Monday, July 6, 2009

He fooled everybody, except me.

Many years ago I suspected one of my subordinates was not coming to work regularly. Like me he was a field worker so he was not required to be in the office all the time. But his punch card was in order. So I suspected another worker must be punching his card for him.

Fortunately for me our office punch cards were situated just outside our main meeting room at the ground floor. So one morning I came to work early and after punching my card I went to the meeting room and kept the lights switched off. I stood just behind the half glass door looking towards the punch cards. I was focusing my eyes towards my subordinate's punch card.

My office workers came and punched their cards. Of course there were a few who punched more than one card. I was not bothered as long as the second card they punched was not the one assigned to my particular subordinate.

A few of the workers even realised that I was behind the door of the meeting room after punching their cards. To them I just wished them by raising my hand. I am sure those punching more than one card felt a bit uneasy.

Then came the moment I was waiting for. A worker from a different section picked his card from the slot and punched it inside the punch clock. He then returned his card towards the original slot. Then without hesitating he picked the card assigned to my particular subordinate and punched it.

I then swung into action. I opened the meeting room's door and told him something like this "Oh, this is what you've been doing". I took the card from his hand and at the same time I took out his own card from his assigned slot. What do you know? The punched times for 'IN' for both cards were the same from the first working day of the month.

Of course the worker pleaded with me, but I told him I have no choice but to report this matter to the authorities. I then checked the punch cards of both workers for the previous months. Again the punched times for 'IN' for both workers were the same except for a few dates when they were separated by one minute. The minute hand must had moved between the moments both cards were punched.

Both workers were referred to the departments disciplinary board where they were both given warnings. Personally I never cared for the kind of punishment they received. I only wanted my subordinate to stop fooling me.

Months went by and this subordinate of mine seemed to work normally. Then he started going missing again. I checked his punch card which appeared to be in order. I even compared it with the card assigned to his old friend. They were punched at different times.

One morning around 8.30 I checked his punch card and found that it was not punched for the day. He came to work in the afternoon but I noticed him not leaving the office when everyone of us left for our homes after a hard day's work.

The next morning I checked his card again. This time I was shocked to see that it was punched under the 'IN' column for the day before. I asked myself whether I was dreaming since I was certain the space under the 'IN' column for that particular day was empty as I saw it then.

I was sure then he did a kind of forgery to his card. But how did he do it almost to perfection?

After scrutinising the card closely I knew the answer. The punch clock for the office's punch cards was a 24 hour clock. It means 1 p.m. is shown as 13.00. Similarly 5.45 p.m. is shown as 17.45. This was the time he played his trick.

He did not come to office in the morning. He came in the afternoon and waited for everybody to leave. He punched his card under the 'OUT' column around 5.30 p.m. which showed 17.30 on the clock and card.

He then waited another 15 minutes until the clock showed 17.45. He then shifted the 'OUT' slot to the first 'IN' and punched his card showing 17.45. Then he did his forgery work. He simply erased the figure '1' to make it appear 7.45. So on record it appeared that he did report for duty that particular morning when in fact he did not.

Again I checked his card for records of the past days and weeks. It seemed that he had been doing this forgery for some time.

Again I had no choice but to report him to the authorities. This time the disciplinary board had no choice but to sack him.

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