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Portfolio Power

Is Compiling a Job Portfolio Stealing?

When compiling your job portfolio, whether or not you are stealing company property might be a bit of gray area to you. Sure, it's your work. Naturally, the company knows that it's in your best interest to compile a job portfolio.

But, just because you created it doesn't mean that you own it. In fact, the company likely owns 100-percent of what you've produced on the job, unless you've made other arrangements contractually.

To be safe, always ask permission to compile your job portfolio or at least do your collecting on the q.t. (You didn't hear that from this writer!)

There's no question that the company owns the office supplies and reproduction equipment you might use to make copies of your work.

Ask for permission to use them specifically to compile your job portfolio, unless you wish to keep it a secret that you're planning on jumping ship.

If you decide to use company supplies and equipment on the q.t. to compile your job portfolio, at least keep the gray area as gray as possible by purchasing brands of supplies that are different than what your company uses. Keep the sales receipts.

Better yet, just avoid the issue by making copies outside of the company. But, be careful what you remove from the company's facilities without permission.

Either way, it's especially a bad idea to take or copy company-confidential materials and trade secrets for your job portfolio—or for any reason, for that matter.

If you get caught, it separates the gray area into its constituent colors of black and white; there will be little to no doubt that you took stuff you shouldn't have.

Stealing company company-confidential materials or trade secrets is no joke in the U.S. You might even be subject to criminal prosecution under the Economic Espionage Act of 1996, an equivalent state law, or both.

If you signed a non-disclosure agreement or clause, then your troubles might be compounded by breach of contract.

Portfolio Power
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