Wealth Shift: The Decline of Ethics in America
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Chapter 3
Wealth Shift in the Workplace – Common Examples of Wealth Shift

"Annual Company Party"

Just so we are clear about what Wealth Shift in the workplace is, workplace Wealth Shift is any behavior that results in an un-negotiated reallocation of cash and/or other items of monetary value from an organization to an employee at the expense of the organization’s stakeholders. Remember, as far as one person’s perception of the Wealth Shifting behavior of another goes, we will not be taking into consideration any technicalities or excuses. Instead, we will be adhering strictly to what is commonly referred to as The Smell Test.

The Smell Test: If it looks like a rotten fish and stinks like a rotten fish, then it is a rotten fish.

The ways in which employees Wealth Shift are incredibly vast, vary with the roles that different people play in the company, and are also quite industry-specific. In this Chapter we will primarily be discussing the Wealth Shift techniques employed by workers in the lower levels of an organization. Because the ways that executives have found to Wealth Shift are so vastly different (and so much more complex and far-reaching) than what we see at the lower levels of our organizations, we will save our discussion of those techniques for the chapter entitled Lessons from the Big Boys.

Common Examples of Wealth Shift in the Workplace

1) Using the internet at work for personal reasons

2) Using the telephone at work for personal reasons

3) Consistently coming in late, leaving early, running personal errands, taking two-hour lunches, and long (or extra) coffee breaks

4) Punching time clocks for other people (and vice versa)

5) Padding or “maxing out” expense reports

6) Calling in sick when not sick (aka taking a “mental health day”)

7) Taking office supplies

8) Taking other types of company supplies (food, paper products, etc)

9) Taking cash and big-ticket equipment

10) Adding fictitious vendors and “ghost” employees to company payable records

11) Gossiping, practical joking, standing around doing nothing, avoiding the boss, goofing off, etc.

12) Personal use of company assets (fax machines, copiers, planes, facilities, etc)

13) Fringe benefits and other forms of compensation that have not been negotiated in an above-board or truly arms-length way

14) Decision making that benefits a particular employee or employees, but is not in the long-term best interest of the company, its lenders or its shareholders

15) Taking credit for someone else’s bright idea


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