Dear Diary: The Thief Within


This is a write up about a real situation at work. It illustrates how little control we have over our own work life.

It has nothing to do with our own work performance. In fact we may even get into trouble if we did a good job. The situation leaves us cold, either out of a job or looking for a new one. When that happens, we cannot meet our family responsibilities or financial commitments.

There is no solution offered in this written situation. This article is just food for thoughts. A lot of us have been sold this idea of working at a job and building a career. It could be much better road if we had started our work life creating and building our own work.


It is your new job. It is a express courier service, where a big team of employees send documents by motorcycles within half a day or the next day around the island of Singapore. The company is a subsidiary of a logistics company that is in the cash management, supply chain management and mail room management business.

You have been hired as a Credit Control Supervisor. Your job is to follow up on payments due from customers. You report to the Finance Director. Both the previous Credit Control Supervisor and Finance Director left their job because they were not able to collect the large amount of receivables that is outstanding.

The company is managed by a General Manager. He is friend of the business owner of the logistics company. The General Manager is directly in charge of the sales team and he brought in the key salesmen into the company.

The Situation

As the Credit Control Supervisor, you have a team of 2 Credit Control Assistants. You got hold of the report on the 30, 60 and 90 days receivables and the list of phone numbers for the customers and start following up with them on the outstanding payments.

Some customers said that they had already made payments while others mentioned that they had never received specific invoices. You followed up with Finance Department on these feedback and resend invoices with a follow up call.

Money started coming in and the team is motivated. This has gone on for 3 months. Then suddenly you are called to the office and questioned by both the General Manager and the Finance Director and your services are terminated.

After the Situation

By chance you met one of your credit control assistant while you are waiting at a bus stop. You told you what had happened after you had left.

Your termination got the curiosity and suspicion of the business owner. This particular credit control assistant being vocal voiced to him “Why fire the Credit Control Supervisor when our team is doing a better than before job in collection?”

Eventually, the business owner took the General Manager to task and his friend confessed that he was running a similar express courier service behind the business owner’s back and was siphoning some of the sales takings into his own company. Of course, the business owner fired his friend in the end.


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