Daily Archives: October 5th, 2010

Rigged for silent running

Bless the torpedoes!

“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t big bags of puss.”

This is just a short advisory to let my online friends know that starting this week my interactions with the online world have changed. Due to my paranoia.

One of the precious few perks I used to enjoy in my current job was that I could pop over to my blog and twitter a few times a day and interact with you all. Come to think of it, that was probably the only perk.

I’ve always felt uneasy about engaging with my secret identity from work, since they could legally monitor me on company equipment at any time. I know that. And if they knew about the blog, I’m pretty sure the gig would be up, to say the least. If one is going to badmouth one’s employer, even anonymously, it is probably extremely dumb to do it from work.

Then an employee decided to take some money from the cash register. Without permission. To crack the case the boss revealed that he had been stealthily using a web cam to record video of the office and he had the culprit on tape. Jesus Christ! Does the fun ever end around here? In addition to all of the other goodness that rains down like shit now we have to worry about being recorded?

Personally I think his claim about the video was a bluff. It was a bluff that worked, though. The culprit confessed. And that was a good thing for the rest of us to get out from under the cloud of suspicion. Five years of honest work doesn’t stop the great red eye from immediately considering you a suspect. We were all investigated.

Then, last week, I overheard the office manager fiddling around in his office. He was clearly testing the audio on something. “Can you hear me now? Nope. I can hear you but you can’t hear me.” A lot of stuff like that. Later I noticed that the web cam in his office had been moved. I examined it closely. Does that thing have a microphone on it? I think it does. And that web cam is only about 8 feet from my office.


The wheels in my head immediately started to turn. “Is that son of a bitch using a web cam to record audio in our offices?” Amazing as that sounds I would not put it past him. I highly suspect that doing so would be illegal, but what the hell does “illegal” mean? In my experience it means they shove it in you and then nothing ever happens. No doubt that would be true in this case.

So I sat in my office trying to recall what I had said since the office manager split for the day. I could only remember two things. One was a criticism of the boss. Any time something goes wrong he always blames the employee, even when we have it in writing that the employee was doing what the boss told him to do. I briefly bitched about that phenomenon. Secondly, I mentioned to the other employee who sits in that space that I was submitting a job application that day. (This is the same employee who was recently told to increase his production by 20 percent or he’d be fired soon.)

Not exactly the kind of informations I wanted my boss stealing from me. If I wanted my boss to know what I said then I’d say it to his face.

And then, as the paranoia worked its way in deeper, I realized that it would be a small step to install a key logger software on my workstation. If true, that would give the boss all of my passwords and access to all of my most private thoughts.

So, starting this week, I no longer use my work computer for anything private. It’s a big sacrifice but it is something I feel I have to do. All hail paranoia! And I’m also no longer speaking in the office. When I feel the need to interact with my fellow employees I pull them aside to a place I feel is safe and whisper.

I have rigged myself for silent running. That means no blog comments during the day and a whole lot less Twitter. I’m going to miss that.

Employee whiteboard: Monday to the face

I wish I could take credit for this one but I can’t. This concept was executed (heh) by a co-worker of mine. Yes, he’s a member of the Fight Back Club. In fact, he was just told by the boss last week that he must increase his productivity by 20 percent by a certain deadline or he’s fired.

Oh yeah, by the way, like the boss says, we’re all “family” and we just know we’ll  see you at the not-so-voluntary employee recognition party soon. Bring your knee pads because servicing the boss’ needs never takes a vacation.


Ode to Monday: Shot to the face and you’re to blame, you give the work week a bad name…