Every company has at least one Fraud among its ranks. You know who I’m talking about, you probably complained about him yourself.
“The Fraud” is the person who always seems to get ahead despite never actually doing anything. The Fraud is good at delegating and always manages to align himself with the right people, mostly so he can get credit for being a part of a winning team — even if he didn’t make any valuable contributions of his own.
The Fraud is the person who always comes in late or leaves early, but if management notices they don’t say anything. Staff notices, though, because they all quietly wonder why no one of importance sees what this guy is really about. They don’t say anything, though. No one likes a rat.
The Fraud frustrates everyone on his team and on his floor as he gets away with doing nothing while receiving praise for a job well done. The Fraud is all about appearances and aligning himself with the right people. Staff begins to gossip. Why doesn’t anyone notice what this guy is about? He knows what they’re saying but he doesn’t care. Why should he?
No one wants to work with The Fraud, and no one invites him to lunch or after work drinks. They may have to tackle projects together — but there’s no way they’re socializing with the guy, especially since that usually means listening to him brag about his exploits which no one believes anyway.
Eventually The Fraud lands The Big Promotion. Everyone who spoke smack behind his back hustles to become his ally. It’s not loyalty as much as it’s survival. Some people quit out of disgust. The rest of the team lies in wait, hoping upon hope he’ll fall on his ass and the right people will finally see what this guy is made of. They’re backing him up while secretly wanting him to fail so everyone can finally see what they know.
Except The Fraud has no desire to handle any of his new responsibilities. What he can’t delegate away, he’ll ignore or spin to make it seem insignificant to his particular working style. There’s a new sheriff in town, he’ll say as he passes the buck, and things are going to be different around here.
Things start to fall apart. Business is lost. Loyal customers and clients move on.
So what? The Fraud tells everyone. If they don’t want to stay, we don’t want them anyway. He refuses to believe it could have anything to do with him and none of his yes men will tell him the truth to his face. Quietly they start to look for better options, never understanding or admitting the big part they paid in the demise of the business. The Fraud doesn’t care. He got this far. He’s set for life. It’s the people who propped him up who struggle — and they’re not his problem.
The Fraud is a lie. He knows he’s a lie. Everyone else knows he’s a lie. Yet no one is willing to admit it — even when he fails to deliver on his promises. Even when he never lives up to expectations. For people to admit The Fraud is a failure is to admit they played a part in his rise.
There will be a lot of blame and finger pointing. There will even be a few scapegoats. But The Fraud will not be the one to take the fall. He’ll simply watch while all hell breaks loose around him, looking for the next opportunity.