Rule 84: Know the theft or perks rule

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.
 


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“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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