For the benefit of the company

After 12 years as an Ethics & Compliance Officer, it still confounds me when I hear an employee, who is about to be fired for breaking the law, that he did it for the company.

The employee will argue and plead that they did not personally benefit from their wrongdoing. It was all for the benefit of the company.

And then I will ask this question: “Why did you think that breaking the law would benefit the company?”

Every time, the employee will try to respond quickly, on the edge of his seat, with a frantic look in his eyes, but nothing comes out of his open mouth. Then his body slumps, his eyes look down, and he leans against the back of his chair. Realizing for the first time that what he thought was the absolute right thing to do actually never made any sense whatsoever. After a minute of silence, comes the crushing realization that he will have to face his colleagues, spouse, kids, and friends, and explain why he’s not working at XYZ Company anymore.

It’s one of the saddest sights to experience in the corporate world.

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