can I keep my company truck when I leave to stick it to my company?

A reader writes:

You will probably think that I am a total jerk for contemplating doing this, but just hear me out. First off, I do appreciate being gainfully employed but I absolutely HATE the company I work for. We were purchased by a gigantic multi-billion dollar company over a year ago, and ever they have been piling more and more work on us as more divisions have been acquired. Everyone who works for our company is completely exhausted and people are quitting in droves.

I am thinking about finding another job, and when I leave I want to stick it them the best I can. What I would like to do is not turn in my company pick-up and see how much money they have to spend to get it back from me. Since the truck was issued to me, they cannot just report it stolen, can they? I am assuming that it will end up being a civil matter and they will have to take me to court in order to legally take back ownership of the truck.

It’s a bad idea.

I get that you want to stick it to them, but this will actually hurt you a lot more than it hurts them. Even if they have to spend money to get the truck back, they’re a multi-billion dollar company. It’s going to be a blip on their radar, financially. For you, though, it will ruin the reference you might have otherwise gotten from them, and it will ruin your reputation with colleagues, who won’t risk being associated with someone who did something that shady, even after they too leave the company. Even people who agree with you that your company sucks aren’t going to condone doing this and are going to see it as horrible judgment and lack of integrity on your part. You’ll squander any good will and camaraderie that you currently have.

And that can easily come back to bite you. Imagine that you’re interviewing for a job you really want some day in the future, and one of  your current coworkers is now employed there and knows that you’re the guy who did something this sketchy and petty. It would torpedo your chances. Why would you do that to the future you?

Also, right now you have the moral high ground and can leave with your integrity intact. Take something that isn’t yours — when you know it’s wrong — and you lose that and become a crappy person. Again, why would you do that to yourself?

Bad companies mess with your head. Don’t let this one mess with you any more than it already has.

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