Friday, 9 December 2016

Rule 84: Know the theft or perks rule


By on 11:22
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Nigeria's ex-Minister of Defense, (State) Senator Musiliu  Obanikoro 

So what can you take home? Pens?  Paperclips? Staplers?  When is it a perk and when is it theft?  You should know this, as it can come in useful if you want to have a hold over someone – the someone who thinks nothing of taking home everything that ain’t actually screwed down.  Watch what they take and make a mental note of it.  This might come in useful.  You, of course, will take nothing.

I have known an entire department cleared out because a new MD suddenly got it into his head that they were all committing grand larceny because they took home copies of all the software used by the computers. At home they all had the latest Windows, Word and Outlook express but a fat lot of good it did them when they had to sign on.
 



“Earlier we looked at the unwritten rules of office life.  It might well be such a rule that you do take home perks.  And if you choose not to, make sure you don’t get labeled as a teacher’s pet or goody-goody or anything else that could get you ostracized”

Was it theft?  It doesn’t matter.  It got them the sack.  If one of them had been known not to do this, they would have survived. If one of them had known the new MD’s views on perks they might have survived.

Before you start filling your pockets, make sure it is worth it.  Are those pens really that attractive?  Will you be able to sell enough cheap biros to feed your family for however long it takes you to find a new job?

Earlier we looked at the unwritten rules of office life.  It might well be such a rule that you do take home perks.  And if you choose not to, make sure you don’t get labeled as a teacher’s pet or goody-goody or anything else that could get you ostracized.  Be part of the herd even if you steal nothing. Let your boss know you don’t, but make the staff think you are the same as them.

And watch out for the free phone calls and the internet connection. These might not qualify as take home perks but it is still theft to make free phone calls when you aren’t allowed to.  There is a good chance they get monitored, so don’t do it.

Fiddling expenses can be part of the office culture.  If you don’t do it, it can blow the whistle on the others who do.  So what do you do?  You have to be honest and above board but you can’t rat on your colleagues.  Ask the audience?  Phone a friend?  Doing it might seem the lesser of two evils, but you are a Rules Player now and can’t condone such activity.  Better to say in advance to your colleagues that they can do what they like or want but you won’t be a party to such irregularities.  Warn them before hand and then if they still insist on doing it, you haven’t dropped them in it.
(Excerpts from THE RULES OF WORK by Richard Templer Read “The Secret of Knowing People who count” from The Rules tomorrow on Asabeafrika)


Rule-to-Work Series

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