would u fire people over US$11?

i know some relationships were destroyed for far more less.

but would you fire a reasonably good employee after finding out he changed the receipt and add $11 than what was originally there? someone (who sort of asked me opinions about really strange stuff lately) asked me that question.

i’d like to know what you think. he told me.

almost automatically, i answered him. “it really depends whether or not he can do his job really well. if he is just so-so, i wouldn’t have second thoughts. if he’s pretty good at his job, i would reprimand him for such actions but i wouldn’t fire him. you have the costs of hiring and training to consider. that’s just $11.” i paused.

yes, i can hear you scream in objection now (principle is principle, right?). you may continue to do so or you can shut up your mouth. i can guarantee you you’d be screaming harder once i expound why i said what i said.

every employee has a price tag. anybody who would insist otherwise, open your eyes a little wider and look around.

the value of what is company property is often lost to the employees, especially on little items. medicine reimbursements, printing personal stuff, using company mobile phone for personal calls, bringing home office calculators, spending long breaks at the coffeshop few blocks away, and so on. why is this so?

perhaps, it is the immateriality of such that makes it not matter so much. or perhaps, the value of outright honesty and trust is lost on us already.

and what is it compared to managers firing subordinates who failed them in their managerial assessment and hired replacements who wouldn’t mind kissing their asses just so they can receive a performance bonus? and what is it compared to supervisors owning up someone else’s achievements? and what is it compared to an honest mistake done over and over again resulting to an expense for the company?

would you fire someone over $11? i still would not if he is skilled; i would not have second thoughts if he isn’t. what use is an employee who is not skilled and cannot be trusted? you are not running a goddamn shelter house (and even then…). but if he is skilled and is superb at his job, and it is a mere $11 (and it being a first offense), would you want to go through the cost of screening, hiring and training a replacement for that? and what would you want to do with the hundreds other people in your company who was probably bringing home bondpapers and pens and spending half of their time at the office looking at US or UK or AU immigration requirements? and what about the project team who insisted a 2-day job would take them 4 days to finish? that’s 2 more days of pay they could have worked on other stuff.

to quote someone, $11 is such a trashy amount to sell you character for. and i agree with him. in fact, anybody would agree with him. but everybody is risking it anyway.

“reprimand him if he is skilled. chances are, all will be clear as to why he did it during confrontation.” i told him. “and see if you need to review your process controls. chances are, you would need to.”

would i fire people over US$11? i still stand on my principle (crooked it may be for other people).

i would behave differently on personal relationships; but then, i do not pay people to become my friends. you do not and are not supposed to put price tags on friendships (or romantic relationships). it is not healthy.

besides, if a friend would steal that money from me when he/she could easily borrow it, i would be very insulted. to risk a friendship for $11! what kind of friendship is that?


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