Hope for your financial life and beyond

Stealing From Your Employer

Hidden Nuggets #17 – “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.” – Ephesians 4:28

stealing from your employer

You gonna pay for that?

Your employer needs your hard work to benefit the company.

That’s why they hired you. The company was looking to fill a void so it could make a profit. Something about you stood out.  Match made in heaven.

They believed in you…trained you…even facilitated your success by assigning tasks that would maximize your skills.

So why are you repaying that generosity by stealing from your employer?

Stealing From Your Employer Actions

“What? Me? I would never think about stealing from my employer.”

Most wouldn’t. But before you dismiss the question, have you ever done these things at work:

…used company supplies or resources for something personal?

…called in sick when you weren’t?

…watched the Thursday afternoon, Round 1 of March Madness?

…taken 45 minutes for lunch instead of 30?

…fired up a game of Solitaire or Minesweeper?

…scrolled through Facebook postings when the boss’s back is turned?

…checked the stock ticker on your computer every five minutes?

…taken a snack from the break room without paying for it?

…not worked as hard as you can?

Am I being picky here? Are these “innocent” activities really stealing from your employer?

Honestly, I’m not sure where the line is drawn. Is taking three minutes before you make the sales call to check the Facebook status of your friends stealing time? Maybe the answer depends on the culture and expectations of your company. Some of these things would not be given a moments notice as wrongdoing by employers.

So if there is no clear standard set forth by your company, perhaps the answer lies in what you believe personally.

Questions: What do you believe personally? So you think these activities constitute stealing from your employer? Should stealing be viewed only in the context of money? Or could engaging in non-work activities on the clock or by not giving it your all be considered stealing?

Image by S. Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


A special thanks to Shannon at The Heavy Purse and Tonya from Budget and the Beach for mentioning Luke1428 posts in their weekly roundup. I appreciate your support!

Next Post: Revisiting Why I’m Here at the 200th Post: The Luke1428 Value Proposition

Prior Post: 4 Ways to Punch Through the Scary Questions at the Start

I hope you enjoyed that post. Want more?
Sign up to receive my blog posts via email and get your free gift...
99 Ways to Spend Less and Save More

Privacy Guarantee: I will not share your email with anyone.


  1. I’m very fussy about this. If I do personal things during my work day I end up staying late to make the time up. I probably err to much in favour of my employer, since I’ve worked a lot of unpaid overtime, since I am salaried, over the years. In addition, I will do some banking on line when on-line through my employer’s network as I see that they would see this as reasonable, but as far as checking facebook or blogs, I very rarely do this when at work as they have ways to track all this activity. If I’m ever leaving a comment or tweet during the workday it’s because I’m either off that day or working from home and taking a break and using my tablet. In good conscience, I can’t behave otherwise and I do consider it stealing from my employer.

    • It has to be tough as an employer knowing employees are involved with this stuff. It’s definitely unprofessional when it crosses the line of distracting a person from their work.

  2. Muahha, I’m reading this at work. Anyway, I think the line is drawn (time wise like calling in ‘sick’, reading blog posts, facebooking) when you’re not getting your work done. I right now, am waiting on something and actually don’t have a lot to do. However, when I am busier, I see nothing wrong in a few breaks throughout the day, in fact I’m sure it makes more more productive overall. Besides that, I try to only ‘steal’ things that I know are going to be thrown away, or are hardly used. For example, I don’t steal coffee packets straight out of the kitchen, but I will always take my share of leftover food from a catering event, or a soda meant for a meeting (but then I don’t drink it at the meeting). I’ll take a longer lunch break on days when I’m less busy, but some weeks you can find me working through lunch or after hours. To me it all evens out, and I get my job done — thats the most important part!

  3. You bring up some great point, Brian. When it comes to taking FB breaks, or other even taking breaks to read articles, my company (thankfully) has made it clear that taking breaks is totally fine, just as long as my stuff gets done.

  4. There are definitely some blurred lines there. It’s like the difference between a white lie and a flat out lie. Is there a difference? In all of those ways, yes, it’s probably “stealing,” but I guess a lot of those don’t come with as much guilt. I supposed it depends on the person.

    • At some point it’s easy to rationalize some of these situations. It’s like saying to yourself, “Well, I did some work last night on my own time so the company owes me a few minutes here and there.” Blurred lines for sure.

  5. Shannon Ryan says

    This is a tough one, Brian. There is blatant stealing – putting personal purchases on a Corporate Credit Card and then the more gray area. I have taken personal calls during working hours. At the same time, they are not long conversations but generally calls of more of an urgent matter, which is more than reasonable in my mind. The other consideration is whether you’re still doing your job well and completing your work in a timely fashion and not letting these little breaks affect your performance or are ignoring clients over checking your facebook status. I don’t know if I would consider it stealing but I would consider that a huge performance issue.

    • Such are the things I think about as I try to avoid blogging during times that I should be working. 🙂 I like your take about this based on the employees level of performance. I’ve seen how addiction to social networks can impact performance and it’s not pretty.

  6. Mike GetRichWithMe says

    You’re looking at things from an employers perspective – but as an employee – what about all the times you stay late, take work home, think about work related issues whilst you’re not at work.
    It works both ways
    Work is like any relationship – there needs to be a healthy amount of give and take for things to work properly.

  7. I think it depends on the understanding you have with your employer. In an ideal world, a business is all about the work that gets done and not how much time you spend on each task. But if your employer clearly expects you to spend X hours on something, or if you actually get paid by the hour, then these kinds of things are much closer to “stealing”.

    • Every job is different. As a teacher, I’ve had times when all my tasks were completed and I have prepared for my next week of classes. Could I do these things then and be OK? BTW…I”m answering this comment during my break. 🙂

Speak Your Mind