Machiavelli lives: Employee dodges printer scandal

With a remarkable sleight of hand, an Account Manager from Bristol has got away with not re-filling the office colour printer, even though the light was flashing.

Sally West, 34, says she thought she was rumbled when colleague Jane Wilson remarked that the Xerox never had any paper in it. “I don’t know, but her tone was quite accusatory,” she confided in HBR. “So I thought that it was best to play a defensive game, and feigned even greater outrage.”

That worked, initially, but Sally worried that she wasn’t out of the woods, so casually mentioned to Jane that she had seen Sales Rep Jim Foley fail to fill up in the past. “Jane’s the biggest gossip in the office, so word soon got round, and Jim was widely shunned at the lunch table. To be a non-filler is a pretty dirty word round here.”

So Sally lives to print again, but what has she learnt from the whole experience? “I suppose I should feel bad,” she explains, “but if I’ve learnt anything, it’s to deny everything. The best part is that I’ve never filled the printer up!”

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