Work Rules and Open Secrets Commentary

These are excerpts from something I wrote years ago as a primer of sorts for people working in an area I worked…
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Goals & rules that matter are enforced. If you see a rule or procedure that is ignored, you must conclude that it is a dead rule or for “show.” Management will not appreciate your attempt to point out that rules that are alleged to be important are flagrantly disregarded.
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If standards are not being enforced, a logical person would be irrational to continue to concern himself with expending extra energy meeting goals that are, by lack of application, unimportant. Being unconcerned, however, does not equate to announcing it over the rooftops.
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Do not directly acknowledge to anyone that you have come to realize that some goals are not real and that you have delegated them to a lower priority. The appearance of importance must be maintained. You are more likely to get in serious trouble from pointing out your realization than from direct misconduct.
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An “open secret” is anything that is either prohibited or not specifically permitted, but which everyone knows goes on. No direct discussion of the “open secret” happens. It is the proverbial elephant in the room that no one dares discuss.      
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If you violate any provision covered under the “open secret” rule, you are going to endanger your peace of mind, if not your job. Many times an employee who is trying to do his or her job properly will run into trouble with “open secrets.” They are then forced into a position where they are challenging it. Since open secrets don’t actually exist, you end up boxing with the wind.  Examples: Sally is allowed to clock in 15 minutes late, Jack is allowed a extra smoke break, Fred doesn’t have to concern himself with some paperwork, everyone gets an extra 15 minutes of break, etc. Trying to discuss it is going to anger, Jack, Fred, and Sally, while you are going to be targeted as a troublemaker, even if your question is valid.