Ponder this:

Monday, February 1, 2010


freud-1-1.jpg image by soundandfuryandpeace

We have, for the purposes of our discussion, a hypothetical person who is uncomfortable in a particular hypothetical work position.  

This person goes to work on a Friday when he feels not completely ill, but not completely well either, with symptoms of confusion, sluggishness and faint nausea. His motivation for showing up is to avoid his superior's disapproval of what would have been regarded as a lack of responsibility to his job and to the team on The Last Day Of The Month.  On this day, our hypothetical employee completes his tasks, and prepares to leave work early to go home to recover from his ailment. Upon his leavetaking, the superior notes the employee's gray appearance, expresses sympathy, and in a first-ever act, grants a congratulatory message on a month's paperwork well-completed.

On the following Sunday evening, the superior contacts our employee to apprise him of A Disaster . . . a sum of money, in cash and checks, that had once been in our subject's care, custody and control, found in the recycling bin instead of credited to  the proper accounts.  The superior tells the employee that this Sunday-evening warning is a kindness to avoid the shock of such an announcement on a Monday morning, which is the First Day Of The Month, with all the implications which accrue. The superior closes the conversation with a statement of regret at having to break the news and that he had thought the last month had gone so well.

Employee is taken aback, shocked, horrified, abjectly sorry. And then begins to remember and realize how such an act might have occurred. Understanding brings more feelings of guilt and self-loathing.  After an hour or two of severe distraction, our man begins to feel a little more at ease. It happened. It's done. No money was actually lost. He was sick at the time of the misplacement (and surely if it hadn't been an accident he could have found better places to put all that cash!) and, after all, tomorrow's another day.

Monday morning rolls around and our man goes to work where he finds that, although he is required to spend his day in the office where the sin occurred, he is given no work to do. His regular tasks have been shifted to others because the superior "just can't take the chance."  

In the Employee's place, what action would you take?


Recycled Cottage & Garden said...

Have a face to face talk with the employer and discuss what happened, discuss it has never happened before, etc, etc. If the boss still does not trust the employee, then I would ask if there is a different position I could fill until I earn his trust again. Having worked at a job where I was responsible for very large amounts of money each day, even they gave a person a 2nd or 3rd chance unless a real crime of theft could be proved. Personally, I would feel all those emotions your man did for much longer than a day.

Lord Wellbourne said...

I'd remind the employer that, as he had observed, I was not well on the day in question. Then I would remind him of a clever saying said by a gentleman who faced far worse consequences--"let he who is without sin (read: fault) cast the first stone (read: aspersion). Then take the new assignment with as much grace as I could muster--never yielding to guilt or self-recrimination--until the bastard got over his cheap, imported self.

Barb said...

Honesty is best. Ask for a private meeting with the Superior. Discuss. Be direct. Show willingness to take responsibility but also relay confidence that the same mistake won't happen again. Hope that an adult solution rather than childish retribution is forthcoming. Breathe and stay calm.

Von said...

Ask to discuss,note response and either attempt to do better, expect better or resign, find new job or start own business, emigrate, take early retirement, train for new career or seek career counselling.Good luck and don't forget having your own business means you never have to justify a day off.

Friko said...

Does the employee really want to stay in the job or is the whole misguided sequence of events (staying while feeling ill, making a mistake,being a martyr) a calculated attempt - subconsciously - to have the work taken off his shoulders and/or get dismissed?

Re fridge soup: would you send me your email address, mine is on my profile.

Carolynn Anctil said...

Bring a book and enjoy the unexpected vacation. Or, go home, citing the fact that He is STILL feeling under the weather. Take a day or two to relax, reassess His current position at the job and, maybe send out a few resumes.

In the words of John Wayne "Don't let the bastards get you down."


Bernie said...

It would depend on how long he had been employed with this company. If his record is impeccable as it is supposed to be, then I would just let him go on with his job and not humiliate him to the point where he has to earn my trust again. I hope I understand what this is about. I had to go back and read earlier posts. Love the funnies.