for John Thomas Financial -- on Wall Street

New York (CNN) -- The occupiers of Wall Street have been portrayed by some as radicals, young kids without focus, ne'er-do-wells who'd do anything but get a job. But one woman used her time in at Zuccotti Park differently, and as a result she has gone from Occupy Wall Street to occupying an actual office on Wall Street.

In the gathering of the so-called 99%, Tracy Postert had no idea she would be the one who would be working for the 1%.

"There were some days it was a carnival, or lots of music, drumming, costumes, marching, protesting," said Postert, describing the weeks she spent demonstrating at the park in downtown Manhattan.

Frustrated with the economy, Postert says she jumped right into the Occupy Wall Street movement -- all in -- banging drums and washing paint- and dirt-covered sidewalks.

She sounds like the protester stereotype, but she isn't; she has a doctorate in biochemistry.

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In the past few years, the biochemist said, she had found herself at times unemployed or underemployed. Until a few weeks ago she decided to change her protest sign to a "Job Wanted" sign and hunkered down in Zuccotti Park with a handful of résumés.

"Passers-by would say, 'Get a job,' and I didn't have a really good response to that," Postert told CNN.

"I wanted to say, 'Well, I'm trying to get a job,' but you know you can't really prove it." Postert said. "So I said, why don't I make a sign (and prove) that I am actively looking for a job?"

Within two days, she said, someone spotted her. They exchanged e-mails, and an offer followed.

That someone was a top executive at a Wall Street financial firm -- in other words, the enemy.

"It might sound like it's a fish-out-of-water story -- (round) peg in a square hole -- but it's really not," said Wayne Kaufman, a market analyst at John Thomas Financial.

"She was standing there. She had her sign, she had her résumé, and I just passed by her and I chatted with her just for a brief few seconds. And she was obviously an intelligent person," Kaufman said.

"The résumé spoke for itself, it was very impressive," he said. "So, I sent her an e-mail the next day and ... she responded almost immediately.

"I asked her if she wanted to come in for an interview; she said yes. I told her what I had in mind for her according to her skill set, and the rest is just history."

For now, Tracy is researching early stage biotech companies for John Thomas Financial. She says she plans to take a test that would allow her to become a broker, and thus a full-fledged member of the 1%. So what are her former Occupy Wall Street compatriots saying?

"I have been accused of being a traitor to both sides. Some people are saying that the whole time I was at Occupy Wall Street I was really a Wall Street insider," says Postert.

She said she plans on keeping her sign. She pledged to protest again when she finds something she feels is worth protesting.

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