Recently, I had this conversation at the workplace:

me: I'm calling you because John needs access to this resource. I have access already and we need it to complete our work.
her: Why do you have access to this? You shouldn't.
me: Yes, I know it's not ideal, but it doesn't pose a security risk, and I'm working well with the access. The alternative, ideal solution, will be difficult to implement. Maybe we can get the access now and start working on the ideal solution.
her: I'm going to remove your access from the resource.
me: But we will not be able to work for months if you do that, until the alternative solution is implemented.
her: If I give you access, because you already have it, the ideal solution will never be completed.

I'm interested in the last line, actually, the rest was just for context.

I think the formal structure would be this:

You need to do X to have Y, but since you already have Y, you will never do X. I will take away Y from you, so you will do X.

I have heard something similar before: "If we just give poor people money, they will stop working and become lazy"

Is there a name for this concept?

  • 2
    You need to spend much less time analyzing the logical structure of the arguments at work, and start learning to play politics so that you're not on the receiving end of decisions that make it impossible for you to do your job. "her" knows how to play the game and you don't, that's why you lost this battle.
    – user4894
    Aug 2, 2020 at 18:11
  • I appreciate your recommendation, I know it's in good faith. A while back I have posted the original issue at workplace SE site, and has been resolved. This question was only to know the name for the abstract, logical concept behind the last statement.
    – minabled
    Aug 3, 2020 at 2:49
  • You're right, I should have just stuck to the question.
    – user4894
    Aug 3, 2020 at 3:51
  • The way you wrote the last line you are forced on is confusing. From the details you already HAVE Y which you are not supposed to have. Plus you have Y has not changed the result of the project: the job is STILL NOT COMPLETE so another person needs to help you. She is removing your accessory to Y because you were never supposed to have it & even with Y, you can't finish the work. This approach is purely PRACTICAL. It is not philosophy or logical. You may feel a certain way about this boss & she may be biased against you but that is hard to prove here. There is no foul here YET.
    – Logikal
    Aug 3, 2020 at 18:06
  • You may be getting at something but it seems to me you know something is wrong but you don't know how to actually describe the situation where someone will believe you. So far your explanation is NOT enough so this makes it more frustrating for you. You know other bosses will side with her. As far as the "if we just give poor people money, they will stop working& become lazy" claim is a hypothetical. It is not a specific claim you can ask is this true or false. We know that the person is taking a dig at poor people.They are beneath this person by the tone but he never actually SAID THAT.
    – Logikal
    Aug 3, 2020 at 18:14

1 Answer 1


If one were to examine the last sentence, one would consider this a non-sequitur.

Simply put, in the best case, the logical path of implication is not clear to get from "letting you keep your access" to "the project won't be completed". Is it possible one could make an argument from that premise and enthymemes to the conclusion, sure. Maybe you're a New Zealand spy trying to sabotage the project and your boss has found you out. But the context presented simply doesn't warrant the conclusion. Formally speaking, therefore, it's an example of a non-sequitur.

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