Dear Claudia,

I started a new job yesterday as an HR Manager in a large company. While settling into my office I was going through file boxes from the previous HR guy, and tucked at the back of one discovered a hand-written journal filled with page after page of dates and incriminating information about company employees. We’re talking who slept with who (and when), who drank too much (and where), who stole money or company property, or had trouble of any kind with the law. This guy spent a lot of time documenting very nasty details of the dark side of this company’s culture; if you were in my shoes, would you return the journal to him, give it to the boss, or just burn it?


Dear Uneasy,

Burn it, baby, and don’t look back. And for two reasons: first, you don’t know if the information contained in the book is partly true, all true, or completely fabricated. It’s possible that it was planted in your files as a test of integrity, and others are watching to see what you’ll do with it next. Second, assuming that the contents are true, the potential for blackmail or other illegal conduct is quite high if it falls into the wrong hands.

Read it through once to see if there are any serious laws broken that you are bound to disclose to the police. Barring that, treat it like the trash it is and destroy it.


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My gut reaction is to put it with any/all things left behind by the former employee and give them to management. I would NOT read it, no matter how much I may have wanted to! It is unfair to prejudice your thoughts when you are starting a new position. The previous person could have been that manipulative; you don't know the why's and wherefore's of the writing in that book. As I said, I would turn it over to management, along with anything else, and let them deal with it. It could be more valuable to them in the long run, and I don't mean with the content inside, but the fact that it was hand written from the previous employee.
I think you should trash it. I mean really, what kind of time did the previous guy have on his hands? An HR Manager has ALLOT of work to do and if he were doing his job he would not have had time to write this journal. You have no way of verifying this information contained in that journal. Burn it, throw it away but don't set yourself up in your new job to have enemies. You may do more harm to yourself in the end. Just my two cents.
Wow. The former HR guy sounds like a real piece of work. Why would you document stuff like this and then not take action if they were events that happened at company sanctioned events. If they are, then you do something about it. If they aren't then you do nothing about it. Entertaining read!

My vote. Burn it! Don't turn it into management and if it's a plant, then what type of company are your working for? That would concern me!
Eeek. I'd read it, I am too flawed an individual not too - but I would read it mostly for the "People Magazine" factor and not with any idea that the enclosed perspective might be from a sane mind. Who does that after all? Who documents the misdeeds of others in that sordid detail - who has time?? Someone who is left out, not respected, resentful, and borderline psycho. My perspective. Business is business, but its humans driving the bottom line, and there is not a one of us who is flawless, who hasn't done something ridiculous or embarassing, or down right "god I hope no one saw that" - would you want your stupid moments recorded? Eh, no. Like the time I drank Red Bull and Vodka during the Prez Club's trip in Miami...I would like everyone to forget I jumped into the pool, drunk, at 2am, in a white outfit. Thank you.

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