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The Workplace Snitch: How to Handle Them and Survive September 23, 2008

Posted by dapinoyemployee in Da Pinoy Employee, Working with Bosses and Officemates.
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Remember way back in school when you ganged up on the kid who would tell the teacher on you?  We hated snitches then and we still don’t like them now.  But you know… these kids grow and become adults and pretty soon, they’re working in that cubicle next to you.  And there’s more good news: they haven’t changed their snitching ways.  They may have been a bit harmless way back when but now, they could cost you your career.  So how do you handle workplace snitches and survive?  Here are ways to deal:


Number 1 rule: Keep your mouth shut.
A snitch gathers as much information as there is freely available and then uses it to his/her advantage.  If you talk, balk, react or accuse, your words could be manipulated easily to their liking. 

If you want to survive a workplace snitch, deal with them on a professional level.  Never – and I can’t emphasize this enough – never ever give them too much information, whether it’s about your life or about your work. 

Number 2 rule: Protect yourself and your career.
There are two ways you can do this: keep everything about your work confidential and do your job.  That way, the snitch won’t have any ammo to fire at you. 

Keep your drawers locked, avoid leaving important documents lying around, don’t discuss the most important details of any of your projects to people who aren’t involved and protect electronic files with a password.  If you have a secretary or assistant, warn them about keeping things confidential.

Being a good performer at work will also help.  On your own, you are a valuable asset to your company and your bosses are bound to know this.  Trivial comments can’t and shouldn’t hurt you. 

Don’t fight back by snitching.
When you’re placed at a disadvantage by a workplace snitch, your instincts will probably tell you to fight back by getting all sorts of negative information about the bastard.  Don’t do it, especially if you want to maintain your boss’ and your co-workers’ respect.  Don’t fall for the ‘an eye for an eye’ philosophy.  It will backfire.

Never ever lash back.
If a snitch finds you a target, it would seem like a natural reaction to just simply let them have it.  Try to watch the temper.  If you let loose, you’ll be doing the snitch a big favor.  Snitches live for the attention and gladly participate in the scene you have somehow created.  Always maintain your steely composure.  Most snitches like to see vulnerability in their co-workers.  Don’t let them see yours.

Give work to the snitch.
This technique will work best for you if you’re a supervisor or a manager.  The workplace snitch is doing what he/she does because they have the time.  If they have work to do, their gray matter will be focused on the task and not on their destructive ways.  And you know that when the brain works, the mouth usually shuts up.

Should you snitch on a snitch?
A good rule of thumb when dealing with a snitch is simply to avoid, avoid, avoid.  If you accuse someone of being a snitch, you should have a really solid evidence to prove it.  If not, just keep your mouth shut.

So how did YOU deal with the workplace snitch?  Share your thoughts here.

Need to know how to handle officemates as evil as the snitch?  Here’s a link to dealing with bad officemates.

Comments»

1. Joshwe Aranda - February 16, 2010

Yes. All your suggestions make a lot of sense and comes in very timely as I found one at work and I feel much more equipped with the skills I will need on how to survive and handle workplace snitches.

Please do email me more of your articles. You seem to be an seasoned professional when it comes to dealing surviving the workplace jungle. For example, I would like to see and read an article on how to manage an inexperienced manager or supervisor.

2. Ryan - July 20, 2010

Give the guy enough rope and he’ll hang himself. Just keep doing the right things. I work with a back-stabber who says one thing to the boss and comes and tells others, “So and so said this but I say piss on it. Leave it for 3rd shift (or whomever),” then tells the boss, “I told him but he obviously didn’t care. I don’t know what his problem is.”

I let him tell me, “Piss on it, leave it for 3rd shift,” and then make it a point to do it perfectly. I like the idea of when the brain works the mouth shuts up. I also think that the squeaky wheel gets the grease because it’s the only one that has something wrong with it. If you just throw out the squeaky one and replace it with a new one the problem is gone. If the new one starts to squeak, get rid of it but look further into it.

3. Anonymous - December 24, 2010

Very helpful advice — thanks!

4. sally smith - February 18, 2011

This is right on! We have a snitch – she’s quit several times but like a bad penney always comes back. We all know she’s the boss’s pet because she provides unnlimited information gathered by evesdropping, etc. Sadly our boss rewards snitches so we’ve got two – a man and a woman. This guy is like a woman and thrives on informatino gathered; can’t wait to report to boss. You’d think in the end there would be justice but apparently not. I quit.

5. WA Nelson - September 1, 2011

Very insightful, and yes, timely.

6. chaz - January 19, 2012

For 14 yrs I have put up with a really nasty snitch.
If anything goes wrong with anything, its always someone elses fault usually mine. I tried to befriend him at first, gave him and his kids an exercise machine, let him hunt on my land. But he continued to squeal and put the blame on anyone but himself. I will eventually get even with the dick head, but Im going to wait til I retire.

dapinoyemployee - May 24, 2012

Thank you. I must say that experience has taught me well.

dapinoyemployee - May 24, 2012

Sadly, employing a snitch is a dirty tactic that some bosses use to make sure they know what’s happening in the workplace. Two of my former bosses were guilty of this and one of them even asked me to do the snitching. I went through the motions but purposely did not provide anything useful, so he dropped me and turned to someone who was more willing. I hope you find a better work environment but let me warn you: snitches are everywhere. You cannot get rid of them that easily.

7. Angie 006 - July 25, 2012

I should have read this little sniped before I had my annual employee review today. I have snitches at work and based on some of the comments during the review I know who it is (somehow this persoan turned it in the way that I am a “negative person”) and I have to say that I just learned not to have friends at work, keep my mouth shut and not to be helpful going forward while “maintaining to be a professional” – I know, snitches are everywhere but after being in the workforce for over 30+ years I am always amazed what type of people are out there who just enjoy these games :(

8. Giorgio - August 31, 2012

what about the snicth works for the bosses??????????????

9. Anonymous - December 4, 2012

Very good information,we have the same problem in our office,instead of him giving you a heads up about something you have missed he will copy everybody in an email making you look a twat. Every dog has its day and his time will come,Karma.

10. Anonymous - January 19, 2013

So glad to stumble on this post, you could not have described an office snitch in such a clear and concise way. But help, office snitch, has reported back to senior managers that I could be leaving my work place early and going home. Six months ago I was asked by my manager to travel, via the staff bus, to help in another department, this journey takes about 35 minutes, consideration is also for travel time back to base. My manager advised me to take the bus at a particular time which meant that I would arrive back to base some 20 minute before my finish time, my manager told me that I could then go straight home. Because the travel time happens during the lunch time period I do not take any lunch break, I usually grab a sandwich late morning while I continue working at my desk. Help again, restructuring is now being planned and senior managers want to make Office Snitch my line manager. Unbeknown to me, a new contract has been drawn up, and my current manager is pushing me to agree with the restructure and sign the new contract within a week,or sooner. I do not want office snitch as my line manager and I am furious that this person who seems to think they are some kind of super slueth has been spying and casting suspicion on my character,
Your advise, please.

11. Anonymous - March 9, 2013

I hate snitches!

12. Joe - March 23, 2013

Your suggestions make a lot of sense. I believe the person in my case would go to the union if he/she doesn’t get his/her way. I believe that he/she is very insecure. Either that or the person just doesn’t like me. Still, I wouldn’t mind “pushing this person’s buttons” once in a while about something he/she cares about. In this way, when he/she contacts the supervisor it will brand the person more as a snitch.

13. AnnMariePeluso - June 5, 2013

Oh my gosh my workplace snitch tells my supervisor if I breathe the wrong way, I try to avoid speaking to her at all costs. I told her I was planning on buying a gift for someone retiring and she told my boss, that I expected others to chip in which I didn’t. Riduculous stuff I stay at the top of my game, the good thing about a snitch is they are so worried about wathcing you that their own work will suffer eventually! Hang in there it can be quite stressful I know

14. Anonymous - June 25, 2013

So basically, you do nothing and that person just gets away with it. Great,

15. Anonymous - July 17, 2013

I am a paralegal to the partner of a law firm. Last year the office snitch was hired. He has done everything in his power to get me fired. A few weeks ago, I accidentally sent the snitch an email. It was an email I sent to the attorney a month or so before. It was a summary of my feelings about how my boss, a total bully, makes me feel.
After realizing I had sent it to the snitch. I emailed him telling him not to let my boss know. I told him it would not do anyone any good. He printed it out and handed to my boss. He lost face and fired me, again. Well two weeks went by and the work piled up and I was rehired for 2 dollars more an hour.
The snitch attorney? Well he gets to answer the phones now. LOL

Today, I made the mistake of going in to the new attorney’s office and asked him why he sent that email? He said, get the f k out of my office.
I said, Hey, you know what? When I was a kid we used to say, snitches get stiches. Dun dun dunnnnnn Yep, I fell for the trap.
I sooooo made his day.

What do you think he did? Yes, he went and blabbed to both partners. My only saving grace is I was personally trained by the lead partner and I am sort of his pet. Maybe not pet. More like a dog he likes to kick the most.
Plus, I do my job well and every dog kicker likes a doggie who does tricks.
The attorney called me into his office and asked me if I threatened the attorney with the above comment.
Dang, I wish I could have lied, but I just cannot lie, not successfully anyhow. LOL I said, Yes, but did not mean I would give him stiches. He is after all over 6 ft tall.
He said, this has to stop. I said, you are right.
In the words of Sweetbrown.
Snitches,
Ain’t no body got time fer dat!
Why can’t we just take em out back anymore?

Love the job. Hate the snitch.
Looking for a new gig.

16. Ry Ry - July 22, 2013

when dealing with a snitch wait till outside of work, find a dark ally that you know they walk down, or if they drive, find the car, become work-pales to a degree and when the time is right either get the guy/girls face knocked in, smash their car with a brick or drive by and destroy what ever hope they have by telling them false information for them to report that you know your superiors know is false.

17. Anonymous - September 20, 2013

nusty time of stiches, especially with bosses who thrive on gossip. companies like those die soon due to lack of creativity

18. marco F - September 26, 2013

great advise for the workplace, but, would they work for street snitches? i dont do any illegal activities, and yet, people find a way to snitch, any advise?

dapinoyemployee - December 25, 2013

Snitching on the street carries a riskier punishment, I suppose. I’m not sure about the code people keep or adhere to but I’m sure they do have one.

dapinoyemployee - December 25, 2013

Although I’m sure someone with a grudge the size of Madagascar will find these suggestions helpful, these steps are illegal and they could get you arrested, or worse. Giving a hated snitch your own version of street justice may not always work in your favor.

dapinoyemployee - December 25, 2013

Awww… your workplace snitch is a fiction teller as well. Your tactic is great – stay on top of your game and ignore the snitch. You’re right about them being too busy worrying about what someone else is doing. In time, their performance at work will be so bad they may have to work twice as hard than they should just to keep up… and keep their job.


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