ISSUE 92 ISSN 1712-468

Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind; the thief doth fear each bush an officer.

William Shakespeare 1564–1616

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This Week´s Inspiration

Do You Honor Your Job/Occupation


Are You a Petty Thief?   


One who steals, especially stealthily or secretly; one who commits theft or larceny

Larceny: The unlawful taking of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it permanently
Work: Activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or perform something; sustained physical or mental effort to overcome obstacles and achieve an objective or result; the labor, task, or duty that is one's accustomed means of livelihood; a specific task, duty, function, or assignment often being a part or phase of some larger activity

Let’s investigate the concept of being a petty thief at work. 

I am not talking about the direct theft of goods by employees which, by the way, is more prevalent than either shoplifting in the retail environment or illegal labor.

I am referring to the many individuals who flagrantly abuse their terms of employment through extended coffee breaks, long personal calls, leaving early, and a less than 100% commitment to their work responsibilities. 

Those individuals are petty thieves.

Just a couple months ago, a helicopter news crew tracked several Montreal civic workers. 

  • One worker was spending most of his days in a coffee shop—with a city work truck parked nearby.

  • Several city work teams were producing less than 10% of their quota.

To prove their point, the news crew also made pothole repairs. They were able to do more repairs in 3 hours than most of the city work crews did in a week. 

We all have days when we aren’t 100% on our game. That’s understandable. But those individuals intentionally were not fulfilling the responsibilities of their employment. No matter how you cut it, those city workers were stealing time from their employer. 

There are no good reasons for laziness, for shirking responsibility, and for not fulfilling obligations. When individuals behave that way, they are confirming they are willing to compromise their success, their purpose, and their passion . . . just to “get even” or “get away” with something. They lack the values of commitment, honor, and integrity. 

The only people they are really hurting are themselves.

Many years ago, my employment required me to be a member of one of the largest unions in the country. I could not believe the mentality of some of the members. They felt that without earning it, the world owed them everything. The only thing that was owed them was a swift kick in the butt! 

The nature of that union environment was let’s see how little we can do for the most pay we can get. By subscribing to that stance, they had sold their souls. 

Most of those petty thieves would acknowledge they are not happy and satisfied with their lives. Laziness and petty thievery do not equate with concepts like significance, satisfaction, fulfillment, purpose, passion, or inspiration. 

What is certain? Individuals like the Montreal city work crews caught doing nothing (stealing) will never amount to much unless they stop being petty thieves.

To get the work done, one European country now needs to hire 20% to 30% more employees than they actually require because absenteeism is so rampant. And rest assured, those individuals are not sick—but their attitudes certainly are.

Many developed countries are finding it difficult to compete with new, emerging economies. Why? Developed countries have moved from being productive, innovative cultures—qualities that helped them establish their success—to being self-centered and entitlement-focused. 

Entitlement is an insidious mindset that will limit your success and even be responsible for destroying entire businesses and cultures. 

About 10 years ago, one of my automotive clients inherited a staff with that mindset in a dealership he had purchased. Due to the union in place in that business, the new owner did not have the option of holding anyone accountable for his or her actions. When he did, it always resulted in a walkout. I guess you could call it honor among thieves.

The petty-thief-and-whining frame of mind was so pervasive and productivity was so low, the dealership went bankrupt. Those individuals preferred to go down with the ship than upgrade their values.

My challenge to you and others is this: Don’t accept that mindset.

  • If your work environment is dominated by that sort of thinking—get out now!

  • If you are participating in such behavior, ask yourself this: Would you be happy to pay yourself for the level of commitment you give to your everyday responsibilities? If you would not pay yourself for your level of effort, why should someone else?

  • If you don’t participate in wasting time but others at your workplace do— you should not accept that behavior for second. After all, their actions are directly costing you—in lost productivity, less profitability, less service, reduced teamwork, and eroded values. If you accept their poor behavior, you are an accessory after the fact.

And don’t think that if those individuals had a different job or if they were supervisors, they would act differently. People take their values with them. The way they act anywhere is the way they will act everywhere. By participating in the theft of time, they reveal their true colors. If they continue to follow that path, they will continue to be unhappy, dissatisfied, and miserable

  • Honor your employment or your contract with your employer or client. If you cannot do that, quit and move on.

 If you want to feel fulfilled and on purpose and live a life of significance, be 100% committed to your responsibilities. 

  • Never make excuses for yourself.
  • Hold others accountable.
  • Play for keeps.

To assist you to live on purpose and ensure you are in the right role with the right responsibilities—and to work with your gifts, talents, and abilities—consider

My Source Experience Journal and these CRG assessments.

This Week´s Action Steps

Do You Honor Your Job/Occupation
Are You a Petty Thief?

  1. Do you contribute 100% toward your role and responsibilities? If not, why not?
  2. What do you think of individuals who try to get away with doing as little as possible at work?
  3. Individuals whose purpose is to cheat their employer and be nonproductive are nothing more than petty thieves.
  4. Individuals who are lazy at work have revealed their values and sold their souls.
  5. By participating in the practice of being a petty thief at work, individuals have relinquished the probability of living on purpose or being passionate about their life.
  6. You take who you are wherever you go. The way you act anywhere is the way you will act everywhere.
  7. Fulfillment in your life will come from being able to be 100% engaged in all areas of your life. If you can not do that in your current role, responsibilities, or career, be honest with yourself. Honor your employer or contract and yourself—and move on.
  8. Never accept that poor behavior in others. If you can’t get it stopped, quit or you will be reduced to thinking and acting like that mindless group.
  9. To establish your own roadmap for success, consider My Source Experience Journal and these CRG assessments: the Personal Style Indicator or Entrepreneurial Style and Success Indicator, Job Style Indicator, Stress Indicator and Health Planner, Values Preference Indicator, and Self-Worth Inventory.
  10. No matter your situation, you can choose to inspire others to greatness by acting and conducting yourself with honor and commitment in everything you do.

Until next time, keep Living On Purpose!.

Ken Keis

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