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Sacking an I.T guy

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Sacking an I.T guy

gflyhalf
What is the best way to lay off an I.T guy? I've heard of a guy who was given a notice and within the same day,he had corrupted the database,deleted crucial files and took off within 30mins. Cases are also told of guys who install viruses that are triggered off when they dont log in within a specific period of time....
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    AJ-Ubuntu-User

    But at the end of the day it depends on the IT pro. Most wouldn't do that.

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    absolutox1

    I agree, most people would not risk there careers by doing damage before (or after) they are fired. However, I think every company has to give some consideration of the kind of damage that can be done by the guy that does. The one example I remember from years ago, the system admin set up a logic bomb that crashed the server and he had corrupted the backup tapes before he left. The company was a tool die maker that used programs in automated machines to make thousands different items. The company lost millions of dollars because they had to get engineers rewrite the program for each machine, for each item it made. The FBI was able to prove the former employee sabatoged the companies computers and they got a convition, but the company will never recover the lost earnings and market position.

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    Tony Hopkinson

    not once in 20+ years of working in IT have I witnessed such a thing, nor have any of the people I've worked with ever mentioned it.

    If you have upset someone enough for them to want to do you and to accept the consequences (you would have potential legal redress).

    Then you revoke their access, give them a chance to pick up their personal effects and escort them straight off the premises and pay their notice period.

    Course that means you have good systems in place, and no handover is required.

    If they guy got run over by a bus (this is not a solution to your problem ), what knowledge is only in their head?

    If you'd be knackered, then you don't have good systems and you might want try for a less acrimonious departure. You've got to weigh the cost of the disruption from losing this knowledge versus the risk of said employee purposely disrupting the systems.

    What responsibilities do they have. A system admin with 'secret' knowledge is far more of a potential risk than say a coder. There again I've seen projects overrun by months due to removing a key developer(s).

    Always bear in mind we aren't called IT professionals for nothing.

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    stress junkie

    I spent 15 of my 22 years as a contract (temp) system administrator. I usually started jobs after the regular system administrator had left the job. Some of those departures had been on bad terms. I have never ever seen a situation where the previous system administrator had set up any kind of time bomb or had done anything malicious.

    I did have done situation where I installed a software package that enhanced data access security in a Windows for Workgroups environment. That involved setting up a VAX with DEC Pathworks as a file server. The client had experienced data loss when a malicious secretary deleted important files. That is the only case I've ever seen of a malicious employee causing damage.

    It is still a good idea to inform the employee then walk him/her to their office to collect their things and then walk them off of the premises. I think this is done more because managers don't want the terminated employee to hang around saying goodbye to everyone and talking about what a bad place it is to work. I saw one case where a manager was dismissed. He spent the rest of the day going around the building talking to everyone. That shouldn't be allowed to happen.

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    VMS

    Tony Hopkinson

    file versioning built into the operating system.

    What a silly idea, no practical use whatsoever



    Agreed you can't have people walking around saying the firm is crap, especially when it is.

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    stress junkie

    After I had been using VMS for a while I got scared moving to Unix because you don't have file versions. You make a change and that's it baby. You have to make your own backups or you're out of luck.

    Too bad DEC made so many huge mistakes. Their marketing was limited to the annual DECUS convention. They gave up on VMS several years before Compaq bought them. They didn't understand the value of being a turnkey provider. Their PC division was horrible. They never courted third party software providers. They grossly overpaid their managers while equally badly underpaid their regular employees. They never made any good GUI products for the desktop. They still managed to have some really great products, VMS being the greatest of them all. Tru64 Unix was really good. RDB was very good. The VAX and Alpha processors were good.

    I really miss the diverse user account privileges that were available in VMS. You could really tailor a user account for specific capabilities. I know Unix has user account capabilities but I haven't tried to use them yet.

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    Tony Hopkinson

    Back on winders now, but I did another two years on it after a six year break.
    Trying to go PC, particularly that horrible pathworks crap was the big mistake.

    When you look as the hardware and OS feature set they had decades ago, you really have to scratch your head wondering how they could have f'ed it up so badly on the business front.

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    Zen37

    When i was laid off a couple of years ago, they let me walk around and say goodbye to everyone. I assume that my account rights were revoked the second i got up to go to the conference room where they made the annoncement. I really appreciated the fact that they let me shake the hands of my fellow workers and i was able to let them know that i was ok with the decision and i was going to be alright. But one thing is for sure, I wasn't going to stay there during the notice period and that's ok too. I know i wouldn't of done anything wrong, but my heart would not of been in it anyways, so i guess its was for the best.

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    rbosgood

    I was laid of 2 years ago by a larger company. My boss just showed up at my desk and told me I needed to be in a conference room meeting right away (I did not see it coming) when I walked in and there were 15 of us from different depts with the HR head, I figured it out pretty quick. when I got back to my cube, I was told my account was turned off but I was allowed to walk around and say good bye. After being there for 6 years this was a painful but an apreciated walk. I left there knowing I was ok with them, and they were ok with me.
    I was just laid off (or fired, not sure) a month ago. I was hired on to do tech support (PC's and printers). It was just myself and the IT manager and 200 users. About 3 months after I got there they fired my manager, then it was just me and the 200 users. I was the whole IT dept. They hired a new manger after 4 months of that, kept him for 2 months and fired him. Then they waited another month and hired a network engineer, No IT manager.
    3 months later I come in on a Monday and this kid (18 years old) from the dept next to mine comes in and tells me he is starting tody in IT. I never heard a word about any new people starting. The network admin told me to check with the operations manager. I had to wait till 10 am for her to show up, but when she did, yes... my job was over. No explanations, no performance complaints, just "A bussniess decision has been made". I was walked to my desk, they made everyone else leave the room, gave me a few min to pack my stuff and then walked me to my car and made sure I drove out of there. I never did get an answer of what the reason was. The network eng says he thinks its because he was willing to do my job for 4 dollars an hour less. I did get a severance pay, after less then a year I guess that is more then I expected. Now at 53, I am trying to find a job in tech support. Its not an easy road.

    I never would have done any damage to either of them, that would make me unprofessional. I felt they should have given me an explanation of some sort.

    any way, the main point, the first company handled it well and let me keep some dignity. The second company was totaly unprofessional. I am glad to be done with them, but it sure could have been done better.

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    onbliss

    I just have 15+ years of experience, and not 20+ :-), but I have never once heard and nor my co-workers have ever mentioned it to me.

    But based on some of the posts, looks like such things do happen.

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    heml0ck

    I have seen developers and engineers destroy their own files.
    This only ever happened when the writing was on the wall, or they were informed by a little birdie.
    It is common practice in my neck of the woods for IT people to be immediately escorted out of the building and off the premises upon termination.

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    asgr86

    Remove that guys access to all the server, database and other imp location as soon as he get to know that he is going to get sacked... and then let him collect all of his other personal items.

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    rayanami

    i wont be doing anything to harm the company. though i could also say that i wont be doing anything good for the company after they fire me. i'll leave the premises immediately so as not to be accused of sabotaging the system. of course, its up to them to find someone who can manage the system that I left.

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    jmgarvin

    You hired this person and now you have to fire them. As a manager you've probably fired a number of people, how is firing the IT guy any different?

    I've NEVER seen an IT professoinal ever do any of the acts you've described. Why? A couple of reasons. Typically IT professoinals aren't going to ruin THEIR reputation on something as trival as moving on. Also the IT pro would never put themselves in an area where possible litigation would destroy their careers and family.

    Think about it this way:
    If you were fired tomorrow would you take a match to the building or put strychnine in the guacamole? Probably not...Same goes for the IT pros...

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    darinhamer

    I am aware of a situation at a local branch of a national company. The local IT guy was caught having an affair with another employee in his office. He would hang a sign on the door not to bother him. One day, the site manager bothered him. It was quite a surprise for everyone, I hear. Anyway, the IT guy got fired.

    About a week or so later, something interesting happened. A corporate VP had been down to do an assessment of the site and to determine the fates of some people now that their government contract had been renewed. He sent the site manager an e-mail that stated who would be promoted and who would be let go and who were irreplaceable and could basically write their own paychecks. I know this because I and everyone else who worked at that site, including the people mentioned in the e-mail, were able to read that e-mail. "Someone" apparently got access to the site manager's e-mail and forwarded the note to EVERYONE in his contacts. This was quite embarrassing and potentially caused some legal issues for the company. It could never be proven, but it is a widely held belief that the IT guy created a backdoor and logged in from a remote location and did this. The authorities were contacted, but to my knowledge nothing ever happened to him. And what I find interesting is that he was in the wrong. He should have been fired for doing the nasty on company property and company time.

    Anyway, it is not a problem unique to IT either. My uncle owns a business selling semi trailers. He decided to close his service shop because it was losing him money. He tried to be nice to the shop employees and gave them two weeks notice. They stole every tool in the shop on their way out. Thousands of dollars worth of tools vanished.

    Unfortunately, as cruel as it seems, you have to remove any opportunity people have to torpedo the company. A layoff may be different than firing, but chances are that even a good employee may have hard feelings about it and do something stupid before leaving. You've got to give them the news, soften the **** as much as possible, but then accompany them to the door. Give 'em a good severance. That might help.

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    safesax2002

    Just had to say I like your reference to Office Space :)

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    bigbigboss

    If you feel the guy is suspecting that you are going to fire him, do it quick, do it now, do it immediately, and walk him back to his desk, watch him clear it out, and walk him out of the office. I usually ask the security people to do that. You should get somebody to disable all his userids, and collect all his security cards, keys, ID's, etc.

    If you don't think he is suspecting, then you can take your time. Don't do it on a Friday. Try Monday morning. You don't want a newly unemployed person mopping at home alone all weekend. Do it in the morning, so that he won't be alone at night at home. If there are people in your company handling problem employees, like employee assistance, counsellors, etc., get them involved.

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    RFink

    My company is beign gobbled up by another. My last day is Dec. 15th.

    They gave me five week's notice and a decent severance package after that.

    Of course, I'm bummed about being laid off, but becasue of the way it was handled I don't have any hard feelings towards the company.

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    trs789

    We are looking for an IT professional and are located in Troy. If you're interested in discussing the position, please drop me a line at trs789@yahoo.com. Tom

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    JamesRL

    In other positions I've looked at and tweaked the process. The best practise I saw was to have a sys admin notified the day of (you have to trust your sys admin not to tell on pain of firing), and the Sys Admin should know when the "discussion" is going to take place. During the discussion, the logons are disabled. After the discussion, the person is escorted back to their work area and allowed to pack up.

    It wouldn't protect you in the last sentance's case, but thats not a very often seen scenario.

    This may sound cruel and inhuman, but at the place where I tweaked it, I was laid off, and it happened exactly how it had been planned. My boss escorted me back to my office, and offered to retreive any files I might need. I already had my contact list on my palm pilot. He even carried a box of my stuff to my car.

    James

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    rebeccaaward

    This doesn't cover the case where it is the Sysadmin who is being laid off. Who changes the passwords then?

    When I quit my last sysadmin job, I stopped by 2 months later to visit some friends. They were having some computer issues and needed to let the Developer of our intranet log on. No one knew how to do so (he was from out of the state and had been sitting in his RV for two days.)

    I offered to help, walked in to the server, logged in AS ME, and created him a user name and password. They had never deleted my account or passwords.

    A year and a half later, they called me looking for files that had been under my control (they couldn't log into the web server). I told them where the files had been WHILE I WORKED THERE, but since I had left, they had rearranged that office and disposed of my furniture (it was pretty crappy furniture), so that was the best I could do.

    They eventually gave up and called the hosting company to ask the passwords be reset. They probably had thrown my files away too.

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    JamesRL

    I know its an ideal but you should never be in the position where one person is the only person who could do things. Does the business shutdown when the sysadmin goes on vacation? God forbid has a heart attack (its happened to me).

    I make sure that none of my employees are that indespensible. Yes sometimes we have to revert to looking stuff up in some pretty sketchy docs but we have something.

    James

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    jgruber

    I have found myself in this situation once or twice before. I document the heck out of things, but have worked for a few companies where I was the only IT professional and there was no one else to share any of the information with. Not an ideal situation but it does happen.

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    HAL 9000 Moderator

    Granted I've always resigned and then been fired because I could do too much damage to the company.

    And they walk in and destroy all my records of the system and then expect me to know what has happened anything up to 18 months latter when they manage to totally destroy the system.

    To date I've been lucky as the head of the company has been brought up to supervise what I do when I go back to fix their problems and they can see what has happened when I ask what happened to the Paperwork that was stored in this filling cabinet. Only to be told that it was thrown out/shredded after I left. Apparently anything that I put to paper isn't worth keeping when I leave according to the non technical people running the show and they reap the rewards of their folly. :^0

    But at least the people in charge know where to place the blame for the problems and I've never ever been accused of trashing anything well at least not by the real people who are involved. The Brown Noses want to blame me for their stupidity but every time it's comes back to bit them on the backside and they have to admit responsibility for the problems that they have made. They destroy the paperwork and then expect not to have problems down the path. The fact that I'm willing to go back there and help them sort out their problems also never goes astray either. This generally comes about after several phone calls where I tell the person responsible where things where placed when I was there and how to go about doing something and when they can not get the desired results anything up to 2 years latter I'll walk back in and fix the mess up and document the entire system again. Even then there are copies made and one copy is taken to head office while one remains in the local office and it gets destroyed again as useless junk that is only needed when they manage to break something next time. Fortunately there is always a copy available at head office so I don't need to walk back in and try to sort out the mess that they have managed to make.

    Col

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    JamesRL

    of whoever the IT person reports to, to understand where the information is and what to do about it.

    If you are going to manage the only IT guy, you need to make an effort to know something about the job and the responsibilities.

    I would lay this down as a failure to manage.

    James

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    HAL 9000 Moderator

    Every time that I've left a job I've been the one asking for the necessary changes to be made just so that some Idiot can not latter say that I've done anything to adversely impact upon the system.

    In my experience most of the smaller companies treat IT as some form of Magic that they are unable to comprehend and somehow it just happens without any effort.

    Of course most of these places are run by accountants so you can not expect too much sense to be involved but I do try to have by back covered when I quit then get fired because I can not be trusted to stay and work out my time without attempting to destroy the company. One of the best ones was when I was speaking on a phone to the CEO of the place that I had just resigned from they had to have one of the sales people standing around me to make sure that I didn't say anything bad about the place.

    3 Weeks latter when I tried to ring him to tell that I had heard that he had resigned and was being allowed to work out his 3 months he wouldn't take my phone calls. Then just before he left I got hit by him for trying to speak to him after leaving and it was then that I told him that the competition had told me that he had resigned and it was his fault that he wouldn't speak to me as he had a hole in his company that I couldn't be part of. What he wanted to turn into a Col Bashing session backfired on him and I was the Good Guy who was still standing up for the company.

    What got even better was that I was told not to speak to their customers and I said I would gladly stop speaking to them if they would stop ringing me up and that as I had a silent Phone number someone within his organisation had handed out my phone number to the dealers so again it wasn't my responsibility but I would at least help them with Technical Problems but if they started to complain about the company all I would say was that I no longer work there and I suggest that you ring so & so to make a complaint. :^0

    Latter that night the AU Service Manager was plying me with drinks and paid for the cab home. Seems that I was such a bad egg that he still wanted me on side for help when he needed it.

    Col

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    JohnnySacks

    I guess carrying your box to your car was the least he could do. Was he teary eyed about potentially ruining your life? Glad you saw it coming and could take what you needed (anything that wasn't chained down?)

    I know it's mostly an urban myth, but there's a vicarious thrill to be had about ruining a company on the way out the door. There truly are companies out there which deserve to have every form on vengeance taken out on them.

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    Dr_Zinj

    Organizations may be a pita to work for, but in reality, it's usually the manager(s) that make or break the relationship you have with the company. A good boss can make even a rotten company be a nice(r) place to work, while a ****-poor, or malicious manager can turn a heavenly place to work into **** on Earth.

    Only fools use their professional knowledge to screw over a company - unless they're never going to work in that field again, and even if they aren't, they now have a track record of unreliability in ANY field.

    If you're really dead-set on taking revenge on a real stinker, nothing beats sticking a dead skunk under the passenger side tires of his or her car. Of course, GETTING the dead skunk is a means of checking your own commitment to the revenge project in the first place. ;-)

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    jmgarvin

    You can pick them up at any gag gift store. Just plant a pole and the sign in your old managers parking space...and BAM...instant ticket!

    :-)

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    GSG

    Best is a chicken from the grocery store. It'll take longer to smell and it'd be harder to connect it to you. It gets pretty raunchy in the summer. I know, I had one fall out of my grocery sack into the trunk and it fermented in the hot sun for a few days until I tracked down where the reek was coming from.

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    JamesRL

    He didn't have a choice. He had to make cuts. It happens. I've laid people off too.

    I would never burn a bridge unless I was unjustly fired. I've seen people come back after layoffs, or even come back after leaving to work somewhere else. I depend on those old employers for good references(and got them). My employer paid for outplacement services.

    I didn't take anything that wasn't mine. My company provided a pretty generous severence package. I was laid off during a downturn in the market, but it didnt ruin my life.

    James

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    Womble

    I agree with the sentiment about burning bridges - I lost a job at the beginning of the IT crash, after 10 years with the company. 2 years after that I was offered a different job back with the same company, more interesting more control more pay, and now have been made permanent.
    others made redundant at the same time are still struggling hand to mouth, and they took a burn it outlook.
    The manager who sacked me was also later turfed. He is now working as a manager of a contractor company that I can choose or not choose to use.

    Power is a sweet thing

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    skqmad

    Well,

    I am a coder by profession with 4+ years of experience. Created numerous intranet, extranet, websites and web applications of simple and complex nature. I have also never heard of such things in my career. But I tell you wisely, a coder can do such things VERY EASILY...

    I works in office as well as a freelancer too. I admits that I have either the copy of those applications I have created or have created backdoors sometimes. Yeah I do! But why??? Want to harm anyone???

    Well, its not to harm anyone. It depends on the situation. Sometimes I want to deal with clients who are vulnerable to deliver payments even upon complete deliver of projects. Sometimes its because of some stupid clients who do corrupt the things and tell me that its me who is responsible and don't want to understand anything and I have to take care of their problem to sake my reputation. But most of the time its actually because I sometimes need to access some code or part of code that I already have done for someone but would take days or weeks if have to start from scratch. Just 2 days before, I accessed a site for the first time that I did 2 years before just to download a couple of coding files and re-use them solving an issue which was bothering me for a week, and it took just 2 min.

    Regarding creating problems for the company - It all depends on the employer's own will, nature and circumstances. Last year, I was told to be fired only because the new MD wants his team to work with him, regardless of 3 big projects I was doing simultenously and remained uncompleted. The MD told me that they have outsourced!!! I was told in the afternoon that I don't have to come tomorrow. I was so shocked that a thought to do huge destruction came to my mind. But I am an IT Professional and these things are not the properties of a Professional. So, did copy all the code that had gone in vain and left as soon as it was 5 o'clock.

    End result --- I do it just for positive purposes, to help stupid clients and to save time not trying to re-invent the wheel. Neither did nor will do any such negative practice.

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    Tony Hopkinson

    However as human memory wipes haven't been invented yet, aide memoires I don't gave a problem with. I remember enough of the sense of things I've done, not to go mad on this sort of thing.

    It's one of the key points about leaving somewhere, if something goes wrong after you leave and you still have access, you become prime suspect....

    Happened to me once when I swapped departments in the same firm.

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    JamesRL

    In other positions I've looked at and tweaked the process. The best practise I saw was to have a sys admin notified the day of (you have to trust your sys admin not to tell on pain of firing), and the Sys Admin should know when the "discussion" is going to take place. During the discussion, the logons are disabled. After the discussion, the person is escorted back to their work area and allowed to pack up.

    It wouldn't protect you in the last sentance's case, but thats not a very often seen scenario.

    This may sound cruel and inhuman, but at the place where I tweaked it, I was laid off, and it happened exactly how it had been planned. My boss escorted me back to my office, and offered to retreive any files I might need. I already had my contact list on my palm pilot. He even carried a box of my stuff to my car. I was laid off in October, and he asked me to come to their departmental Christmas lunch.

    James

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    jdclyde

    IT guys are much too nice to be let go, short of the entire company going under, and in that case any damage done is unimportant.

    If you MUST do this, make sure that someone else has the admin passwords. When he is taken into your office to be notified, THAT is when you change all the passwords, and disable his accounts.

    If you suspect triggered viruses, then you are directly to blame for hiring someone that could not be trusted in the first place.

    Then again, depending on WHY they are let go, how much can YOU be trusted either?

    Trust is a two way street, and you have not given us enough information to tell if there is a betrayal or not for you to can someone right before the holidays. A pretty disgusting practice some companies have these days it seems.

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    rnlmush

    It happens to me during my 31st bday. We are 20 IT personnel fired, my dept.head. All us developers,,admins, pc support, im one of them, It's a disaster things happen to us, The only reason is a poison or malicious letter spread in the whole company and some outside the premises, about a new hire (2 months) Senior Manager of IT, but first he change some policy in our IT Group, that trigger the anger of some senior IT Manager/Supervisor. He also hires new 3 IT consultant from his previous company; it happens only in 1 month, then during my bday 1:00pm, they call us all in one room ground floor of the building, they call us one by one, they force us to sign the quitclaim, the paycheque, reason "REDUNDANCY" we are all clear in all accountabilities; after three hours, 4:00PM we all accompanied with guards to pick-up all our personal things in the 5/F Floor, it Hurts, It SAD, some cried, if i have grenade on my pocket at that time, "maybe it explodes" including me,
    It shocks us all, some of us are married, kids to feed,for school tuition, some supports their family, Why is this happen? After a week we meet all, we consult lawyer for our case but nothing happens, they traitor us. But the another things happen, their system down for 3 days, their mail-server is down for unknown reason, the remote sites cannot retrieve password, even the headquarters, after 2 weeks, the new manager fired by managements. After 1 year they hired them again..

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    HAL 9000 Moderator

    The expense of paying someone not to work over the Holiday Period. But I'll bet you $ to Donuts that the Upper Management is walking away with massive Xmas Bonuses and the other fringe benefit's that go along with their positions.

    Col

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    NZ_Justice

    but has dire consequences for you?

    unless of course you have no conscious.

    and can get away with murder.

    but then you could always write a book called:

    If I did it. how it happened.

    A hypothetical look at blowing the brains out of an IT person without warning.

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    HAL 9000 Moderator

    As quite often it's not what the IT person can do but what they hold in their head that can do the damage to a company. As yet there is no way known of disposing of this information without breaking the LAW!

    It makes things even worse if the fired person them starts working for a competitor as they then have inside information on how the company that they just left works and most likely have a lot of knowledge that they where unaware of that can be used against the company who terminated them. As they are now working for a different company it's perfectly Professional to give the new company every advantage possible.

    Col

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    Onkel Gunnar

    If you like your company and your workmates and you love your computersystem and network, you will not want to hurt them., or tell secrets.

    G

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    pmjm

    I came in a week after the previous sole IT programmer & Admin guy walked out due to a contract payments dispute. he refused to give up any passwords or any source code for the web data base he had promised that week so the company had already terminated the leased system it was to replace. Took me a week of 20 hour days to crack most passwords, a year to re-write the system from just about scratch. company paid a lawyer 12 grand to write threatning letters to no avail, which was what they owed him anyway. Moral - treat other people as you would expect to be treated, avoid lawyers, take backups offsite, don't bet the company on a new system working......still I did alright.

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    info

    Hi ... I think that this is one of the biggest concers you can have. Most internal security breaches are due to disgruntled employees. There are far more serious things that can happen, if the guy is a little creative. He could very easily make sure that once you reboot a server after a while, the disks partition table is deleted.

    My advice is, if you want to get rid of him, make sure he cannot touch a pc anymore before you tell him.

    An IT guy

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    thelastsaint

    Management depending on teh size of the organisation must have a process of documenting all backup, password and other IT related issue and stored off site.

    Secondly a handover documentation should be produce by the IT guy before his severance pay is paid to him/her.

    Edwin
    edwinthelastsaint@yahoo.co.uk

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    info

    I certainly agree (I'm a security guy ;-). I just want to say that few companies I've worked for have these things in place.

    It certainly depends on the areas (Europe, US ...), but my advise will be, do it quick and don't give him a chance.

    (I'm from a small country in Europe ;-)

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    Tony Hopkinson

    but that documentation should be in place all the time, it should also be reviewed and proven.
    Putting it in after you've made the decision to release an employee, would give even us thickie IT types who can't make management a bit of a clue.

    Handover is for current state of a project.

    Specific tasks and routines should already be documented, keeping your operational systems up with undocumented routines is damn stupid, what if the guy got hit by a bus?

    If I found I was running my business with my booty that exposed, I'd be sacking the guy who was responsible for covering my ***.

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    chas_2

    I don't think I can agree with this. Management could, theoretically, drag out the process of "approving" the documentation, hoping the freshly terminated employee just gives up - thus allowing the company to keep its severance.

    I think this would also be a function of how long the employee was working for the company. An individual of 15+ years of experience expected to document everything he/she knew could, conceivably, spend another week writing it all down. For a relative newbie to the company (less than 24 months) would something like this really be beneficial?

    When management decides to lay off a worker, they should already have analyzed the consequences before the fact. Asking someone to write down everything to make it easy for the management relieves the management of taking responsibility for what's supposed to be happening - it's laziness.

    If management wants to request such a transition document, it should not be longer than two pages and should be represented as an outline with the most critical activities mentioned - not an exhaustive list of bean-counting activities. An individual who's in shock and traumatized by the sudden loss of his/her income is going to have a hard time focusing on writing such a document - meaning there may be inadvertent omissions, inconsistencies, or outright errors.

    Management are, ultimately, responsible for knowing what their people know. Having someone else write a how-to guide after the fact is lazy and unethical. Let management get their hands dirty, I say.

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    agaetos

    IT employee who absorbed the work function(s) can easily go with the dirty tricks by stating that needed information was not part of the it handover document. This was evident to employees who has no right it skills, teamwork attitude and harmonious working environment especially with the layoff employee(s).

    Things worsen, now an exodus layoff in process in the organization.

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    ccerratom

    There is nothing you can do, as an employer, to prevent a situation like that, except ... be fair.

    If it is absolutely necesary, fired him/her. OK.

    But, ... please, be fair, pay all the benefits his/her has a right to.

    You can take it to the door with a pair of security men, change all the passwords, etc. but ... what about a time bomb that activates a few days later, when the employee is not here anymore, because the trigger is inverse, and the employee deactivated it all days.

    No easy solutions.

    Only prevention, maybe hire a consultant months before the firing, to analyze the programas ...(!!!), surely a titanic task, an internal policy to share all the critic passwords ... but, I think nothing would be enough, if the company is playing maliciously, the employee will note the situation.

    If your employee is satisfied with the relationship, surely he will not be tempted to provoke a disaster.

    Prevention. Be fair.
    Only.

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    Chaz Chance#

    Unless, of course, there is a program running somewhere that waits until he hasn't logged in for a while, and then...

    Oh, the joys of working in a profession where NOTHING is impossible.

    PS Disaster recovery people are paid to be paranoid.

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    HAL 9000 Moderator

    If I really wanted to get back at some company who had really Pissed Me Off I would be looking at stealing a copy of all their data and passing it on to all the competition so they lost sales.

    Taking out a server is child's play and not even worth the effort involved. If you are really paranoid you need to worry about your company Data which is the valuable thing that needs protecting. It's also the IT people who get the blame when it goes astray even though everyone else in the office has access to it and can move it out of the company when they like. But it's always the IT Staff fault when this happens.

    Personally I see things like this as a sign of a bad company to work for if one or more staff members are involved in stealing data there is a serious problem inside that company. Your average Professional IT Person would generally prefer to say F### YOU! and walk away than to be involved in anything like this as it's petty and ultimately a waste of time and effort that could better be used elsewhere.

    It never fails to amaze me just how the people in Middle to Upper Management think what the IT staff could do. I personally see this more as a reflection on the way that they behave rather than the way that IT Staff behave.

    Col

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    AJ-Ubuntu-User

    But at the end of the day it depends on the IT pro. Most wouldn't do that.

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    absolutox1

    I agree, most people would not risk there careers by doing damage before (or after) they are fired. However, I think every company has to give some consideration of the kind of damage that can be done by the guy that does. The one example I remember from years ago, the system admin set up a logic bomb that crashed the server and he had corrupted the backup tapes before he left. The company was a tool die maker that used programs in automated machines to make thousands different items. The company lost millions of dollars because they had to get engineers rewrite the program for each machine, for each item it made. The FBI was able to prove the former employee sabatoged the companies computers and they got a convition, but the company will never recover the lost earnings and market position.

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    Tony Hopkinson

    not once in 20+ years of working in IT have I witnessed such a thing, nor have any of the people I've worked with ever mentioned it.

    If you have upset someone enough for them to want to do you and to accept the consequences (you would have potential legal redress).

    Then you revoke their access, give them a chance to pick up their personal effects and escort them straight off the premises and pay their notice period.

    Course that means you have good systems in place, and no handover is required.

    If they guy got run over by a bus (this is not a solution to your problem ), what knowledge is only in their head?

    If you'd be knackered, then you don't have good systems and you might want try for a less acrimonious departure. You've got to weigh the cost of the disruption from losing this knowledge versus the risk of said employee purposely disrupting the systems.

    What responsibilities do they have. A system admin with 'secret' knowledge is far more of a potential risk than say a coder. There again I've seen projects overrun by months due to removing a key developer(s).

    Always bear in mind we aren't called IT professionals for nothing.

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    stress junkie

    I spent 15 of my 22 years as a contract (temp) system administrator. I usually started jobs after the regular system administrator had left the job. Some of those departures had been on bad terms. I have never ever seen a situation where the previous system administrator had set up any kind of time bomb or had done anything malicious.

    I did have done situation where I installed a software package that enhanced data access security in a Windows for Workgroups environment. That involved setting up a VAX with DEC Pathworks as a file server. The client had experienced data loss when a malicious secretary deleted important files. That is the only case I've ever seen of a malicious employee causing damage.

    It is still a good idea to inform the employee then walk him/her to their office to collect their things and then walk them off of the premises. I think this is done more because managers don't want the terminated employee to hang around saying goodbye to everyone and talking about what a bad place it is to work. I saw one case where a manager was dismissed. He spent the rest of the day going around the building talking to everyone. That shouldn't be allowed to happen.

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    VMS

    Tony Hopkinson

    file versioning built into the operating system.

    What a silly idea, no practical use whatsoever



    Agreed you can't have people walking around saying the firm is crap, especially when it is.

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    stress junkie

    After I had been using VMS for a while I got scared moving to Unix because you don't have file versions. You make a change and that's it baby. You have to make your own backups or you're out of luck.

    Too bad DEC made so many huge mistakes. Their marketing was limited to the annual DECUS convention. They gave up on VMS several years before Compaq bought them. They didn't understand the value of being a turnkey provider. Their PC division was horrible. They never courted third party software providers. They grossly overpaid their managers while equally badly underpaid their regular employees. They never made any good GUI products for the desktop. They still managed to have some really great products, VMS being the greatest of them all. Tru64 Unix was really good. RDB was very good. The VAX and Alpha processors were good.

    I really miss the diverse user account privileges that were available in VMS. You could really tailor a user account for specific capabilities. I know Unix has user account capabilities but I haven't tried to use them yet.

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    Tony Hopkinson

    Back on winders now, but I did another two years on it after a six year break.
    Trying to go PC, particularly that horrible pathworks crap was the big mistake.

    When you look as the hardware and OS feature set they had decades ago, you really have to scratch your head wondering how they could have f'ed it up so badly on the business front.

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    Zen37

    When i was laid off a couple of years ago, they let me walk around and say goodbye to everyone. I assume that my account rights were revoked the second i got up to go to the conference room where they made the annoncement. I really appreciated the fact that they let me shake the hands of my fellow workers and i was able to let them know that i was ok with the decision and i was going to be alright. But one thing is for sure, I wasn't going to stay there during the notice period and that's ok too. I know i wouldn't of done anything wrong, but my heart would not of been in it anyways, so i guess its was for the best.

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    rbosgood

    I was laid of 2 years ago by a larger company. My boss just showed up at my desk and told me I needed to be in a conference room meeting right away (I did not see it coming) when I walked in and there were 15 of us from different depts with the HR head, I figured it out pretty quick. when I got back to my cube, I was told my account was turned off but I was allowed to walk around and say good bye. After being there for 6 years this was a painful but an apreciated walk. I left there knowing I was ok with them, and they were ok with me.
    I was just laid off (or fired, not sure) a month ago. I was hired on to do tech support (PC's and printers). It was just myself and the IT manager and 200 users. About 3 months after I got there they fired my manager, then it was just me and the 200 users. I was the whole IT dept. They hired a new manger after 4 months of that, kept him for 2 months and fired him. Then they waited another month and hired a network engineer, No IT manager.
    3 months later I come in on a Monday and this kid (18 years old) from the dept next to mine comes in and tells me he is starting tody in IT. I never heard a word about any new people starting. The network admin told me to check with the operations manager. I had to wait till 10 am for her to show up, but when she did, yes... my job was over. No explanations, no performance complaints, just "A bussniess decision has been made". I was walked to my desk, they made everyone else leave the room, gave me a few min to pack my stuff and then walked me to my car and made sure I drove out of there. I never did get an answer of what the reason was. The network eng says he thinks its because he was willing to do my job for 4 dollars an hour less. I did get a severance pay, after less then a year I guess that is more then I expected. Now at 53, I am trying to find a job in tech support. Its not an easy road.

    I never would have done any damage to either of them, that would make me unprofessional. I felt they should have given me an explanation of some sort.

    any way, the main point, the first company handled it well and let me keep some dignity. The second company was totaly unprofessional. I am glad to be done with them, but it sure could have been done better.

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    onbliss

    I just have 15+ years of experience, and not 20+ :-), but I have never once heard and nor my co-workers have ever mentioned it to me.

    But based on some of the posts, looks like such things do happen.

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    heml0ck

    I have seen developers and engineers destroy their own files.
    This only ever happened when the writing was on the wall, or they were informed by a little birdie.
    It is common practice in my neck of the woods for IT people to be immediately escorted out of the building and off the premises upon termination.

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    asgr86

    Remove that guys access to all the server, database and other imp location as soon as he get to know that he is going to get sacked... and then let him collect all of his other personal items.

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    rayanami

    i wont be doing anything to harm the company. though i could also say that i wont be doing anything good for the company after they fire me. i'll leave the premises immediately so as not to be accused of sabotaging the system. of course, its up to them to find someone who can manage the system that I left.

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    jmgarvin

    You hired this person and now you have to fire them. As a manager you've probably fired a number of people, how is firing the IT guy any different?

    I've NEVER seen an IT professoinal ever do any of the acts you've described. Why? A couple of reasons. Typically IT professoinals aren't going to ruin THEIR reputation on something as trival as moving on. Also the IT pro would never put themselves in an area where possible litigation would destroy their careers and family.

    Think about it this way:
    If you were fired tomorrow would you take a match to the building or put strychnine in the guacamole? Probably not...Same goes for the IT pros...

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    darinhamer

    I am aware of a situation at a local branch of a national company. The local IT guy was caught having an affair with another employee in his office. He would hang a sign on the door not to bother him. One day, the site manager bothered him. It was quite a surprise for everyone, I hear. Anyway, the IT guy got fired.

    About a week or so later, something interesting happened. A corporate VP had been down to do an assessment of the site and to determine the fates of some people now that their government contract had been renewed. He sent the site manager an e-mail that stated who would be promoted and who would be let go and who were irreplaceable and could basically write their own paychecks. I know this because I and everyone else who worked at that site, including the people mentioned in the e-mail, were able to read that e-mail. "Someone" apparently got access to the site manager's e-mail and forwarded the note to EVERYONE in his contacts. This was quite embarrassing and potentially caused some legal issues for the company. It could never be proven, but it is a widely held belief that the IT guy created a backdoor and logged in from a remote location and did this. The authorities were contacted, but to my knowledge nothing ever happened to him. And what I find interesting is that he was in the wrong. He should have been fired for doing the nasty on company property and company time.

    Anyway, it is not a problem unique to IT either. My uncle owns a business selling semi trailers. He decided to close his service shop because it was losing him money. He tried to be nice to the shop employees and gave them two weeks notice. They stole every tool in the shop on their way out. Thousands of dollars worth of tools vanished.

    Unfortunately, as cruel as it seems, you have to remove any opportunity people have to torpedo the company. A layoff may be different than firing, but chances are that even a good employee may have hard feelings about it and do something stupid before leaving. You've got to give them the news, soften the **** as much as possible, but then accompany them to the door. Give 'em a good severance. That might help.

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    safesax2002

    Just had to say I like your reference to Office Space :)

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    bigbigboss

    If you feel the guy is suspecting that you are going to fire him, do it quick, do it now, do it immediately, and walk him back to his desk, watch him clear it out, and walk him out of the office. I usually ask the security people to do that. You should get somebody to disable all his userids, and collect all his security cards, keys, ID's, etc.

    If you don't think he is suspecting, then you can take your time. Don't do it on a Friday. Try Monday morning. You don't want a newly unemployed person mopping at home alone all weekend. Do it in the morning, so that he won't be alone at night at home. If there are people in your company handling problem employees, like employee assistance, counsellors, etc., get them involved.

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    RFink

    My company is beign gobbled up by another. My last day is Dec. 15th.

    They gave me five week's notice and a decent severance package after that.

    Of course, I'm bummed about being laid off, but becasue of the way it was handled I don't have any hard feelings towards the company.

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    trs789

    We are looking for an IT professional and are located in Troy. If you're interested in discussing the position, please drop me a line at trs789@yahoo.com. Tom

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    JamesRL

    In other positions I've looked at and tweaked the process. The best practise I saw was to have a sys admin notified the day of (you have to trust your sys admin not to tell on pain of firing), and the Sys Admin should know when the "discussion" is going to take place. During the discussion, the logons are disabled. After the discussion, the person is escorted back to their work area and allowed to pack up.

    It wouldn't protect you in the last sentance's case, but thats not a very often seen scenario.

    This may sound cruel and inhuman, but at the place where I tweaked it, I was laid off, and it happened exactly how it had been planned. My boss escorted me back to my office, and offered to retreive any files I might need. I already had my contact list on my palm pilot. He even carried a box of my stuff to my car.

    James

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    rebeccaaward

    This doesn't cover the case where it is the Sysadmin who is being laid off. Who changes the passwords then?

    When I quit my last sysadmin job, I stopped by 2 months later to visit some friends. They were having some computer issues and needed to let the Developer of our intranet log on. No one knew how to do so (he was from out of the state and had been sitting in his RV for two days.)

    I offered to help, walked in to the server, logged in AS ME, and created him a user name and password. They had never deleted my account or passwords.

    A year and a half later, they called me looking for files that had been under my control (they couldn't log into the web server). I told them where the files had been WHILE I WORKED THERE, but since I had left, they had rearranged that office and disposed of my furniture (it was pretty crappy furniture), so that was the best I could do.

    They eventually gave up and called the hosting company to ask the passwords be reset. They probably had thrown my files away too.

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    JamesRL

    I know its an ideal but you should never be in the position where one person is the only person who could do things. Does the business shutdown when the sysadmin goes on vacation? God forbid has a heart attack (its happened to me).

    I make sure that none of my employees are that indespensible. Yes sometimes we have to revert to looking stuff up in some pretty sketchy docs but we have something.

    James

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    jgruber

    I have found myself in this situation once or twice before. I document the heck out of things, but have worked for a few companies where I was the only IT professional and there was no one else to share any of the information with. Not an ideal situation but it does happen.

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    HAL 9000 Moderator

    Granted I've always resigned and then been fired because I could do too much damage to the company.

    And they walk in and destroy all my records of the system and then expect me to know what has happened anything up to 18 months latter when they manage to totally destroy the system.

    To date I've been lucky as the head of the company has been brought up to supervise what I do when I go back to fix their problems and they can see what has happened when I ask what happened to the Paperwork that was stored in this filling cabinet. Only to be told that it was thrown out/shredded after I left. Apparently anything that I put to paper isn't worth keeping when I leave according to the non technical people running the show and they reap the rewards of their folly. :^0

    But at least the people in charge know where to place the blame for the problems and I've never ever been accused of trashing anything well at least not by the real people who are involved. The Brown Noses want to blame me for their stupidity but every time it's comes back to bit them on the backside and they have to admit responsibility for the problems that they have made. They destroy the paperwork and then expect not to have problems down the path. The fact that I'm willing to go back there and help them sort out their problems also never goes astray either. This generally comes about after several phone calls where I tell the person responsible where things where placed when I was there and how to go about doing something and when they can not get the desired results anything up to 2 years latter I'll walk back in and fix the mess up and document the entire system again. Even then there are copies made and one copy is taken to head office while one remains in the local office and it gets destroyed again as useless junk that is only needed when they manage to break something next time. Fortunately there is always a copy available at head office so I don't need to walk back in and try to sort out the mess that they have managed to make.

    Col

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    JamesRL

    of whoever the IT person reports to, to understand where the information is and what to do about it.

    If you are going to manage the only IT guy, you need to make an effort to know something about the job and the responsibilities.

    I would lay this down as a failure to manage.

    James

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    HAL 9000 Moderator

    Every time that I've left a job I've been the one asking for the necessary changes to be made just so that some Idiot can not latter say that I've done anything to adversely impact upon the system.

    In my experience most of the smaller companies treat IT as some form of Magic that they are unable to comprehend and somehow it just happens without any effort.

    Of course most of these places are run by accountants so you can not expect too much sense to be involved but I do try to have by back covered when I quit then get fired because I can not be trusted to stay and work out my time without attempting to destroy the company. One of the best ones was when I was speaking on a phone to the CEO of the place that I had just resigned from they had to have one of the sales people standing around me to make sure that I didn't say anything bad about the place.

    3 Weeks latter when I tried to ring him to tell that I had heard that he had resigned and was being allowed to work out his 3 months he wouldn't take my phone calls. Then just before he left I got hit by him for trying to speak to him after leaving and it was then that I told him that the competition had told me that he had resigned and it was his fault that he wouldn't speak to me as he had a hole in his company that I couldn't be part of. What he wanted to turn into a Col Bashing session backfired on him and I was the Good Guy who was still standing up for the company.

    What got even better was that I was told not to speak to their customers and I said I would gladly stop speaking to them if they would stop ringing me up and that as I had a silent Phone number someone within his organisation had handed out my phone number to the dealers so again it wasn't my responsibility but I would at least help them with Technical Problems but if they started to complain about the company all I would say was that I no longer work there and I suggest that you ring so & so to make a complaint. :^0

    Latter that night the AU Service Manager was plying me with drinks and paid for the cab home. Seems that I was such a bad egg that he still wanted me on side for help when he needed it.

    Col

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    JohnnySacks

    I guess carrying your box to your car was the least he could do. Was he teary eyed about potentially ruining your life? Glad you saw it coming and could take what you needed (anything that wasn't chained down?)

    I know it's mostly an urban myth, but there's a vicarious thrill to be had about ruining a company on the way out the door. There truly are companies out there which deserve to have every form on vengeance taken out on them.

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    Dr_Zinj

    Organizations may be a pita to work for, but in reality, it's usually the manager(s) that make or break the relationship you have with the company. A good boss can make even a rotten company be a nice(r) place to work, while a ****-poor, or malicious manager can turn a heavenly place to work into **** on Earth.

    Only fools use their professional knowledge to screw over a company - unless they're never going to work in that field again, and even if they aren't, they now have a track record of unreliability in ANY field.

    If you're really dead-set on taking revenge on a real stinker, nothing beats sticking a dead skunk under the passenger side tires of his or her car. Of course, GETTING the dead skunk is a means of checking your own commitment to the revenge project in the first place. ;-)

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    jmgarvin

    You can pick them up at any gag gift store. Just plant a pole and the sign in your old managers parking space...and BAM...instant ticket!

    :-)

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    GSG

    Best is a chicken from the grocery store. It'll take longer to smell and it'd be harder to connect it to you. It gets pretty raunchy in the summer. I know, I had one fall out of my grocery sack into the trunk and it fermented in the hot sun for a few days until I tracked down where the reek was coming from.

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    JamesRL

    He didn't have a choice. He had to make cuts. It happens. I've laid people off too.

    I would never burn a bridge unless I was unjustly fired. I've seen people come back after layoffs, or even come back after leaving to work somewhere else. I depend on those old employers for good references(and got them). My employer paid for outplacement services.

    I didn't take anything that wasn't mine. My company provided a pretty generous severence package. I was laid off during a downturn in the market, but it didnt ruin my life.

    James

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    Womble

    I agree with the sentiment about burning bridges - I lost a job at the beginning of the IT crash, after 10 years with the company. 2 years after that I was offered a different job back with the same company, more interesting more control more pay, and now have been made permanent.
    others made redundant at the same time are still struggling hand to mouth, and they took a burn it outlook.
    The manager who sacked me was also later turfed. He is now working as a manager of a contractor company that I can choose or not choose to use.

    Power is a sweet thing

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    skqmad

    Well,

    I am a coder by profession with 4+ years of experience. Created numerous intranet, extranet, websites and web applications of simple and complex nature. I have also never heard of such things in my career. But I tell you wisely, a coder can do such things VERY EASILY...

    I works in office as well as a freelancer too. I admits that I have either the copy of those applications I have created or have created backdoors sometimes. Yeah I do! But why??? Want to harm anyone???

    Well, its not to harm anyone. It depends on the situation. Sometimes I want to deal with clients who are vulnerable to deliver payments even upon complete deliver of projects. Sometimes its because of some stupid clients who do corrupt the things and tell me that its me who is responsible and don't want to understand anything and I have to take care of their problem to sake my reputation. But most of the time its actually because I sometimes need to access some code or part of code that I already have done for someone but would take days or weeks if have to start from scratch. Just 2 days before, I accessed a site for the first time that I did 2 years before just to download a couple of coding files and re-use them solving an issue which was bothering me for a week, and it took just 2 min.

    Regarding creating problems for the company - It all depends on the employer's own will, nature and circumstances. Last year, I was told to be fired only because the new MD wants his team to work with him, regardless of 3 big projects I was doing simultenously and remained uncompleted. The MD told me that they have outsourced!!! I was told in the afternoon that I don't have to come tomorrow. I was so shocked that a thought to do huge destruction came to my mind. But I am an IT Professional and these things are not the properties of a Professional. So, did copy all the code that had gone in vain and left as soon as it was 5 o'clock.

    End result --- I do it just for positive purposes, to help stupid clients and to save time not trying to re-invent the wheel. Neither did nor will do any such negative practice.

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    Tony Hopkinson

    However as human memory wipes haven't been invented yet, aide memoires I don't gave a problem with. I remember enough of the sense of things I've done, not to go mad on this sort of thing.

    It's one of the key points about leaving somewhere, if something goes wrong after you leave and you still have access, you become prime suspect....

    Happened to me once when I swapped departments in the same firm.

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    JamesRL

    In other positions I've looked at and tweaked the process. The best practise I saw was to have a sys admin notified the day of (you have to trust your sys admin not to tell on pain of firing), and the Sys Admin should know when the "discussion" is going to take place. During the discussion, the logons are disabled. After the discussion, the person is escorted back to their work area and allowed to pack up.

    It wouldn't protect you in the last sentance's case, but thats not a very often seen scenario.

    This may sound cruel and inhuman, but at the place where I tweaked it, I was laid off, and it happened exactly how it had been planned. My boss escorted me back to my office, and offered to retreive any files I might need. I already had my contact list on my palm pilot. He even carried a box of my stuff to my car. I was laid off in October, and he asked me to come to their departmental Christmas lunch.

    James

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    jdclyde

    IT guys are much too nice to be let go, short of the entire company going under, and in that case any damage done is unimportant.

    If you MUST do this, make sure that someone else has the admin passwords. When he is taken into your office to be notified, THAT is when you change all the passwords, and disable his accounts.

    If you suspect triggered viruses, then you are directly to blame for hiring someone that could not be trusted in the first place.

    Then again, depending on WHY they are let go, how much can YOU be trusted either?

    Trust is a two way street, and you have not given us enough information to tell if there is a betrayal or not for you to can someone right before the holidays. A pretty disgusting practice some companies have these days it seems.

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    rnlmush

    It happens to me during my 31st bday. We are 20 IT personnel fired, my dept.head. All us developers,,admins, pc support, im one of them, It's a disaster things happen to us, The only reason is a poison or malicious letter spread in the whole company and some outside the premises, about a new hire (2 months) Senior Manager of IT, but first he change some policy in our IT Group, that trigger the anger of some senior IT Manager/Supervisor. He also hires new 3 IT consultant from his previous company; it happens only in 1 month, then during my bday 1:00pm, they call us all in one room ground floor of the building, they call us one by one, they force us to sign the quitclaim, the paycheque, reason "REDUNDANCY" we are all clear in all accountabilities; after three hours, 4:00PM we all accompanied with guards to pick-up all our personal things in the 5/F Floor, it Hurts, It SAD, some cried, if i have grenade on my pocket at that time, "maybe it explodes" including me,
    It shocks us all, some of us are married, kids to feed,for school tuition, some supports their family, Why is this happen? After a week we meet all, we consult lawyer for our case but nothing happens, they traitor us. But the another things happen, their system down for 3 days, their mail-server is down for unknown reason, the remote sites cannot retrieve password, even the headquarters, after 2 weeks, the new manager fired by managements. After 1 year they hired them again..

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    HAL 9000 Moderator

    The expense of paying someone not to work over the Holiday Period. But I'll bet you $ to Donuts that the Upper Management is walking away with massive Xmas Bonuses and the other fringe benefit's that go along with their positions.

    Col

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    NZ_Justice

    but has dire consequences for you?

    unless of course you have no conscious.

    and can get away with murder.

    but then you could always write a book called:

    If I did it. how it happened.

    A hypothetical look at blowing the brains out of an IT person without warning.

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    HAL 9000 Moderator

    As quite often it's not what the IT person can do but what they hold in their head that can do the damage to a company. As yet there is no way known of disposing of this information without breaking the LAW!

    It makes things even worse if the fired person them starts working for a competitor as they then have inside information on how the company that they just left works and most likely have a lot of knowledge that they where unaware of that can be used against the company who terminated them. As they are now working for a different company it's perfectly Professional to give the new company every advantage possible.

    Col

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    Onkel Gunnar

    If you like your company and your workmates and you love your computersystem and network, you will not want to hurt them., or tell secrets.

    G

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    pmjm

    I came in a week after the previous sole IT programmer & Admin guy walked out due to a contract payments dispute. he refused to give up any passwords or any source code for the web data base he had promised that week so the company had already terminated the leased system it was to replace. Took me a week of 20 hour days to crack most passwords, a year to re-write the system from just about scratch. company paid a lawyer 12 grand to write threatning letters to no avail, which was what they owed him anyway. Moral - treat other people as you would expect to be treated, avoid lawyers, take backups offsite, don't bet the company on a new system working......still I did alright.

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    info

    Hi ... I think that this is one of the biggest concers you can have. Most internal security breaches are due to disgruntled employees. There are far more serious things that can happen, if the guy is a little creative. He could very easily make sure that once you reboot a server after a while, the disks partition table is deleted.

    My advice is, if you want to get rid of him, make sure he cannot touch a pc anymore before you tell him.

    An IT guy

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    thelastsaint

    Management depending on teh size of the organisation must have a process of documenting all backup, password and other IT related issue and stored off site.

    Secondly a handover documentation should be produce by the IT guy before his severance pay is paid to him/her.

    Edwin
    edwinthelastsaint@yahoo.co.uk

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    info

    I certainly agree (I'm a security guy ;-). I just want to say that few companies I've worked for have these things in place.

    It certainly depends on the areas (Europe, US ...), but my advise will be, do it quick and don't give him a chance.

    (I'm from a small country in Europe ;-)

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    Tony Hopkinson

    but that documentation should be in place all the time, it should also be reviewed and proven.
    Putting it in after you've made the decision to release an employee, would give even us thickie IT types who can't make management a bit of a clue.

    Handover is for current state of a project.

    Specific tasks and routines should already be documented, keeping your operational systems up with undocumented routines is damn stupid, what if the guy got hit by a bus?

    If I found I was running my business with my booty that exposed, I'd be sacking the guy who was responsible for covering my ***.

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    chas_2

    I don't think I can agree with this. Management could, theoretically, drag out the process of "approving" the documentation, hoping the freshly terminated employee just gives up - thus allowing the company to keep its severance.

    I think this would also be a function of how long the employee was working for the company. An individual of 15+ years of experience expected to document everything he/she knew could, conceivably, spend another week writing it all down. For a relative newbie to the company (less than 24 months) would something like this really be beneficial?

    When management decides to lay off a worker, they should already have analyzed the consequences before the fact. Asking someone to write down everything to make it easy for the management relieves the management of taking responsibility for what's supposed to be happening - it's laziness.

    If management wants to request such a transition document, it should not be longer than two pages and should be represented as an outline with the most critical activities mentioned - not an exhaustive list of bean-counting activities. An individual who's in shock and traumatized by the sudden loss of his/her income is going to have a hard time focusing on writing such a document - meaning there may be inadvertent omissions, inconsistencies, or outright errors.

    Management are, ultimately, responsible for knowing what their people know. Having someone else write a how-to guide after the fact is lazy and unethical. Let management get their hands dirty, I say.

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    agaetos

    IT employee who absorbed the work function(s) can easily go with the dirty tricks by stating that needed information was not part of the it handover document. This was evident to employees who has no right it skills, teamwork attitude and harmonious working environment especially with the layoff employee(s).

    Things worsen, now an exodus layoff in process in the organization.

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    ccerratom

    There is nothing you can do, as an employer, to prevent a situation like that, except ... be fair.

    If it is absolutely necesary, fired him/her. OK.

    But, ... please, be fair, pay all the benefits his/her has a right to.

    You can take it to the door with a pair of security men, change all the passwords, etc. but ... what about a time bomb that activates a few days later, when the employee is not here anymore, because the trigger is inverse, and the employee deactivated it all days.

    No easy solutions.

    Only prevention, maybe hire a consultant months before the firing, to analyze the programas ...(!!!), surely a titanic task, an internal policy to share all the critic passwords ... but, I think nothing would be enough, if the company is playing maliciously, the employee will note the situation.

    If your employee is satisfied with the relationship, surely he will not be tempted to provoke a disaster.

    Prevention. Be fair.
    Only.

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    Chaz Chance#

    Unless, of course, there is a program running somewhere that waits until he hasn't logged in for a while, and then...

    Oh, the joys of working in a profession where NOTHING is impossible.

    PS Disaster recovery people are paid to be paranoid.

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    HAL 9000 Moderator

    If I really wanted to get back at some company who had really Pissed Me Off I would be looking at stealing a copy of all their data and passing it on to all the competition so they lost sales.

    Taking out a server is child's play and not even worth the effort involved. If you are really paranoid you need to worry about your company Data which is the valuable thing that needs protecting. It's also the IT people who get the blame when it goes astray even though everyone else in the office has access to it and can move it out of the company when they like. But it's always the IT Staff fault when this happens.

    Personally I see things like this as a sign of a bad company to work for if one or more staff members are involved in stealing data there is a serious problem inside that company. Your average Professional IT Person would generally prefer to say F### YOU! and walk away than to be involved in anything like this as it's petty and ultimately a waste of time and effort that could better be used elsewhere.

    It never fails to amaze me just how the people in Middle to Upper Management think what the IT staff could do. I personally see this more as a reflection on the way that they behave rather than the way that IT Staff behave.

    Col