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Physical Isolation

The fourth category of nonsharable problems Cressey described is physical isolation, in which the person in financial straits is isolated from the people who can help him.

Status Gaining

The fifth category consists of problems relating to status gaining. Although these are eas- ily passed off as living beyond one’s means or spending money lavishly, Cressey was in- terested more in their behavioral implications. He noted: “The structuring of status ambitions as being nonsharable is not uncommon in our culture, and it again must be em- phasized that the structuring of a situation as nonsharable is not alone the cause of trust violation. More specifically, in this type of case a problem appears when the individual realizes that he does not have the financial means necessary for continued association with persons on a desired status level, and this problem becomes nonsharable when he feels that he can neither renounce his aspirations for membership in the desired group nor obtain prestige symbols necessary to such membership.”19 He observed, then, that a lot of occupational offenders are afflicted with the Keeping Up with the Joneses syndrome.

Employer–Employee Relations

Finally, Cressey described problems resulting from employer–employee relationships. The most common, he stated, was an employed person who resents his status within the organization in which he is trusted. The resentment can come from perceived economic inequities, such as pay, or from the feeling of being overworked or underappreciated. Cressey said this problem becomes nonsharable when the individual believes that mak- ing suggestions to alleviate perceived maltreatment will possibly threaten his or her sta- tus in the organization. There is also a strong motivator for the perceived employee to want to “get even” when he or she feels ill treated.

A Personal Experience

One of my best-remembered examples involves a personal experience, and not a pleas- ant one. Most people—if they admit the truth—will have stolen on the job at some time in their careers. Some of the thefts are major, some minor. Some are uncovered; many never are. With this preamble (and the fact that the statute of limitations has long ex- pired!), I will tell you the story of one employee thief: me.

The incident occurred during college. Like many of you, I didn’t work my way through the university just for experience; it was a necessity. One of my part-time jobs was as a salesperson in a men’s clothing store, a place I’ll call Mr. Zac’s. It seems that Mr. Zac had the imagination to name the store after himself, which may give you a clue as to the kind of person he was.

My first day on the job, it became clear by talking to the other employees that they strongly disliked Mr. Zac. It didn’t take long to figure out why: He was cheap beyond all reason; he was sore-tempered, paranoid, and seemed to strongly resent having to pay the


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