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Retro Rene: Ask Rene.. Should I Tell On The Office Cheat?



Hey all!

We’re takin’ it easy this week here at Good Enough Mother and to that end, we’ve got some pieces lined up that you may have missed the first time around. Enjoy this “Retro Rene” post and we’ll be back at full steam at the beginning of the year. Cheers!


Hi Rene,

Love your website and your point of view… that’s why I need your help! I work as a secretary at a building company and we all seem to get along except for one girl, Michelle, who is very bossy and shall we say “slightly”, a bit of a bitch to everyone around her (but not to the ones above her!).

A few weeks ago I saw Michelle having drinks with friends – a night out I know she ‘expensed’ as a business cost (I collect all the office expense forms)

So should I tell on Michelle to our boss – or do you think it will backfire on me?


Rachel, Indianapolis


Dear Rachel:

The only thing people despise more than the office cheat is the office tattletale so listen up. I truly believe this will all work out in the end and you won’t even have to get involved. Until then, think about these points.

WHAT BUSINESS IS IT OF YOURS? Look, I hate cheaters as much as the next guy, but there are times when it’s clear  we should speak up and times when we should just let the universe unfold, as it should. If someone is in imminent danger, we step in. If someone is short-sighted enough to put their career on the line for two dirty martini’s and a plate of hot wings, we mind our own business because they’re morons. Steer clear.

TELLING ON HER WILL REFLECT BADLY ON YOU: Refer to above. In many cases (not all because I have worked for some idiot managers) the people who ascend management positions did it because they are pretty astute. Some, not all. They’re also busy people whose job it is to manage production and harmony in the office environment. When you go to them with this tale of how Michelle is pulling one over on the company, instead of earning your boss’ undying appreciation, he/she is going to wonder why you care about two martinis and some chicken wings. It will look like schoolyard tattling and it will not go over well. Truth be told, if this has been going on for a while, your boss has probably done a bit of gumshoe detective work him or herself and will draw his or her own conclusion and he rest, as they say will be history. Michelle will be too.

GIVE HER ENOUGH ROPE, SHE WILL HANG HERSELF: Also known as Karma. I truly believe most, if not all things, work out the way they are supposed to. I also believe you get what you give. This woman is a liar and thief, and I don’t think for a second it begins and ends with alcohol and appetizers. People like Michelle have a character that is deeply flawed and as a result, this sort of behavior permeates every aspect of her existence. She will go through life, polluting the world with her bad actions and the energy from that will wheel around the earth, come back and bite her in the ass. You’ve heard Karma’s a bitch? Everyone gets theirs, it’s just not always on our timetable.

Now there’s a slim chance that Michelle never gets caught and in that case you’ll have to come up with a coping mechanism. Might I suggest taking keeping her out of your space to the extent that is possible and taking the energy you use to track her bitchy behavior and focusing it on your own work?

Good luck!

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  1. Deon Smith

    December 29, 2011 at 9:12 am

    The first paragraph of reading YOUR response solidified that we are on the same page: I grew up with the values of STAY OUT OF GROWN FOLKS BUSINESS. You stated the obvious (“What business is it of yours”), but more importantly how is HER life benefiting from sharing this? In life some of our problems and issues are by chance, others are caused when we “invite” them. You handled this very well.

  2. m.e. johnson

    December 29, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Can’t disagree depending on circumstances. But if Chickie was treating her friends to “some chicken wings and a couple martinis”, the bill might have been $100 or more. That will get any auditor’s attention. Not a problem for Rachel unless it ever comes out that she knew about it.

    What if it’s a small business that needs every dollar to stay afloat? Rachel might not want it to close or have to lay off people (which might include herself).

    I worked for a non-profit agency. Our books (which I kept) had to be scrupulous. I would have been the one called on to explain/prove that expenditure. I told all my coworkers, “If I see/know it, I’m telling it.” I would first give them a chance to clean it up or go to the boss themselves. I learned a long time ago that when it’s about company money you don’t screw around.

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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