Think Before You Steal from the Company

This should be a no brainer but it bears a conversation. In today’s world, it’s easy to think that we can stay over a little bit when we fall behind, or do things without permission. But what happens when those things are taken too far? I’ll give you a prime example. One of the companies I worked for, had people stealing time from the clock. They would stay over and charge the company for time that they hadn’t truly been working. Eventually this did catch up to them but the damage it can do to your reputation can haunt you for a very long time. Stealing is stealing. It doesn’t matter in what capacity. It’s different if you are staying over because you truly get overwhelmed. If you are able to justify the time, most bosses are pretty reasonable. They understand that there are times in the day that we just can’t get everything done. Just don’t abuse it.

I’ve seen people steal supplies from companies. I inadvertently did it when I left a previous employer. I did eventually return the items but it took a while to get everything back and I felt horrible about the mistake. It wasn’t intentional. At the time, I had lost my father due to cancer, a child, a marriage, and my job. I was overwhelmed and it was easy to make mistakes at that point. Another thing that is a huge no-no is hanging out at work after hours using the internet and other resources unless you have permission to do this. I don’t know about all of you but when it’s time for me to go home, I go home. I don’t like to linger about. Now that I’m in charge of my own store, I don’t like to give my tenants the impression that I’m going to hang around after hours for them to come up anytime they please to the office. There’s a reason that office hours exist. We all need a life outside of our jobs in order to maintain a balance.

I’m guilty of going into work early to make sure my site looks good. Several managers do this. First impressions are crucial in any business and many of us are struggling to make sure that we are approachable during this COVID time. It makes our job much harder when other employees start to override decisions that managers make. There are a few employees at my company and I’m sure at many of your companies, that love to get others in trouble thinking that it’s going to make them look better in the company’s eyes. News flash. The more you try to get others in trouble, it will more than likely backfire on you. It’s also not a good way to make friends. I have one particular person who constantly tries to take over the facilities that she works at. She has an extensive background in property management and thinks she knows more than the rest of us. She may. But she tries to make decisions that she isn’t authorized for. She then causes problems for the rest of the managers to fix. When the shift is supposed to end, she clocks out but stays on the property extremely late. So far she has gotten away with it but there will come a day that it will catch up to her.

This should also go without saying. Don’t drink alcohol or do drugs on the job. Even if it’s after hours, you are on the company property. What would happen if you were drinking or taking drugs and were also on medication prescribed by your doctor? Would you be okay to drive? Even if you aren’t a threat to yourself, you might be a threat to someone else. I get it. We’re all under a lot of stress but drinking or doing drugs on the company premise’s is a pretty good way to get fired quickly and if you don’t get caught by the cameras, you will get busted at some point. Just don’t do it.

I’ve also seen people who would steal food items from the refrigerator at their jobs. If someone else has their name on food, it isn’t yours. Don’t take what doesn’t belong to you. There are too many cameras that focus on all of us now. Everything has a big brother vibe to it and yet there are enough people who feel that they are entitled to whatever they want just because they exist. This is why there are so many people who get agitated. There’s a lot of people who are playing by the rules and not stealing or causing tons of drama who don’t get the appreciation or recognition they deserve. There’s something that’s called morals that is evaporating in society. Have I done things that I’m not proud of in jobs? Yep. But I’m owning it. I learned the hardway from my mistakes. If I can keep others from making the same mistakes then it’s worth owning them. Without mistakes, we can’t evolve. I’ve made my share.

Did you know that if you steal more than $950 worth of items that it’s considered grand theft? Yep. It’s a felony. If it’s under that amount it’s a misdemeanor. Here are some of the most common things that are stolen from a company.

  1. Money. This is one of the biggest things that are stolen. Money is something we all need to live on. It takes money to pay bills, to keep food on the table, clothes on our backs and places to live. It’s very tempting to take money when a person has none but don’t do it. It’s not worth it in the long run.
  2. Time. This goes back to what I’m talking about. If a person has a job and is an hourly employee, don’t steal the time.
  3. Supplies. I’m not saying that you can’t take a pen from a place or something like that but don’t take supplies that are used in the company. Most companies will let you take a pen but staplers, notebooks, and other supplies are generally earmarked for the company. You won’t win many accolades for stealing those supplies especially when the company notices what’s missing.
  4. Merchandise. This goes without saying. If you steal merchandise, I can guarantee you there’s an inventory for all merchandise. If the company chooses to give you merchandise that’s one thing but merchandise costs money. Most companies are watching every penny. Especially now. This pandemic is making everyone tighten their belts.
  5. Information. This sounds like it could be right out of a spy story but there’s a lot of truth to it. When companies have employees who run their mouths about what goes on in a company, they can set the stage for takeovers, mergers and acquisitions, and for others to steal from the company. Employees can inadvertently give information without even realizing they are providing information on a company’s weakness. If a company has a new product line that they are launching, do you think they want their competitors to get whiff of it before they are ready? No. Employees that give away this kind of information might as well put a sign on their forehead saying that they are in the market for a new job.

While it may sound like I’m griping, there is a little truth in this. I work with some of the most incredible people around but there are some that I work with that try to stab others in the back with management. In all the years I’ve worked, I have seen people not come to a person with problems and go over their heads. What they haven’t done is admitted to their own issues. Stealing company time, supplies, information, and merchandise have all been issues I’ve personally experienced with others. There’s no shame in working hard. Don’t be part of a company’s problem. Be the solution. Don’t steal from the company. If you see someone stealing, report it. It’s more of a common problem than people think and it’s happening in so many companies. It’s not being discussed much though. There are days that I completely understand why stealing is done but it doesn’t make it right. My only hope is that those who are stealing understand that in their actions, everyone eventually pays. It may not be something that is seen immediately but it will happen eventually.

2 thoughts on “Think Before You Steal from the Company

  1. For me it was very confusing in the beginning to distinguish between using the company’s pen to write until 17:00 and my own after. I am the same person, I need to write. But this is just a tiny example. It goes both ways when the company steels from you. You are payed for your time but with nothing productive to do 😐 and home dozens of projects waiting for each minute of your spear time.

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    1. No argument there. I’m seeing more of this happening though in companies that are small and struggling to stay open. I just hope some of the people who abuse it realize that they are part of the reasons jobs end up shutting down. I completely understand where you’re coming from. Thanks for commenting 🙂.

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