I’ve worked at many fast food restaurants when I was growing up and a few mini marts;we had rats, mice and other yucky critters and then we had real workplace rats. This post is about rats in the workplace, but not the kind you may be thinking about now. While these rats may scurry about, they don’t nibble on left overs (well, I guess they could), these rats get you fired. Do you work in an atmosphere where employees are expected to rat each other out? If so, do you feel its just your imagination, that maybe you are being petty or perhaps need need a reality check? Most of the time I know where I am going with an article–but, sometimes it takes it’s own course. This one has a dilemma to ponder and I ask you for solutions or opinions. But I dug up a few things on the web that were interesting as well.
Do You Work with a Rat?
Okay, so we know this isn’t your typical workplace rodent that causes some of us to jump up of tables and desks, some people have to work with the rats as a condition of employment. Yeah, those ones.
The dilemma: My friend works at a small company who encourages their employees to tell on each other. In the four months that she’s been employed with this company, she noticed turnover seemed to be extremely high. She has seen new (and a few with more time than her) coworkers fired for no reason she could decipher, but then again, she isn’t management and is fairly new. As she gained the trust of a couple of senior coworkers, she was sucked into the company rumor-mill.
According to the rumor mill, it was believed that those fire-ees did nothing wrong. But note, before she she was hired (as reported by other employees as well) the company interviewer (usually one of the supervisors) specifically asks, “What course would you take if you noticed that one of your coworkers did something wrong?” Well, honestly, that is a pretty vague question. Lke what? Did some work task wrong, stole something, embezzled, did something unrelated to the job? When I asked my friend what her response was; she wasn’t taken aback, as that is a pretty popular interview question, often worded in one way or another.
Her answer, was the same as my initial response above- She asked them “In what frame of reference?” That was smart. She was saved completion of her answer due to the interviewers cell phone interruption and was then hired on the spot.
What’s not rumor, is that apparently, every so often, a random employee is invited by one of four supervisors to an after hours “happy hour.” At these seemingly social gatherings the employee is asked if there is anything on their mind they’d like to share. What happens after that? Well, according to the rumor mill, either that employee (who was invited to social hour) or a different employee is fired shortly thereafter.
Most of the coworkers she spoke with had been invited for happy hour at some point, some employees more than once. And all of them told her that they did not consume alcohol when offered. None of them admitted to answering questions about other employees, but did mention that they were asked about specific employees or that there was talk of other employees–negative and positive.
My friend shall gain first hand experience this Friday at her first social snitch happy hour. She asked me for advice. Well, being me, I’d quit, I wouldn’t want to work in such an establishment. But according to her, the salary is great, the coworkers are nice and the workload is easy for her. She attends college as well, so there is no outside learning related to her job that she needs to worry about–allowing her to focus her mental activities towards her education.
So her alternatives as I see them.
- Drink virgin cocktails
- Suddenly develop an illness or emergency and excuse yourself till the next snitch hour
- Wear a recorder for future protection to use in an EEOC [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission]
- Bring a friend (Maybe the rat will be too embarrassed to ask about other employees)
- Just say you love everyone to death and this is the best place you ever worked
- Rat everyone out for breathing and using restroom
- Tell on the boss for stealing toilet paper
- Admit that you noticed high turnover and that employees seemed to leave soon after having a social snitch meeting
- Give the rat some misinformation to feed to the boss, but make sure that information will discredit the rat–nah, you gotta be careful here.
The best advice I found was to ignore the snitch or if you have the power, put the rat to work sicne they must be bored. Another said it office politics and you just deal with it. But the best article I read on office rats, aka snitches was long, but it was very articulate. HR World went into how to spot a snitch, and then how to deal with them, both as an employee and a manager, the only thing I didn’t agree whole heartedly with was this:
How to Find and Stop the Workplace Snitch
5. Who never seems to leave the office: Ninety-nine percent of the time, those who work long hours are actually working hard, and they are probably arriving early or leaving late because they’re on a tight deadline or are overloaded with projects. But long workdays also give a snitch the chance to witness all other workers’ comings, goings and other activities. So if one of your co-workers is a constant office presence and they display all of the aforementioned warning signs, you may have found the offender-HR WORLD
Why don’t I agree? Well, because that describe my workaholic tendancies. I know it said 99 percent of the time–blah–blah–blah, but. No buts, I know, I stayed late and got there early and ate lunch at my desk. That didn’t make me the office snitch, it made me the manager. I digress.
Okay, maybe some of my ideas were bad, but really? What sort of activities could get you fired at this company? To me, it takes a special kind of dictatorship to run a company like this. I’d want no part of it. But, for my friend, it took her 13 months to land a job in the climate we are in, so I guess I can’t blame her for trying to hold her own.
Personally, I don’t think tattlers make good employees. It must be something from their child hood. What are your suggestions?
**Now, believe it or not, whether you call it coincidence or BS, as I was keying out rat, out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw one racing underneath the overhang of my lower kitchen cabinets. My first thought was, “It must be my imagination, after all, I was thinking and typing rat,” so that must be it and I do have a vivid imagination. I hope after looking at the images on Google, it was a mouse. Better yet, I settle for my imagination.
And if you don’t think office snitches are bad enough, look out, we now have store snitches. I found this 2 year old Youtube video. I must have missed this one, Large retail chains partnered with Homeland Security to catch customers doing bad things–no, make that suspicious things–what ever that is.
Welcome to our world in the 21st century.
If you have a rat in the workplace story, please share it with us. Maybe you have the best solution for dealing with workplace rats.