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Should You Snitch? Why Spying on Your Officemates May Be Bad for Your Career September 9, 2008

Posted by dapinoyemployee in Da Pinoy Employee, Working with Bosses and Officemates.
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We’ve all seen, met and known them – snitches, that is.  They’re the spies, the boss’ eyes and ears, the people who suck up to the big wigs and those who make reporting on their officemates’ activities part of their job descriptions.  In cop and gang movies, snitches are often referred to as ‘rats’ and they could be as dirty, wily and loathed.  In some cases, they can even cost someone his job.  So now you’re interested.  But should you snitch?  Here’s why you should and shouldn’t.

Snitching can ruin your character and reputation.
People are wary of snitches, particularly if they’re the type who can be bought or bribed.  Snitches just don’t snitch or spy on their officemates because it’s their nature – they do it because they can gain something from it.

Snitches will often spy for a boss, a higher-up or someone who exercises some kind of authority or power in the workplace.  In exchange, the snitch hopes or is promised reward of some form – special privileges, a promotion, entry into an exclusive clique, even money or gifts.

If people realize you’re the snitch, you will be considered a traitor and will be treated as such.  Don’t be surprised if people give you the cold shoulder or are wary about trusting you or bringing you into their confidence.  Judas was a snitch and he didn’t exactly have a lot of fans.

You will be viewed as unreliable.
If your officemates or co-workers see you as someone who’s difficult to trust, they will begin avoiding you.  Worse, you could even be ostracized, shunned from professional and personal groups and activities.  A simple matter such as engaging someone in a conversation will be viewed as suspect – even if you really have no snitching agenda tied to it.
Your co-workers will not believe what you have to say.
Because you are considered unreliable, whatever you have to say will be considered as a trap.  Remember the boy who cried ‘wolf’?  Even if you’re telling them the truth, it will be viewed as a lie, a devious means to obtain information from other people.

You’re assuming that your boss can’t handle the issue.
Most snitches spy on their officemates thinking that they’re doing the boss and their company a favor.  If this is your personal reason, take a closer look at how things really work in your office. 

Is the issue really that important that you – yes, you – of all people have to be the source of information?  Do you have any business at all being involved?  Will the issue have a huge impact on how things work at the office?  Is the boss really ignorant of the issue or you just think he is?

Is your boss the only person of authority in the office who can do anything about it?  Is your boss even involved?  Why do you think your boss isn’t handling the matter?  Could it be that he has things under control and you’re just not in the know?

Next, examine your real purpose for spying on your officemates.  Is it because you truly care for the company or you just want credit?  Perhaps you want to be viewed as a major influence in case the issue does blow up.  If you do snitch, what positive effect would it have in the general scheme of things?  Or are you simply spying because of envy or greed?

You could be derailing someone’s career.
If you do spy on an officemate and then make an erroneous report, think about the consequences.  If you falsely accuse someone and he/she does lose her job or get demoted or suffer from a bad reputation, wouldn’t that have a bad repercussion for you (think karma)?

You’ll be bringing down employee morale.
Throwing a snitch in the midst of a perfectly functioning office or work environment is a very effective means of making people feel that management doesn’t trust them.  Breeding paranoia in the workplace makes it a vulnerable to office gossip and dissension.  You could be the major cause of the breakdown of employee morale.  And that’s not something you will be proud of years from now.

What’s your story?

Have you ever spied on anyone?  Did it help advance your career or did it cause any problems?  Share it here and help others learn from your experience.

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Comments»

1. jap - February 2, 2009

im a suervisor and just oneday a new employee was hired by my superior for me ,and i found out that he is a relative of my boss which ,one day is telling me bad report doings of his co employee ,is this for a reason for being a spy?

dapinoyemployee - February 3, 2009

Unless it’s part of his job description to assess and monitor employees’ work performances, he shouldn’t be badmouthing anyone at all. Tread carefully, though. He is a relative of your superior and if they’re close, he might be your superior’s source of information (including gossip) in the office.

If the new employee is reporting bad stuff about his co-employees, make sure to look into the matter in a fair manner. Be objective. You are a supervisor after all and should show you are in charge. Let the person know that while you respect their opinions (and might even appreciate the occasional report or two), how you treat the matter will be entirely up to you. Try not to encourage gossip mongering, though. And if people start rumors, immediately ask them for proof or evidence. If they can’t show any, then they should either drop the matter or prove themselves.

Also, don’t always disregard what they say. There may be some truth to it. Just make sure that you give the issue reasonable attention. If the new employee is telling you that a co-worker is doing something bad and it turns out to be true, look into the matter and resolve it. If it’s a lie or just some nasty gossip, stop the issue immediately. Show that you are fair, just and considerate. They will respect you more for it.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

2. sammy - February 23, 2009

i work with a snitch, he is a horrible vile little man, i think he only does it so he can score brownie points with the boss. nobody likes him and he is such a bore, nobody wants to work with him. the amount of times he has said things about people in front of the boss in order to get them into trouble. we used to get on ok but i dont really speak to him now, i dont trust him at all. not nice working with a snitch, i personally find it quite stressful actually

dapinoyemployee - February 23, 2009

Hey, Sammy, thanks for dropping by. I used to work with a snitch too and at one point in my working life, I was even asked to snitch actively by my boss… which inspired this post. I hated it and tried to play cool by reporting only the good stuff and downplaying the bad I’d seen and heard.

To make the long story short, I lost brownie points with the boss. He then turned to another employee and gave him that part of my… er, job description. Thank God I got transferred.

Be careful about dealing with the snitch, though. Always make sure you got your back covered.

3. sammy - February 23, 2009

really you think they would have better things to do with their time then take notes and snitch. i think its partly sometimes because they are so unhappy @ home they have to bring it to work and make other peoples lifes miserable. my cousin who works in a famous supermarket, no names mentioned, nearly got the sack cos a snitch told on her as she left half anhour early, 1 am not bothered wot other people do at work as long as it doesnt involve me, if they want to leave an hour early, really unless i am in a supervisory role i consider it none of my business, and i would certainly never snitch on people. what goes around comes around im afraid and i would be to worried it would backfire on me. keep your head down thats what i say, and dont snitch unless someone snitches on you then of course thats different lol :)

4. oz - September 30, 2009

hi. i am an OFW here in the UAE. i used to have good working relationship with two of my so-called “pinoy kabayans” when i was just starting with this firm. lately, our office helper -who is from another country seems to have a knack at finding faults on me and in the process my kababyans started ignoring me when a recent criticism about me just came to a head. it’s really dissapointing why this sudden switch on their part as i couldn’t engage anymore in a casual conversation with my fellow filipinos. i started to feel like a loner in the workplace and out of touch on any office announcements. what’s more frustrating is that they seem to trust the office helper rather than me. i tried to talk things out with them, they just shrugged it off. one tried to respond nicely, while the other just seem not to talk about it and ignore the subject. one more thing, the office helper used to run errand for all of us and buy things at the store downstairs. now she exempts me this time around, i just try to ignore it and go on with my work. how will i handle this kind of people before the boss finds out? besides i don’t want him thinking of me as an isolated employee who does nothing good while the others feast on the office pantry whenever he is out for a meeting.

dapinoyemployee - October 18, 2009

I’m so sorry about your situation. Handling awkward situations like what you’re experiencing right now can be quite stressful, particularly since you don’t really know what’s up.

I suggest you try to find out what really is the matter with all the snobbing that you’ve been experiencing. Is it really the helper doing and saying all the bad stuff like you suspect or is there another person/s contributing? You might also want to look at the rumors being spread about you and determine if they’re true or partially correct. If you need to apologize to anyone about anything, then do so.

If, however, what people have been saying about you is totally untrue, go to the next step:

Try to find a ‘neutral’ party — someone at the office who is levelheaded and doesn’t take sides and try to find out what’s going on, then move from there.

You could also try to talk privately with that other person who was nicer to you. My guess is that he/she is probably willing to tell you what’s up. Listen carefully and get as much information as you can.

Do not try to confront the helper in any way. If she’s from another country, you might have a difficulty in communicating with her, in case there’s a language or cultural barrier — no offense. Second, you will only make her feel more important than she is. I believe this is one person who’s trying to do powerplay and actually using more ammo and leverage than she really has.

Whatever happens, do not involve your boss or go crying to him, asking to make ‘kampi’ to you. That might be taken as a sign of weakness. Do your job well and try to excel in it. Document what you do so you have proof of your good performance.

Lastly, is there a way for you to make friends with other people at the office? It sounds as if there’s only a few of you kabayans there.

If your kabayans trust the office help more than they do you, it speaks a lot regarding their maturity and character. For God’s sake… mga Pinoy kayo in a foreign land. You are all in the same boat. What would they gain from ganging up on you?

I wish you good luck and I hope you overcome this small bump on your road to progress as a Pinoy Employee. God bless.

5. lost - December 3, 2009

Some of my coworkers are related to the boss. One of the relatives took an item but left the other and the billing invoice for both items in order that she pay for it on payday. Unfortunately, I noticed the missing item which was verified by a second employee as being present before said “thief” left. The boss was not in. I could go over the boss’ head or to the boss. Policy directs me to notify someone. I suspect that the issue will “go away” if I chose one option. Or I’ll go away if I chose the other. You opinion.

6. Gil - January 11, 2011

A snitch is the worst of the worst and lowest of the low, period.

7. Anonymous - November 10, 2011

I hate snitches they are nothing but jealous cowards.

8. Anonymous - October 25, 2012

why do something to get snitched on


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