Who Betrays One Master

A nervous looking man in a suit slips furtively through the streets of an unnamed city. He comes to an office building and, checking to make sure that he isn’t being watched, slips inside. There, another man greets him.

“Do you have the plans?” the second man asks.

“Do you have the money?” replies the first.

Perhaps they haggle for a moment, but then the second man hands over the money and the first man hands over an envelope. The second man glances into the envelope.

“I see you kept your word.”

“You earned it,” replies the first man as he turns to leave.

“No,” says the second, as he pulls a gun and shoots the first man, “I bought it.”

“I betrayed my company for you! I proved my loyalty.” gasps the first man, as he falls to the floor.

The second man looks down at the body on the floor and says, “The man who betrays one master will assuredly betray another.”

If this scene sounds familiar, it probably is. Some variation of it appears in hundreds of movies, from James Bond to WWII action films to fantasy adventure. The trope is a simple one: a man betrays his country, company, organization, or teacher. The person to whom he sells out reaps the rewards, but never believes the traitor’s protestations of loyalty to his new masters. Eventually, it ends badly for the traitor.

Now, if this scenario were only a work of fiction, there would be little more to say. Unfortunately, the fictional part is the end: in real life the disloyal person is rewarded and given every opportunity to betray his new masters.

Read the rest in the Journal of Corporate Recruiting Leadership

Leave a comment

Your comment