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Getting Personal...Computers

By bobhog ·
I have an ethical question:

What would you do if faced with a boss or company that continually dumped personal computers to work on?

I have been increasingly p-o'ed about my boss ordering personal computers for some select employees then getting me to build them up with software and configuration. The way I see it is this:

The company is violating its own policies regarding personal computer use. I am being harassed indirectly into working on these machines (i.e. If I refuse, I may lose my job). I have a right to charge for my work.

What do you think?


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Formal Policy?

by TheChas In reply to Getting Personal...Comput ...

Is the company policy you refer to a "formal" written policy?

If not, you don't have many options.

How high up in the organization do the requests for personal PCs originate?

If it is top management, again, you have few options.

I worked for a small company a few years ago.

While we were not allowed by "policy" to perform tasks for other employees, the executive board members could make use of employees and company resources as desired.

Tasks that employees performed included:
Setting up PCs and user training.
Snow shoveling.
Electrical and plumbing work.
Arranging furniture.

My point, you need to take a "read" of the company culture.
If other employees are doing "favors" for upper level managers with their skills, your choice is to do the same, or find another job.


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Formal... eh...

by bobhog In reply to Formal Policy?

Thanks Chas

That's pretty much my take on this issue. The policy is formal and written, much like our policy against pornography, but that doesn't seem to stop two of our partners from sleazing on our dime.

We have architects who do personal work for high-ups. I, being degreed and certified find this practice abismal and difficult to rationalize. I was approached by a partner early after my hire who asked me to look at his personal machine. After I quoted my rate, he said it wasn't that important. He hasn't come back for personal requests since.

I am interested in the integrity of my industry. I know this stuff happens on a wide scale but I really think the industry should get a little backbone and not put up with this.


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Your company leaders are ethically challenged

by DC_GUY In reply to Getting Personal...Comput ...

Not an unusual situation in today's United States. (If that's where you're writing from.) You have only three choices and they've all been presented. 1. Put up with it and be glad you have a job. (I'm listing these in order of current popularity!) 2. Try to convince your boss that you are an employee, not a serf. (This one usually turns into #3 although we have a personal experience to the contrary posted right here.) 3. Look for another job and hold on to the irrational hope that things will be better there.

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doing it on company time

by jardinier In reply to Getting Personal...Comput ...

You haven't said what your position is in the company. Assuming therefore that you are employed in the capacity of an IT Professional, and are doing these foreign orders on company time, I can't see why you have a problem.

If such is not the case, and you are doing the repairs in your own time, then tell your boss you're extremely busy with non work related activities, and that you will get around to it when and if you find the time.

Tell him you are assistant to Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. It doesn't matter as long as you stress the point that your private life does not allow time for these foreign orders.

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Doing it on company penny... is that OK?

by bobhog In reply to doing it on company time


Well this is Tech Republic but I guess I could spell this out. Yes. IT staff. Should the company be engaging its IT staff to satisfy personal requests?

Based upon your response, it is OK for this behavior to occur. You may be surprised to find that most companies with more than 100 employees have an ethics policy prohibiting such activities. State and federal laws make it a crime for management and heads of state or federal agencies to use state or federal employees for personal labor or to imply to them in their place of business that the employee's continued work relationship hinges upon their choice to engage in such activities.

What I'm seeing so far indicates that it is:

1) Unethical
2) Accepted practice

I am interested in further responses. Would YOU as an IT professional, with years of training, a college degree perhaps, a world of knowledge, find utilization of your professional skills on a pro bono basis without your consent an ethical or LEGAL practice?



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by djent In reply to Doing it on company penny ...

If this is a request from your boss it should treated as a job related task and performed on company time as any other job related task. If the boss wants you to do this on your own time refer him to a local consultant and tell him you are not in your own business, have no insurance for such outside work and don't want the liability related to it.

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Boss, God, and You

by bobhog In reply to

Interesting suggestion. It seems many people in this industry are comfortable with the idea that the boss can lay personal work on them during business hours.

I agree that work requested during "personal" time can be dealt with in an entirely different vein... but then again, could you tell your boss "no" to a personal request on your personal time? Wouldn't that bring about the same resentment as rejecting personal work during business hours? Why can the same argument not be made to decline personal request on or off business hours? You would be subject to the same potential amount of harassment no matter how you cut it. Besides, if you are a salaried employee, your boss could always reason that you are always subject to work requests. Don't salaried employees receive unspoken arm-twisting to do extra hours already? Why would this be any different?

What I'm trying to get at is this: why give away your professional services at the expense of your integrity? This stuff will keep sliding and potentially get worse if you do not step up and speak out about it. Has anyone out there had this experience? Certainly the entire IT industry will not work pro-bono just because the boss said so.


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