Are you the inside man?

I love a good spy movie. Whether it is Emma Peel, James Bond, Jack Ryan, or Ethan Hunt, I am in line at the movies to check out the films. I love the fast cars, cool gadgets, chase sequences, and epic music scores.

One character I love to hate in spy movies is the traitor or inside man in the group. He or she is relaying information to the antagonist or worse, to the team leader in order to sabotage our heroes. It is a plot twist featured in spy films across the board, no matter the franchise. You can always expect it and want to guess which character it is.

Another place I cannot stand these treacherous spies is in the workplace.

You know what I am talking about. It is the co-worker who overhears the rest of the group venting and then reports back to the management, presenting it to them as what they overheard could disrupt the whole company.

I recently worked at a place where one of the workers would come along to lunches, breaks, and listen to everyone vent, and even join in herself. Afterwards, she would go back to the managers and misrepresent what was said, conveniently leaving out her part in the conversation. This cost several people their job, but she gained a promotion.

Am I saying that you should complain about your company or your bosses at work? Absolutely not! What I am saying is that it is okay for employees to vent about dealing with a tough customer, a crude deliveryman, the slow mail, or the lack of a response from someone you are trying to connect with. Everyone should have space to complain and they should be allowed to do so.

Likewise, no one should be the inside man or woman, tattling and reporting things to the managers. It is very hypocritical. Not only do you alienate your co-workers, you will also become the target of the spying yourself.

Be a trustworthy employee, to both your managers and especially to your co-workers.