So Jar and I watched The Informant this weekend, and as the tale unfolded from whimsical comedic asides to Shattered Glass-like tragedy, I found myself marveling at the chutzpah of the main character. (Granted, I realize that the film embellished the narrative a bit, and I learned that the real M.W. has shared his experiences to help others avoid the same mistakes. On his website, he writes: ” I am not a hero. Young adults entering the business world need to learn from that. I was involved with criminal activity, and I went to prison for almost a decade. No one is above the law, no matter how successful, no matter how wealthy, and no matter how educated. At one time in my life, and at a very young age, I had the world within easy reach.”)
Regardless, the film made me wonder what would drive a person to steal from his/her own company? I mean, we all have those days where we’d like to throw our phones out the window, watch the glass shatter onto the pavement outside, and run away forever. This is just a random nasty thought–it’s usually not that bad, and besides–there are bills to pay. But what makes you cross the line from “Take this job and shove it!” to “They owe me millions of dollars.” ? I mean, maybe I’m alone in this, but I get twinges of guilt if I check my email for 10 minutes (time theft–zing!). I can’t imagine embezzling money from a company via fake checks and bank accounts in the Cayman Islands.
This is not a criticism of M.W. , as he has clearly turned his life around. I just wonder what in our mental/physical/emotional framework shifts and allows us to turn off the nagging voice of conscience. When is it ever all right to steal, let alone steal repeatedly? Is it a lack of outlets for stress? Is it too many people rejecting or belittling us? Is it a need for excitement through crime? What is it?
Have you ever bent the rules at work for yourself?
If so, was it for your own behalf, or someone else’s?
Was it worth it?