The Best Way to Deal With the Spy in Your Workplace

Updated on March 12, 2018
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Dreamworker has had a lifetime of experience dealing with various types of relationships successfully.

You may not know it, but someone in your workplace is spying on you. You have done nothing to them, but for their own agendas, they feel it is important to learn all they can about you so that they can report back to your boss.

It is unlikely that you’ll have any reason to believe that someone is doing this evil thing to you or that the perpetrator is even someone you know well.

The important thing is to realize that those who do such things will do them to anybody they think will give them grounds to elevate themselves in their boss’s mind so that they can earn favors, better hours, extra pay or other goodies regular workers don’t receive.

An effective method for protecting yourself against a coworker who is spying on you and sharing negative information with your boss.
An effective method for protecting yourself against a coworker who is spying on you and sharing negative information with your boss. | Source

The First Signs of Problems

Almost everybody who works on a job cuts a few corners here or there or makes small mistakes.

Usually these things go unseen, and the people doing them never expect that they will create problems for them.

They are quite surprised when the boss calls them into his office for a discussion about the things that were done!

Perhaps they

  • were rude to a customer,
  • left work early without permission or
  • ate somebody else’s candy bar.

In their minds these were small affronts that should have been passed off as having a bad day or showing a bit of bad judgment. Certainly they never should have wound up in a confrontation with the person who is in charge!

If this happens one time, an employee simply takes his tongue lashing and moves on.

However if it keeps happening, people begin to wonder how it is that the boss is able to know so much when he is never present when they do these things!

The bigger question is how to keep this from happening.

Finding the Spy

There comes a time when employees realize that someone in the organization is causing this problem.

It can be difficult to find out who it is, but it is not impossible.

Taking the time to think about who was present when you did something wrong, who you told about it or who was in the room when you were talking about your behavior is the first thing you should do.

Since most people have the same basic routine every day, it’s fairly easy to find the answers to these questions.

The next thing to do is to start paying attention to what people are doing.

  • Which people have ego problems?
  • Who have you seen sitting in the boss’s office or chatting with him regularly?
  • What people are constantly getting the easiest jobs or the biggest favors?

Using these questions will help you to eliminate the people who would never spy on you and will allow you to hone in on those who might.

Your office spy usually has a hidden personality that can cause you many problems.
Your office spy usually has a hidden personality that can cause you many problems. | Source

Determining the Truth

Once you have a pretty good idea as to who is making problems, the next step is to say something to them, one at a time, that would indicate you’ve done something wrong, even though you have not done so in reality.

For example, casually drop a little bomb of information over coffee that since the boss is out of the office, you plan to leave a half hour early one day.

If you are called in to see the boss after speaking to the first person on your list, you know who the culprit is.

If not, move on to the next person and try again.

When the boss eventually does call you in, tell him you don’t know what he’s talking about and if he doesn’t believe you, he should ask coworkers who left with you that same day.

Now you’ve found your spy.

What Next?

The spy doesn’t know that you know, so that puts you in the driver’s seat.

From this point on, it becomes very easy to make the culprit absolutely miserable and also make them lose their credibility with the boss.

The first thing to do is start planting stories that get back to the spy, just like before, that you can clearly prove are not true.

Then, start spying on him and share credible and provable information with the boss about that person.

You may even want to hide a tape recorder on your person that you can use at will to catch him lying, cheating and manipulating.

Once you have demolished any chance this person might have of continuing on with his game, confront him.

Let him know what you know, and let him know that you’ll be sharing this information with all of your coworkers.

Then do so. Having those recordings will come in handy, and it won’t hurt, either, to have some hard copy documents you can use to prove what you are saying.

Why Do This?

Although this may seem an underhanded thing for you to do, the bottom line is that you must protect yourself from people who do things like this.

Telling your boss about them won’t help, because he already knows what they’re doing and appreciates their efforts.

Talking to them won’t put a stop to their behaviors and, in fact, likely will make them worse.

If the spy in your workplace has targeted you, and you don’t take preventive action, it will be your job and your income that disappear, not his.

People who do these types of things are not nice. They don’t care about anybody but themselves. It doesn’t matter to them if you need your job or are trying to support a family.

If you think that working hard and toeing the line will help you, you’re wrong. Once your boss gets the wrong attitude about you, changing his mind will be next to impossible.

Does This Work?

You may be wondering if the advice in this article will work for you. Yes, it will.

I know this because this is how I once got rid of a spy that was making my life miserable at work.

It took me awhile to even realize that someone was doing this to me. I couldn’t figure out how my boss knew about things I was saying and doing or why he kept calling me into his office for tongue lashings.

Then one day after school (I was a teacher), I saw my department chairwoman sitting in his office.

Seeing this sparked my memory and made me realize that I had seen her there on numerous occasions and further that following those visits was when I had problems with my boss.

I used the above technique to turn the tables on her, and that was the end of the problem.

She was never again able to bother me or any other of our colleagues with her petty and inexcusable behavior, and she lost a lot of friends over the issue as well because nobody felt they could trust her.

The Bottom Line

Life is hard, and not all people play fair.

If you don’t defend yourself in situations like this one, nobody else will.

This is why the best way to deal with the spy in your workplace who has targeted you in order to advance his own agenda deserves everything you can throw at him and more!

Have you ever had to deal with an office spy?

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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

  • How do you deal with a spy if the spy is the boss' best man?

    Spies usually are the favorites of their employers because they supply them with information they cannot otherwise obtain. Therefore, while you can't complain about them to the boss, you certainly can find ways of providing them with misinformation that will eventually make the boss lose faith in them!

  • This woman at work spies very obviously, and we all know it. She is friends with the boss. How do I handle it? We are a large cafe. She comes at rush hour, and then reports on everything. There will always be something not perfect.

    The best thing you can do is to make sure you are always playing your A game when she's there. That way she can't catch you doing anything. If everybody would do that, then she'd have nothing to report and would stop the spying. Obviously, the owner wants her to do this, so there is no way to stop her. Your only other choice is to find another place to work!

  • A co-worker watches me on his desktop, then tells another co-worker what he saw. Our cameras are for security reasons only. What should I do?

    If you are certain this is what he is doing and can prove it, then you should take your proof to your immediate supervisor. If you can't prove it, your only other option is to confront this person and tell him that if he does not stop, you will report him. Is this person a supervisor? If so, observing you while you work may be part of his job, so take care before you do any reporting.

© 2018 Sondra Rochelle


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    • Dreamworker profile imageAUTHOR

      Sondra Rochelle 

      2 years ago from USA

      Chitrangada Sharan: I don't think most people realize that there are people they work with that do this, and I agree, we have to pay attention and be careful because our jobs can depend on doing this.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Nice and useful advice and information in your article!

      This sounds quite familiar, and that too in today’s World. People are competitive and sometimes jealous. As such this might happen to anyone, anywhere. And one must be careful, and not ignorant. You provide some helpful advice here, and your example here.

      Thanks for sharing this well written and informative article!


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