A Moral Dilemma
We’ve all heard the phrase, ‘Don’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch?’ Whether it was relating to a family or a group of friends, there was always one person who made things go awry or is a spoilt sport. But what made someone a bad apple? And how do people face them when they set their sights on you? The better question to ask sometimes was how does one know who the bad apple was in their case. As it turned out, with a little sleuthing and a lot of due diligence, it wasn’t so hard to find who the culprit was.
Take “Ned” for example. Ned was a manager at a mid-sized business who knew that sometimes people need help to get things done. Sometimes it took two to get the job done. And we should always be helpful and offer support to those in need when working. However, not everyone appreciated Ned’s notion. Take Ned’s new team lead for example. We’ll call her “Mabel.” Because of her, Ned learned the hard way how true the saying was about that one bad apple.
Slipping Through The Cracks
Ned thought it would be an ordinary work day when we started his day as a manager at a mid-sized business. Why would he think any differently? It started off just as any other day would? But that day, he was assigned a new member to his team. Her name was Mabel. Ned didn’t think anything of her at first. Sure, he noted she was fresh out of college. She was young and in her mid-twenties. Everyone deserves a chance, right?
But there was something a tad bit off about Mabel. She had a few ‘quirks’ that would interfere with her performance. Mabel would blabber on and on about all of her grand ideas and plans but never seemed to have anything to show for it. And Ned noticed clients making complaints about how she never followed up with them, constantly. But when he’d approach Mabel about it, she always had an excuse. When doesn’t she? It was either the client being difficult, she was buried under a mountain of work to do, or how her emails must’ve gone to spam.
She never took responsibility, it seemed.
But enough was enough. Ned wanted to see some serious change. After all, he had other things to worry about being a manager and whatnot. So, Ned decided to pull her aside after one of their monthly meetings and expressed his grievances. He told her that she needed to speak up if she felt like she couldn’t get all her tasks done. After all, he couldn’t afford for things to slip through the cracks. Ned understood sometimes the pressure at work gets to be too much sometimes so he offered to redelegate resources and offer help. Mabel’s performance was affecting the whole team by then.
What did she have to say for herself?
Her response was, ‘Yep, yep. Everything’s good. I’ve got it under control.’
But he’s heard it all before from her and the same pattern of everything falling apart and misplacing blame would occur.
Ned found himself in a jam. While he didn’t want to become a micromanager, he had to do something. Opting for something less severe than formal performance management, he told her he’d check in with her on Monday mornings for no more than ten minutes. Sounds pretty fair, right? He’d get the check-ins he needed and he wouldn’t take up too much of her time. However, Mabel was none too pleased about the direction this had been headed.
Revenge Is Best Served Cold
To give some backstory on how things took a turn, it’s wise to note that Ned’s role included using the company’s card to purchase things on an as-needed basis. While it wasn’t in Ned’s name, it was still he had access to it. No big deal, right? He’s used it responsibly before. So he never thought to check on the account.
Not until the day he received a call from the company’s accounts about a few unusual purchases that were made recently. Purchases included a photoshop subscription, a couple of UberEats orders, and, of all things, an HBO subscription. These purchases boggled Ned. He didn’t know where they came from and he told the account manager as much when he was asked about it. The other team leader had no idea where they came from either.
However, Ned’s misfortune didn’t end there because his boss caught wind and called him into his office.
The Hot Seat
When the boss had called Ned into his office, he noticed the other team leader “Greg” was there. Ned’s boss had asked them point blank what was going on. Both Ned and Greg denied having any involvement with the purchases. They were innocent. With no leads on who it could be from, the accounts team had started calling the places where the charges were made and asked them directly who made the charges.
Much to Ned’s dismay, they all reported that it was under his name and registered to an email address with his name on it. How could this be? He was left speechless. The idea it was from him was preposterous. Ned felt sick in that meeting. This did not look good for him. He was suddenly worried he’d lose his job from this.
His boss had told him that the use of the company card was a privilege. Although Ned had declared his innocence once again, he could tell his boss hadn’t believed him. Internally, Ned blamed himself. All the different scenarios floated through his head of how it could be in his name. Maybe Google accidentally synced the card to his email and his wife used it somehow.
Again, Ned found himself groveling and said, ‘I don’t know how this happened, I assure you that I know that none of those expenses are appropriate uses of company funds – there must have been some kind of mistake, can I please have the details and look into it.’
He didn’t how, but somehow he managed to leave the meeting with his job still intact. However, someone else was surprised as well.
Coincidence Or Not?
Although Ned had managed to keep his job, the mystery still needed to be solved. After leaving the meeting, Ned came face to face with Mabel who was smiling like she ate the canary. She told him she waited for their morning meeting. That’s right, they still had their morning meeting to conduct. However, he told her something came up and they could meet the next day.
Her face was priceless. Her jaw hit the floor and she was surprised. ‘Oh will you be in tomorrow?’ she asked Ned.
Ned was confused. Because, why wouldn’t he? Current troubles aside, there was no reason for her to think otherwise. ‘Yes, why would I not be in tomorrow?’ he asked her.
She just sipped her tea and said ‘Oh, no reason,’ then turned back around.
Ned couldn’t place it, but something felt off to him. Things were not adding up. He decided to continue the investigation himself. After all, someone had been using his name. He could have been hacked. Who knew what the reason could be? Slowly but surely, the dots started to connect.
How The Tables Have Turned
Ned was like a bloodhound as he tried to figure out who the culprit was. He recalled the places where the purchases were made to see for himself where the purchases had been. No detail was too small for him. He even used his name to see if that would help. Finally, someone had some answers for him!
The person he spoke to for UberEats had given him the location where the food had been delivered to. Surprise, surprise, it was in his own city. Who would have thought? So it ruled out someone hacking him. Ned could relax about that conundrum. But now he had to dig some more because he was not only suspicious but he was angry as well.
Something kept nagging at the back of Ned’s mind. He didn’t like to think the worst of people but his gut told him to pull up Mabel’s file. This is where the plot thickens.
Justice Is Served
Ned didn’t want to believe it. But he saw it with his own eyes. He pulled up Mabel’s employee file and checked her address. This was it. The end of the investigation was near. He double-checked it and compare her address to the address UberEats gave him and everything fell into place. Would you look at that? The address was within her neighborhood all along!
Ned was steaming mad. But he had to be patient. He waited until Mabel left work to call IT (Information Technology). When they got to him he requested access to Mabel’s laptop. Desperate times called for desperate measures. And just like that, he uncovered more information. He discovered the same email used for the purchases was listed under her account. He had to admit, that some things she did were smart. She used the IP (internet protocol) address from their job so it would be tied to him and also delivered the food to another address. Where she went wrong was her password being saved to her laptop. The proof was in the pudding.
Ned couldn’t wait for a second longer. He called his boss immediately and explained what he had found. He had the IT team on the line with him for additional back for his story. Also, so his boss wouldn’t think he made it all up. Because let’s face it, his boss hadn’t believed him the first time around. So, naturally, Ned wanted something more concrete to show his boss.
The next day she was called into the boss’s office and was fired. She left the office with tears streaming down her face. What did Ned do? He waited for her outside the office sipping a cup of tea. It had been cold by then, but it was worthwhile to Ned. Ned thought revenge never tasted sweeter.
Sweet, sweet, victory.
To top it off Ned ordered UberEats to her house as a ‘good riddance’ meal. Hope she likes Wendy’s. At the end of the day, Ned left on good terms with his boss when it was time to switch companies. And they both decided to let bygones be bygones. But Ned will always remember to be careful who’s around you. You never know if they plan on your demise.