One degree of separation
I recently was at a holiday party with a diverse group of people. The one thing they all had in common was Pink Collar Crime. It is the relatable crime. Every group at the party had either been personally embezzled in their business or knew someone directly who had been embezzled. It is like the dirty little secret in business. Also, it is like Kevin Bacon’s 6 degrees of separation but actually in pink collar crime only one degree.
No one wants to admit they have been stolen from. No one wants to admit they were duped daily for sometimes years by their most trusted employee. It hurts. From Jean Le Carre: “The capacity to love is proportionate to the capacity to be betrayed.” I read this in articles about people who have been stolen from. The people who stole often are like family members. They know their target inside and out and often use that to their advantage.
When people find out what I do they start speaking quietly to me. “I want to tell you what happened to me…” and they pour their hearts out to me. From Betrayal (written by Jed Block on the Goodwill NCW $500k theft) “On a personal level, I felt shame, embarrassment and anger. I also experienced a profound sense of loss of innocence and a challenge to my fundamental capacity to trust. Before the embezzlement was discovered, I was an ardent fan of the employee who committed the fraud against us.”
That is the hardest part of my job. I want to restore their trust but they need to understand trust is not an internal control.
You can trust your employees with many things but be very careful when you are trusting them with your finances.