The majority of this crime was straightforward theft, but a significant amount was more complex including fiddling expenses, stealing intellectual property, adjusting accounts and taking bribes.
“How terrible,” I hear you say, “One in five of those people I see on the tube every day is a crook.”
But hang on, it’s not as if you’ve never nicked anything from work is it? You probably started with pens and paper clips then moved on to newspapers and magazines. I bet there are still some copies of the Harvard Business Review in your house that you borrowed and just forgot to take back. I’m sure you meant to buy it yourself but the HBR is so damned expensive and it was just lying there…..
And what about the time you printed off several copies of your MBA dissertetion early in the morining when no-one else was in? That nice bloke in the print room did a great job of the binding and presentation too, didn’t he?
As for those of you who have worked abroad, I’m sure you couldn’t resist altering the exchange rates just a little to get back more than you paid out on those foreign hotels and taxis.
Then there are the long phone calls to friends and family on the company-funded mobile phone, the personal trips claimed as business mileage and the use of the firm’s computers to create the great CV and presentation that will get you your next job.
But that’s when you pillaged the most, wasn’t it? When you left your last job, all the stuff from previous projects you had worked on was just so easily downloaded onto one of those memory sticks. OK, it was the firm’s intellectual property but, dammit, you worked on a lot of it didn’t you? And if you didn’t, your mates probably did and they wouldn’t mind if you nicked it to make yourself look good in your shiny new job, would they?
Come on, we’ve all done it. Most people see this low level theft almost as part of their remuneration. Few lose much sleep over it, even though it is technically a sacking offence.
It’s getting worse too. I’m told that some people now spend a lot of time and company resources writing their own blogs from work. Another case of declining moral standards, I reckon.