General discussion

  • Creator
    Topic
  • #2274653

    Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

    Locked

    by haileyan ·

    I am a network administrator for a large law firm. I am salaried. I have worked long and hard to get to a high level of performance and knowledge. I create technology plans, create technology budgets, plan and supervise projects, in addition to all those other thing we do as Administrators. It has not been uncommon for me to work over 48 hours straight with no sleep in order to resolve problems with our business systems (not that that happens alot!) I am willing to do whatever it takes to keep this business runnint smoothly.

    Recently, a partner in the firm asked if I would come to his home and fix his home computer(s). I said I do not do work like that anymore and that I would be happy to recommend someone. I also said that if he brings his CPU into the office I would be happy to take a look at it during slow points.

    Apparently he went to management committee where the partners decided that they would all benefit from my services at their homes. I am told that it is their right to have me do this because I am salaried.

    Well that makes me feel like a monkey. I do not like the idea of being responsible for peoples home computers. I can picture it now… Angry wives and kids of partners calling me after 5 and on the weekends because the wife can’t print an email or the kids can’t play their favorite game. Horrifying! The only good news is that I convinced them that I would only do this during business hours. But eventually the calls will come because they will begin to view me as being responsible for their home systems.

    In the office I have a controlled environment with all sorts of security, standardized systems and policies to keep systems stable. Home computers have no such controls. Every new home is a different system all together.

    Has anyone else experienced this kind of problem? How did you deal with it? Is it legal o have me do personal tasks as a salaried employee?

    These people can more than afford to have someone fix their computers.

All Comments

  • Author
    Replies
    • #2719339

      Fine lines

      by jamesrl ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      At my last job, as manager of desktop services, I had an absolute rule, no home computers no matter what. We still had issues with senior managers using laptops at home, and lending them to kids who filled them with junk which caused many problems – standard solution to that is to backup the users data and reimage the machine.

      A law firm is a little different – its the owners of the firm who decide the rules. Their argument is going to be that they do amount of work at home.

      It might be fruitless to fight this on legal grounds – they will get rid of you if you do.

      The best you can do is set limits – you only support the OS and business applications – you don’t support Kazaa or any funky stuff, and if thats what causes the problem, it will be deleted from the box.

      I will admit despite the fact I am a manager I fixed a VPs home computer recently, it was a former desktop from the company. It was loaded with spyware, but I did it at my own pace in my spare time – he understood why. I kept the machine for two days. I was very thorough. Very thorough. But my VP is pretty flexible and understanding. Your mileage may vary.

      James

      • #2719299

        What a nighmare you are in

        by jimhm ·

        In reply to Fine lines

        I like trying to set rules – but bottomline is they are going to say – we pay you to do what we want.. Period. If its Quake to bad fix it …

        This guy is going to be used and abused by these partners like a cheap hooker –

        Time for them to run – screaming and look for a new position – somewhere fast .. 99% of lawyers are pond scum – the other 1% are retired..

        • #2699586

          Go Ahead

          by roger99a ·

          In reply to What a nighmare you are in

          Go ahead and do it, but just during business hours. Non-critical systems don’t get after hours support. Spend LOTS of time doing it. The first time a senior partner calls you because he can’t get an important document that he needs right away to print and you tell him it will be a couple of hours before you can get there because you’re trying to get Timmy’s Tonka Trucks game to run the policy will change. If they won’t pay you then you have to make it cost them in other ways.

        • #2699584

          task monkey’s can rule

          by netropolisii ·

          In reply to Go Ahead

          Having been in a similar position with having to respond to requests for home computer assistance, one thing these legal big-wigs are overlooking is their PC configurations. I requested that they all submit their hardware stats to me, to include installed software. One bastard even had a P90 PC. After receiving this info, I then came up with a cost analysis for their home computers and it was not pretty. Being the greedy mongrels that they were, they decided to nix the home pc support due to costs. But you’re right, it will cost them in other ways that they cannot envision at the current moment. So go ahead and do the home support, even if it takes you off site to their homes.

        • #2699559

          I agree…the policy will change if you play it right….

          by is girl ·

          In reply to Go Ahead

          Since you’ve already tried logic and they’ve overrulled it, you have to make your point another way.

          Definitely take your time doing these house calls….get “lost” on your way (and be sure to turn in the mileage), be sure to mention that you were fixing the kids game or cleaning viruses that the kids downloaded or getting paperjams out of their printer again.

          Extended time out of the office during peak hours will defiitely make your point. If the company computers are negelected because your are installing a wireless network at one of the partners house, the policy will definitely change.

        • #2699345

          Give ’em EXACTLY what they ask for

          by d50041 ·

          In reply to Go Ahead

          One of management’s biggest problems is getting exactly what they ask for. Doing this during business hours and be very good about documenting how long things take and the impact of uncontrolled systems, as well as travel time and your being out of the office, will either result in them adding staff to do this or bring you back to the office.

        • #2699229

          Is there that many job’s out their ?

          by mstoumba ·

          In reply to Give ’em EXACTLY what they ask for

          WOW
          What a bunch of winers. I can’t tell you how many really good I.S. people I know that are out of work and have been for along time. If your boss trust’s you to run his business and take care of the computers for him outside of the office, count it as a blessing and do it. He know’s that if his employes have a working computer at home they might do a little something at home as well as the office. That gives the boss what he needs and you get a couple of hours out of the office. Their are a bunch of people out of work that would gladly do your job if its to much of a burden for you.

        • #2699214

          Reply To: Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

          by haileyan ·

          In reply to Is there that many job’s out their ?

          There are plenty of IT jobs out there. I think you are missing the point.

          I do find it more than a little bit degrading that all of the sudden I am treated like a “personal task monkey.” Yjere was a time when I did not mind doing work on the side. I enjoyed making an extra few hundred dollars over the weekend. At the time I needed the money and it was at my discretion.

          Had I known this would be expected of me I would not have taken the job. However, I was liberty to do so as I was not out of work. I simply made a move from one firm to another. Had I been out of work for an extended period of time and were I just thankful to have any job, I would likely not complain one bit.

          Don’t sell yourself short. I aspire to become better and better at what I do. I want to aquire new skills and make a better life for myself. I cannot do that working on people home computers like an entry level PC Tech. That is how I started and I have no desire to go back.

          One thing I know for certain is that you never get respect from attorneys for backing down. So I will continue to fight for right. Eventually some major problem will pop up while I am an hour away from the office and they will never let me go again.

          I may look for other work and at that time you are welcome to apply for my position. But no sooner.

        • #2698989

          Reply To: Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

          by mshort77 ·

          In reply to Reply To: Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

          When spending time looking for a new job, make sure you reflect upon the English you use. Judging by the level shown here I’m mightily surprised you’re employed at all.

        • #2712698

          It’s the principle of the matter

          by j2will ·

          In reply to Reply To: Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

          You’re situation is much like a rocket scientist being forced to tutor grade schoolers in math. the operable word here is “forced.” It’s one thing to be asked — shows they respect you and esteem you as a person — than to be told, which reduces you to chattel, unappreciated scum. But, we are dealing with lawyers who are an “elite” group in their own minds.

          You have my sympathies.

          As far a legalities go, lawyers are the worst to stretch the fine points of the law. You might try your state’s employment commission or its equivalent to determine if it is legal or not and what you may or may not be able to do about it.

          There are many good suggestions here. I especially like the ones on cost analysis, waiting until a major problems occurs, and charging mileage.

          I think I would do all of them. In addition, I would enforce corporate IT policies on the home computers. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a bootleg copy of something on their computer and games are a usual no-no on corporate machines.

          If they scream about the time it takes to fix problems, you might think of using a basic ghost image of a corporate machine and improve your efficiency by using it for all problems on their home machines.

          When the time comes they start calling you at home and expect you to come fix their systems, you can apply any corporate HR policy concerning comp time. It there is none, you might fill out a billing for the extra hours (at overtime and holiday rates) and request the IT department be reimbursed for your time. You might even consider doing that for the regular hours as well.

          Before starting all these maneuvers, I would make sure I had a more agreeable job lined up. It’s been my experience that when you get into a situation like this, you are usually on the losing end of the stick no matter the legalities involved.

          Personally, after taking a closer look of your problem, I would find another job as soon as I could. If they think so little of you to violate your autonomy in this manner, they think little of you at all. This is not be a good place to work. For me, they would have taken all the enjoyment out of coming to work and being part of the team. Even if this is resolved, I would be constantly wondering what other forms of personal disrespect would be coming down.

          May God give you strenght and guide you in your decision.

          Regards,

          Jim

        • #2712988

          Whining?

          by angloman ·

          In reply to Is there that many job’s out their ?

          Yeah, and ask if they need their lawn mowed too…
          Two words:
          JOB DESCRIPTION
          Some are more concise than others, but everyone should know what duties they are responsible for. I guarantee the quality of applicants would diminish greatly if a prospective admin were told he would be babysitting home PCs too.
          I agree that “giving them what they want” is the best solution – after nearly 20 years in retail before taking the leap into IT, sometimes the customer will NOT understand “why” until you give them EXACTLY what they asked for. Seems illogical, but they will get the point.

        • #2712754

          Thank you sir, may I have another?

          by docwade ·

          In reply to Is there that many job’s out their ?

          Give me a break – this isn’t a matter of whining, it’s a matter of someone trying to decide how far to go to please the boss. As soon as everyone buys in to the mistaken idea that you should be happy with whatever job you have, then they’ll all happily slide into the role of the mindless, spineless chimps that Corporate America thinks it wants. I’ve been in IT for 10 years, I’ve done Network administration, Corporate desktop support, Configuration management, etc…, and I’m still not opposed to working on home PC’s, but when I do, it’s MY time, and I charge for it – $100/hr. I’ve done Executive support, ON COMPANY TIME, but on the CORPORATE PC, NOT their HOME systems. I’ve also supported Executives’ home systems, but they paid me cash, like any other home user would.

          The important thing to remember is that you must be comfortable with your role. If you feel that you’re being taken advantage of, let the Executives know – that may be enough. If they keep on taking advantage, start looking for another job. But always remember that the WAY you say things is more important than what you say.

        • #3299786

          Yes Dorothy, there are that many jobs out here.

          by jnoble9 ·

          In reply to Is there that many job’s out their ?

          First and foremost, yes, the jobs are available.

          Having been a “personal task monkey” in the past, I found a very effective method of dealing with the problem. (Similar to many of the posts here)

          1. We documented every change to every system, as we were in the Financial vertical, it was required as part of our Security and Systems policy. Adding Change Control to any and every system will cost extra time, effort, and money to an organization. As the manager, I had to document all of the time that my staff utilized, either with “Break/Fix”, “Projects”, or “Critical System Repair (CSR)”. Note that CSR and Break/Fix were different.

          2. As part of the Business Continuity Plan, we determined that mobile employees, and remote employees were a crucial part of the process, and as such, needed to have their remote systems upgraded to support the new applications, services, and to meet the new standards. This allowed us to design a solution with like hardware (standards), secure and lock down the systems, and utilize Terminal Services/Citrix tools to limit the need for locally installed software.

          3. As for my personal time, I used to charge $50 per hour plus T&E with a minimum of 3 hours, to go out to any “home pc” engagement. As it was MY PERSONAL TIME. I found that I was still being abused, not just by my “customers”, but also by my spouse, for not being home. So, over the past 3 years, I have raised my rates, and I now charge $250 per hour with a minimum of 1/2 day, plus T&E. It’s amazing, I still have personal “customers”, but I don’t get called out for stupid problems. The “customer” base I have has shrunk, however, I make even more money from the few that I do have. And since I can dedicate more time with them (minimum 1/2 day), I find that I can be more thorough, and therefore, more effective to them.

          I hope that this works out for you, and if it assisted you in any way, then it was worth my time.

          Regards.

          ~j.

        • #2699228

          This is the right track…

          by galt ·

          In reply to Go Ahead

          I believe this is the right track. The only way you can come out of this okay (notice I said Okay, not “smelling like a rose”) is to feed this arrogance with the humble spoon. Be prompt, do it during business and take as much time as it takes. And, whatever else you do, document every minute you spend working on their home equipment. When you get the inevitable challenge when something happens in the office and you are not there, lay the spreadsheet out and explain your time. American business has ridden “salaried” workers to the point their time is worthless. Business needs to get exactly what it needs and what it pays for. “One…Two…Three…Four, 24×7 no more…”

        • #2699212

          Agreed

          by haileyan ·

          In reply to This is the right track…

          I agree 100%

        • #2712724

          Right .. But Be Sure

          by sneh_ace ·

          In reply to This is the right track…

          That is the only right way what i am looking…

          But before that you have to take other employees in your confidence and tell them about the truth that due to Tommy’s daily game problem you r not able to constrate on their problems …

          See these type of problems will be everywhere so looking for new job is not the solution.

        • #2699198

          If is a Partner – they pay your salary

          by hermang ·

          In reply to Go Ahead

          I used to do contract work for a large commercial real estate broker – many of the brokers were quasi independents who used office space. They liked the work I did so they “hired” me to do their home pc’s at the same rate as the office – nice perk. But back to the topic. If these partners are treated well – most will put in a good word for you at raise time – I’d draw the line at nights and weekends unless it is a Sr. Partner – or it becomes abusive –

        • #2712904

          Send us your Resume

          by timseery ·

          In reply to If is a Partner – they pay your salary

          I work at BAE SYSTEMS. There are about 250 job opens just within our business unit alone.

          Send your resume to jobs@baesystems.com

          My group just hired someone from a law firm and she doesn’t know what to do with all her free time she has now.

        • #2704445

          Right on Roger!

          by info ·

          In reply to Go Ahead

          Absolutely Roger is right!

        • #3318850

          It is critical to set the limits and priorities

          by saxist ·

          In reply to Go Ahead

          I have gone through attemps of forcing me to work on domestic PC problems. It is critical to set the limits of your resposibilities as well as the priorities of your work. You have a contract or something that defines the time you go to the office and (hopefully) the time you leave it. We usually accept to say longer because some issue came out that may affect the core of the business, but not for going to any Manager to fix the PC game.

        • #2699444

          Don’t bottle it up

          by pedwards17 ·

          In reply to What a nighmare you are in

          How do you really feel about lawyers, Jim? 😉

          I was in a position a few years back where I had to support the executives’ home PCs. It was my first real IT job, so I looked at it as a learning experience. It also scored major points for me with the execs, so it wasn’t a bad situation. Now that I’ve got a few years under my belt and am in a senior IT postion, I don’t know that I’d feel the same way. Our policy here is that we support home PCs for people who may have to work from home, and even then we have them bring the PC to the office.
          My advice is not to let your anger show–that may be more damaging than not doing it at all (politically, anyway).

        • #2699211

          Reply To: Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

          by haileyan ·

          In reply to Don’t bottle it up

          I actually invited them to bring their home PCs in. I have no problem checking out during downtime. This would leave me available to meet anyones business needs during business hours. Apparently it is to much to ask of an attorney. There is not a single attorney at my old firm that would have had this type of expectation. If they needed something they offered to bring their PC an and offered to pay me. Still at my discretion mind you.

        • #2712804

          I have been there.. the solution.. perhaps

          by dkhird ·

          In reply to What a nighmare you are in

          Tell the lawyer that he should come over to your house on the weekend and work on your divorce case, or any similar law related matter… It should go both ways? Shouldn’t it?

        • #2703778

          Have Business Card- Will Travel….

          by johanncox ·

          In reply to What a nighmare you are in

          I have had similar issues in the recent past, but they were easily fixed. On the side, I consult for various businesses, and so I carry my personal business card everywhere. When ANYONE at my office asks for help off-site, they immediately receive one of these cards. No one is above this reaction. I have been questioned only a few times, but each time I respond as following: I do not work outside of my office environment for free. My time is worth a great deal to me, as I will not be able to regain the lost minutes or hours such activities rob me of. If they bring their equipment in during hours, it “may” be looked at within a few days. Computer security and desktop maintenance always seems to pop up. 🙂

          Otherwise, get a pimp.

      • #2699560

        Invoice

        by ulatek ·

        In reply to Fine lines

        I am also asked quite often to support the home computers of our users. When it first started I could see this becoming an issue, and I tried to keep things on an “honor” type of system, where I would only fix home computers on my own time and then bill people very informally. That didn’t work. The third or fourth time, when threw out a general figure for payment I recieved three free cups of coffee as compensation. My time, as I know your is, is worth far more than that, so now I am very upfront with people. If the fix will directly benefit the company, I will do it on company time. If the fix is of a personal nature, I hand over an invoice. I tell people this ahead of time, and I try to bill as fairly as possible, for most repairs I charge a flat rate of $50 + parts. But, I never leave it open, I write up what I did, I have people sign off on the job, and I hand them a hard copy invoice so there are no questions. If they are unhappy with the price, they won’t ask again. I don’t know if this applies to your current situation, but I thought I’d throw it out there.

        Chuck

      • #2698931

        No Escape, but Excuses can make it little bit Escaped.

        by deepakd_fic ·

        In reply to Fine lines

        Hi All,
        In my previous jobs i worked at my managers home systems, but now days i dont work and generaly send someone to do it who charge them a good amount also. Once i have got a managers System to office network and that system was full of thousand of virus, which it spreaded to office network also, then i brought this news infront of the Managment as this happend, then they banned home computers to be connected to the office network and it worked me for not to work on home systems in office or home.
        On weekends i always deny to work in office or anywhere stating that i have some work that i cant disclosed.
        But if i get bored sometime at home on weekends or so i visit office and do some pending issues and tells management that i worked on weekend.
        One more good abilities of a network administrator is to tell management that we are work hard.

    • #2719324

      Personal monkey

      by snolette ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I’m not sure that it is completely legal.

      If the computers at home are their personal property, I’m not sure that you can be required to fix them as part of your job. Your job description should cover company assets, not personal property.

      You may have to support them for connection via a VPN or dial-up connection.

      With that being said, if you wanted to do it out of the goodness of your heart….

      • #2699589

        Home Monkey

        by coldbrew ·

        In reply to Personal monkey

        We had this situation come up. When I worked at a bank that was still small in size, the CEO wanted us to go out and install software and what not. So he merely had the bank buy him a computer that we could support at home. We always made sure someone of the same sex was around at home for liability reasons.

        You are in a sticky situation but your policies and job description should be limited to corporate equipment or dialup connections.

        Good Luck

        • #2699573

          The World is Your Oyster!

          by damianthex ·

          In reply to Home Monkey

          Being in a similar situation myself, I find that this setup is not actually that bad. Have you ever needed an extra fifteen minutes during the day to go to the dry-cleaners? Didn’t have time to catch breakfast before getting to work? Wanted to check out that better job down the street? Never have enough time for these things? Now you do! I’m not a slacker, but when I am asked to do things that seem like a mountain above and beyond my job duties, I have to ask myself “Is there anything in it for me?”. If the answer is yes then I consider it. Mileage (market value around here is .22/mile)? Comp time? Getting the opportunity to peek into the Execs’ personal lives (which can give you more insight on how to approach that raise you’ve been wanting)? Just having a few minutes to stop by the International House of Pancakes for some flapjacks? I think of these things as perks, but you need to look at all of the factors and make your own decision.

        • #2699511

          Somethings are just wrong…

          by infoseceng ·

          In reply to The World is Your Oyster!

          I agree with some of DamiantheX’s comments. You can get some perks. But I have to take issue with this statement:

          Getting the opportunity to peek into the Execs’ personal lives (which can give you more insight on how to approach that raise you’ve been wanting)

          That’s is wrong. If you don’t like the job, get out. The job sector is not so bad anymore. If you get bonuses, perks (legal and ethical), etc. from doing this, fine. But don’t fall into this trap of using it for personal gain in the way described here.

        • #2699413

          Degree of wrongness

          by cranss ·

          In reply to Somethings are just wrong…

          I agree, something on the verge of blackmail is definitely wrong (finding p 0rn on the PC for example), but if you happen to see some golf trophies, fishing trophies, etc. around the house, it gives you something to make small talk about at that next big meeting.

        • #2702877

          Blackmail is Wrong

          by josemurr ·

          In reply to Degree of wrongness

          I agree, blackmail is wrong but what do you do if you have to go to the company president’s house to fix his corporate pc and catch his son red handed using his father’s corporate pc to surf porno sites.

          Such was my case, I explained this to my supervisor and believe it or not he blew it off & told me never to talk about it again.

          This presented a major security issue here because the pc is directly connected to the corporate network thru a wireless vpn via a cable modem.

          Using blackmail is definitley wrong but if it violates security of the corporate network then it should be reported, but reported to the right person.

          Regards

          Joe

        • #2699055

          Job Market? Are you insane?

          by 69552901-69552901 ·

          In reply to Somethings are just wrong…

          I’m noticing a lot of comments suggesting the job market ‘isn’t so bad’. However, I live in Canada and I really must disagree. I have been out of an IT position for nearly two years, not for lack of trying. When I applied to one job, they literally laughed me out of the office. Perhaps it’s because I’m a woman, or perhaps it’s because I look very young, but that really isn’t the issue here.

          What the issue really is, by all standards, is how our original poster is being mistreated. I am currently working on a ‘helpdesk’ for a computer related company. We do ecommerce and such. They have also been changing my duties to include things I should not be doing, such as telemarketing. When I told them how I felt about this I was basically told ‘too bad for you’.

          I must agree with those that suggest you do exactly what they want. Make sure you document everything and take more time than that sort of job would normally take. If questioned, blame it on the fact that these are personal computers, not company computers. Then suggest they hire someone just to take care of them.

          In the meatime, hang in there! Hopefully we’ll be seeing you post soon to say something has changed.

        • #2699446

          Liabilities

          by nyuk-nyuk-nyuk ·

          In reply to Home Monkey

          Someone of the same sex at home with you is very sound advice. Never be alone with the attorney’s children. Never be alone period, so you won’t be accused of rape, child molestation, theft, malicious damage, leaking confidential data, etc.

          Be very uncomfortable about it. Tell the attorney’s you fear liability issues. It’s one thing to goof on a company computer system and lose your job, its another thing altogether to goof on a computer you have no control over and lose your job.

      • #2699555

        Legal issues?

        by is girl ·

        In reply to Personal monkey

        Being laywers, these guys may respond to the prospect of legal reprecussions.

        Since most home computers have unlicensed software on it, you could start budgeting for bringing these computer up to spec and into compliance.

        After all…if these computers are now your responsibility, you need to manage them the same way you do the corporate computers. This means they have to meet certain specs and only have legally licensed software installed? Doesn’t it?

        • #2699427

          OOH I like that!

          by rigmarol ·

          In reply to Legal issues?

          That’s a great idea.
          I can see it now,
          “Lawyers fire Computer professional for refusing to install and support illegal software.”

        • #2698655

          liability insurance

          by irritatedsquirrell ·

          In reply to OOH I like that!

          get your lawyer to draft a letter requesting sight of an extended employers liability insurance policy covering all employees homes prior to any visits. The costs of this and insurance implications should put them off!!

      • #2699074

        Personal monkey or Porch monkey??

        by luiggi ·

        In reply to Personal monkey

        I was employed at this company and they started doing this personal computer repair six months after I was there. First and formost These managers making six figure income tried to get computer repair or support for free. I had female managers tried to entice me to a home cook dinner for my services. I had other employees invite me to their home for drinks then escort me to their home office. I felt like I was some kind of “BOY” especially when I was around these good old boys here in Florida. I started to resent their “friendship”. I never started this come to my house and check out my computer BS. I just told them I was very tired and my eyes hurt from being on the computer all day. After awhile they stop asking me and I heard comments that I was not a team player. I knew it was time to find another job. I did and I feel alot better.

    • #2719322

      Personal monkey

      by snolette ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I’m not sure that it is completely legal.

      If the computers at home are their personal property, I’m not sure that you can be required to fix them as part of your job. Your job description should cover company assets, not personal property.

      You may have to support them for connection via a VPN or dial-up connection.

      With that being said, if you wanted to do it out of the goodness of your heart….

    • #2719309

      Can we call you Slave !

      by skipperusn ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      Lets see these junky lawyers partners that each make more money than you will see if 10 years of work (my cousins husbands a partner – make 7 figures) …

      And they can’t afford to call someone else – I would be out looking for a job – so fast that their heads would spin… Let them suck your butt as you walk out the door…. With your talent and skills – you shouldn’t have a problem …

      It appears they have no loyality to you – only to themselves – you need the same attitute… Tell them to take a hike – and find a good employement lawyer as well …

      As they say Lawyers are lower than Whale S.H.I.T. at the bottom of the ocean – What do you have when you got 50 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean – A good Start… Dirt Bags

    • #2719290

      Be polite, open negotiations under no uncertain terms

      by dmurawsky ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I used to work for a financial systems integrator and they had an interesting way of preventing this problem. They had the company purchase several machines to be set up as “work at home” systems. These systems were supported by the central support department and let the users have access to all work related information from home through a secure VPN. You support those systems, and those systems only. Policies can be set up to prevent local storage of information. That way when something goes bust because of Jr. all you need do is re-image the thing and all is good.. Other non-work related systems are out of your jurisdiction, period. They most likely do not pay you to support home machines, whether you are salaried or not.
      If the management committee says that they can require you to do this ask them, politely, where in your contract it says you have to support non-work-related machines. If they find a clause in the contract that says that specifically (and I mean that in the legalese sense of the word), well you signed it, good luck. Otherwise put forth the idea of a centrally controlled system like the one outlined above.
      If they still refuse to see things from your point of view and work to an alternative solution, consult a lawyer. If he says you?re in the clear, tell your employers that you flat out refuse. If they fire you, it sounds like you?ll be able to find a better job. If they don?t, you still may want to start looking as it sounds like they have little regard for you as a human being.
      Throughout this process, though, be polite and respectful, even if they don?t deserve it. Many problems can be avoided in this manner. It sounds like you tried it that way with the first guy and got screwed. Don?t stop being polite just because he was a jerk. Let everyone prove whether they are or aren?t. Confrontation is not a good way to start attempts at negotiation. Hopefully you?ll be able to come up with a nice solution to this dilemma. Let us know how it turns out.

      • #2719265

        I don’t know about that

        by skipperusn ·

        In reply to Be polite, open negotiations under no uncertain terms

        A lawyer once told me – once you show weakness they know you will back down … at some point.

        In an employement law class – taugh by one of these lawyer – he said go at them hard the first time out of the box… because thats what they are going to do –

        If you back down they got you – if you fight back they know its going to cost them money … then the figures come into play – where is the break even point – when is it cheaper to pay – than to fight.

        So he always said – if you go at them hard from the on set – you can always back away from that position and you look like the nice guy… I say go at them with both barrels blazing …

        • #2719596

          good lesson there

          by jinn ·

          In reply to I don’t know about that

          I gotta agree with Skipper on this. And not only does what he say apply to lawyers but just about anyone in any corporate business. I’m forcing myself to break out of the habit of backing down. When I first started working here I did all that stuff. Fixing the directors home pc’s, etc. Til’ a mate told me that my bosses aren’t doing me a favour by paying me. Instead its more I’m doing them a favour by providing them with my expertise.

          Things are changing slowly for me here, but it would have been so-ooo much better had I stood firm against that stuff from the start. They still will always try to get me to back down because I did it before.

      • #2699577

        be careful

        by lstone ·

        In reply to Be polite, open negotiations under no uncertain terms

        a lot of advice here but I would say if you don’t have a contract and the partners of the law firm are saying that it is your job to fix their home computers you may not have a choice short of looking else where. It’s not like a large corp or a govt employment where there may be laws to abide by on it. The money to pay you is coming from the partners of the firm and they can decide what they want you to do as long as it is not discrimatory, unlawful act or covered by contact. Don’t jump into any of this advice without considering what may happen to your job and weighting what is important to you. Look and think before you leap. Good Luck

        • #2699545

          Your attitude will determine the ending

          by tconway ·

          In reply to be careful

          If your skills are in demand in your area and you can easily find a job then you have many choices.

          On the positive, I like DamiantheX’s idea of this being an opportunity to get out of the office and having a little freedom to get that quick errand done.

          If you have a little bit of an evil side then playing these cats against one another would, at the very least, be entertaining. Imagine that you are out at partner A’s house fixing his personal computer when something happens at work that Partner B needs fixed right away; so he can file some ultra important legal brief that he sat on for 3 weeks until the last moment (but I digress). Well, gee Mr. B, I would love to help you but… I am at Mr. A holes house and it will be at least an hour before I can get back into the office to fix that?.sorry but you guys made it company policy!

          These guys will start fighting with each other faster and harder that Lance Armstrong rides a bike! Just sit back and watch the office politics implode!

          Of course that also depends on whether or not you are the only IT resource in the office.

          If however, you are looking for this job to build your resume then?your choices are less fun. Smile, do the dew, and keep that resume primed. Burning bridges is rarely recommended. You may need legal help one day and trading computer assistance for some legal advice can be a nice perk down the road.

          If you are just plain pissed then consult an employment attorney?preferably out of town. It’s a small world after all.

          Good Luck!

        • #2699422

          Trading services…. Hmmm….

          by rigmarol ·

          In reply to Your attitude will determine the ending

          Now here’s something; start sueing everybody and start asking these Legal dudes to give YOU some freebees! See how they like it.

    • #2718721

      Liability wavier

      by chuckyg ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      For my company, if their home system and network was not purchased and setup by the company, it is considered non-standard and best effort. My company does not want to take the resonsibility for repairing damages to their system or network if something goes wrong. Long ago we had to replace a newly made driveway for a manager when the tech’s car leaked oil on it. For company’s owned computer at home, we tell them that they need to bring it in to office to insure that we have close access to servers, software tools, etc. Have home visit require a liability wavier (if you can, have it require a senior level signature). Will they provide a company phone to recieve these calls? Will they provide a company car? If not, will they provide insurance while you drive to their home? After all, they are asking you to do these as a employee, not as a friend. If they do not provide these, how will you be reimburst for your own insurance and the wear and tear of your car. What level of support do they expect? Issues of software licenses and hardware replacement, who buys? The firm or the partner? Ethical question, what happens if you find questionable stuff on the computer? Will they have a special accounting for this if you do charge accounting? Do you have a job description when you got hired/promoted? If it is not listed, it is beyond the scope of what you initial sign up for. If they do allow calls, keep track of when and the length to use later. Too many and too long can keep you from doing your regular work.
      Bottom line: if it is going to cost the firm for this support, they will back away. You are an employee and such work must be business related.

      ChuckyG

      • #2700955

        Brilliant!

        by birch ·

        In reply to Liability wavier

        Chuckyg, this reply is very well thought out. As a network admin, I make it a point of not getting involved in home issues. Personally, I’m okay with being fired to avoid that issue, because I know the complications that can ensue.

        I believe you should use some of what Chuckyg gives here to help resolve the issue without risking your employment or even your standard of respect within the organization. These execs have probably not considered any of these issues and feel that if they are paying you, then they deserve this. But that is not the case, because they are not fully compensating you for what you are putting in. Like you said, I’m sure they can afford to pay someone proper to come in and fix their computers. And you can even explain to them that they would be benefitting the community by adding money back in to the local economy.

        Good Luck.

      • #2699312

        One Small Problem

        by super_it_mom ·

        In reply to Liability wavier

        Most every job description now includes the infamous line that states “Other duties as requested.” How do you get past that one?

        • #2713975

          Within reason

          by chuckyg ·

          In reply to One Small Problem

          It is assume to be within reason. An employee is not expected to perform unreasonable tasks or tasks that are immoral. Driving to a managers home may seems reasonable, it is the liability aspect that may back fire on the employer. If the worker somehow shorts out the power supply and the house burns down, do you think the company is free from resonsibilities? If he throws out his back while moving a computer (I seen this happen in my company), do you think the company wants a OSHA incident for a work related injury? Technically he is on company’s time and doing company’s work, even if it is a non-company owned computer at midnight on christmas eve. What the partners want may not be in the best interest for the firm.

      • #2713134

        Very well said

        by mrpjb ·

        In reply to Liability wavier

        You bring up several very important aspects. Well done!

    • #2718017

      You did not mention…

      by emj ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      how long you have been with the company, or if there are any other members of the IT department. Do you have a manager to go to bat for you, or are YOU it? I don’t see how, if you are salaried, that immediately qualifies you to go to someone’s home to work on their personal computer. I too have worked in a law firm, but luckily, I had an excellent boss who went to bat for me if anything came up that was unacceptable to me.

      The issue of personal computers did come up once…it’s an interesting story… This one attorney had a very irritating, immature, and yes, crazy daughter (she was one of those teens with a dark cloud over her head, typical spoiled brat in my eyes)…well, in order to make her happy, this attorney wanted my boss to set up one of our old computers for her. My boss, being the saint that he was, agreed, he put AOL on it, and a few games. Well, this daughter was impatient, among other things, and she barged into the MIS office, and almost barged into my bosses’ office while he was in the middle of a meeting (I was having none of her and stopped her dead in her tracks). I know that we gave her the computer, but that did not resolve her issues, as she returned to the office one day, locked herself in another attorney’s office, disconnected his computer, and threatened to throw it out the window. This was (finally?!) the last straw, and she was never allowed to set foot in the office again. I also had an attorney, who was very high up on the food chain, ask me for assistance in opening an attachment, that turned out to be a pornographic cartoon. I was PISSED because that is NOT what I was there to do, and I made a complaint. Nothing happened to me, and nothing seemed to have happened to this attorney. There was another attorney there who had gay porn on his computer, I think I mentioned that to my boss. This was all before sexual harrassment and porn on company computers became in vogue as office issues. I will tell you this, I don’t miss working as an IT professional in a law firm AT ALL. You are not respected for your knowledge, and are basically seen as part of the support staff who is there to do WHATEVER the attorneys want you to do. What is so ironic is that my boss left, my co-worker left, I left, all in a span of about 6 months and the law firm had to hire a brand new staff that had no history or knowledge of the firm what so ever. Needless to say, this firm is no longer in existence.

      I wish you all the best.

    • #2701400

      Here is my plan.

      by haileyan ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      Well I went on my first outing making sure to submit expense report for the milage. It was not to horrible as the partners wife was pretty hot. In an effort to establish some boundaries I did mention to his wife that I am available only 8-5 on business days to answer any questions she may have by email.

      Once I returned I spoke with my superior about auto insurance. I told her that I wanted to make sure that I am covered by the firm if I get in an accident on my way to or from a partners home. I stressed the fact that my insurance does not cover me using my vehicle for business purposes. They are postponing any future outings until they check on this. My guess is they wont want to spend the money if I am only doing this 2-3 times a month. I am trying to make them realize that me doing this type of service will cost them more $$ instead of thinking I am their salaried slave.

      Should they decide to get me insurance I may have to take a hike.

      Thank you all for your suggestions.

      • #2700980

        Insurance isn’t a gatekeeper for this

        by psyop1 ·

        In reply to Here is my plan.

        Your employer’s insurance will most likely cover you, so don’t be surprised if they come back and say they aren’t required to provide additional coverage for your automobile. *Your* insurance may not cover your vehicle, but theirs most likely will.

        I agree with EMJ’s comments about management: where is the manager who should be running interference for you? If there isn’t one, it’s time to sit down and negotiate your way out of this, because your staff, or if the staff is just you, doesn’t have enough hours in the day to solve problems from every vendor of hardware and software that walks in the door from someone’s house.

        Plus salaried or law firm makes no difference: the lawyers own the firm, not you. And don’t fall into the “other duties as assigned” trap either. I’ve worked for a law firm and, as most will say, it was a terrible experience, but not one that can’t be managed through clear and articulated policies and a steadfast position on those policies.

    • #2700979

      Contract of Employment

      by alpha2004 ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      When you where employed by the firm you should have been given a contract of employment which set out your duties. If this did not include fixing the partners home computers then the answer is obviously that they are seeking to change this and favourable terms, to you, can be negotiated.

      The snag is that the partners may do some of their work from home, in which case the home computers could be considered part of the work environment.

      • #2700974

        Employment Contract

        by oz_ollie ·

        In reply to Contract of Employment

        I agree – look at your employment contract/statement of duties. If it is not listed you are to support computers off site, personal home computers then you are able to open negotiations – go at these hard. Look at this as additional work and that you will need a company car, hours are during business hours only, negotiate priorities of work (onsite computers before off site, etc), state that any illegal software or data (includes porn, video, music, etc) will be immediately reported to police and hardware will be removed and delivered to authorities, ask for hardware and software to create base images for each home system and that this is the state they will be restored to (data on these systems is their responsibility) and look at a sizeable increase in salary – you are now supporting a multitude of non-standard systems.

        When this information is put to them you will find that you don’t have to look after the home systems.

        Good luck – but I’d be starting to look for a new job at the same time.

        • #2714606

          Oh for goodness sake…

          by garyq9 ·

          In reply to Employment Contract

          Do you enjoy your job?

          I work in 4 schools and have to support everything from a Compaq SAN array to a 14 year old monitor. Everything that comes across my desk is non-standard.

          I am paid a contract rate that I am happy with, my work environment and hours are flexible, and I get along well with my colleagues and the staff I support.

          If someone wants me to come out to their place to solve a tricky computer problem, I do so. If the School Principal (Managing Partner) agrees that the task is related to my employment, then I bill my time to the school. If it is purely personal, I let the person know my hourly rate and they pay me. Its simple.

          I am certainly not going to report porn to the Police or confiscate equipment because someone is running Kazaa on it. I’ll solve the problem to the best of my ability, collect my pay cheque and pay my mortgage. And I’ll smile while I’m doing it.

          If supporting PCs offsite is haileyan’s biggest issue at work, I think s/he is doing pretty well. You are there to provide a professional service. Provide it. Ask the partners to prioritise your tasks – if they value the running of Half Life on their home PCs more than they value the function of their mail server, who are you to argue? They are paying your wage.

          Enjoy your work – take the salary, and do what you can to accomodate people. You’ll stress less.

          GaryQ

      • #2699494

        No win

        by jcritch ·

        In reply to Contract of Employment

        Ouch, I do not know what state you live in, but document every conversation you have with them about this subject, date time who you spoke to and who was present. In Indiana, we have a employment at will state, which means you can be terminated at will also.

        Take the high ground and have them bring the machines into the office, as a female you can also plead being uncomfortable going to someone home. Tough situation. Keep in mind if they do dictate that you must go to their homes, as they consider that a extension of their office, you are then covered by workers compensation if you are injured, plus you should submit any mileage forms. You must receive this information in writing.

        Lawyers rely heavily on the written word, be firm in requesting that if you must travel to their homes, this mandate must be in writing.

        Good luck, and get that resume ready to go if this begins to become too much a burden.

    • #2700976

      If you were represented by a union, then you’d have some power

      by jeff@customerselects.com ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      1) It’s legal.

      2) But that don’t make it right – as you identified, there are some good, technical reasons why this isn’t such a bright idea.

      There ought to be a policy in the office about using corporate resources for personal use. Your time and talents are a corporate resource. Now, if the corporate policy is that corporate resources can be used on a “non-interferencea” basis, then you can do their personal work during the slow times. If they expect you to drive to their home, then they ought to reimburse you for milage – they are attorneys and they ought to understand this.

      Failing all of that, may I suggest that you join a union? Consider, for example, WashTech, at http://www.washtech.org. If you and your peers organize, then you’d have some power in your corner.

      • #2700963

        Aren’t Unions Ilegal in USA ?

        by tomhass ·

        In reply to If you were represented by a union, then you’d have some power

        I thought in US that anything promoting workers rights was illegal or something ? – this would be in line with the the US government case to spread “democracy” around the world 😉

        • #2712787

          Funny you should mention that…

          by jeff@customerselects.com ·

          In reply to Aren’t Unions Ilegal in USA ?

          I had a visit from the local police department on this very subject. I asked them to answer one question before they got out the billy clubs… are you happy with what the city did to your vacation rules? They all kinda looked at one another and said “Uh, no…”.

          So I explained to them about the Bush administration and the Department of Labor, etc. An hour later, we were sitting around, drinking root beer and discussing the principles of representative democracy.

          So, cops are just like everybody else, if you are nice to them and empathize with their troubles, you can accomplish just about anything.

        • #2713129

          curious though?

          by husp1 ·

          In reply to Aren’t Unions Ilegal in USA ?

          have you thought that these lawyers are exploiting you on the chance that you may never question their ethics? perhaps the people that choose to use you beyond your perveiw should think of the legal rammifications as well! check with a lawyer that deals with labor issues. ( not assosiated with your firm) you may find that these guys are not working for your best intrest but only for themselves and you should put them in the hot seat for a change. and remember that if you are dissmissed for not serviceing their home systems then you might have a ligitment case agenst them in court. but in any event ,would you still want to work for these people after it’s all said and done? if they don’t resect youir rights as an employiee then how can you expect them to resect your judgement on work related issues. Remember It’s only good as long as you agree with me attitudes can only bring heartbreak and misery. perhaps a new position would be worth investigating?

      • #2699475

        How big are your B&*&s or Guts

        by jimhm ·

        In reply to If you were represented by a union, then you’d have some power

        When it come down to it – When faced with people like these law partners – is how big of ba**s or Guts you got to stand up against them..

        No Ba**s 🙁 – then guess what you will be abused at ever turn – that is what these heartless bastards at taught is school..

        Big Ba&*s :O – then you can only die once – but they know they are wrong and would lose in court – so guess what – they would leave it .. or pay you to do the work…

        All comes down to – Who’s Got Bigger Ba*(s the old man pissing contest – and women – can even be nastier – 😉 –

        As they say a coward dies a thousand times before tasting death – a brave man tastes death but once… same with abuse –

    • #2700973

      No pain = No gain !

      by info ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      Its now my 10th year in the IT sector. I have worked in many fortune500 companies. Here is the sad answer: You are on the payroll. They are stronger than you. They can force you to even set up a server upsidedown in the gents toilets..

      Although it seems ugly and nasty, if you have no other option than quitting, you will have to do what they want.

      They have the power to modify your shores. I hate it too, but C’est la vie…

      • #2700970

        Reply To: Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

        by leyther ·

        In reply to No pain = No gain !

        It doesnt matter if you’re on the payroll or not. Its obvious that the guy that wanted the home computer fix in the first place got pissed off that he was refused so he went to the board and got them to agree with his request. Unless it states in his contract that part of his work is to fix home pcs then he doesnt have to, regardless of who wants the help; if they want to change that contract they’ll have to negotiate. IF he wants to fix those pcs on his own time then he should hike up his charges and agree, otherwise refuse (unless he wants to continue to do it during work hours). But regardless of what happens he’s being taken of advantage of by people who dont see any wrong in what their doing; they just want a personal fixer at their beck and call. Look elsewhere for work, its guaranteed you’ll be taken advantage of again in the future.

    • #2700972

      A Lose-Lose Situation

      by kkrenick ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      It’s time to develop a policy about this with the senior partner of the law firm. Understand going in, that you may very well have to find a new employer in the long run- but if you share your concerns with the senior partner about the time and resources that taking care of junior partners’ PCs will drain from the firm’s bottom line, you might be able to establish guidelines for taking care of the PCs, while not being put into the embarrassing position that you find yourself in now. However, if taking care oh home PCs is the goal of the firm- you’ll either have to comply or find a more humane work environment for yourself.

      • #2699532

        legalities and unemployment

        by dghaus ·

        In reply to A Lose-Lose Situation

        If you were to go to unemployment after losing
        your job for whatever reason, what would be
        the address of your employer? I’m sure it
        would be the firms and not the 17 or 57
        houses your bosses live at. How does that
        affect the legality of this situation? Would you
        lose some compensation because you didn’t
        perform 40 hours a week at the designated
        business address?

        Maybe the best thing to do is have a senior
        partner(s) read this whole discussion, I’m
        sure they would see the consensus here is
        that you are being treated unfairly. Good luck
        to you.

    • #2700966

      Dedicated work equipment and users only

      by matt.rushworth ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      If I were in your situation I would suggest that within work hours you would be delighted to support any equipment/machines /users that were used for 100percent work related work. You would maintain equipment with software installed and licenced by the company itself, but that you would not be prepared to work outside this remit, as other 100 percent work related work would always take presidence. Any external user or non standard software would require unquantifyable support that would stand in the way of company development and make unreasonable use of company resources.
      If you do believe that the increased workload would be overly timeconsuming, that is what I would suggest, but it is up to you.

      Matty

    • #2700962

      Total BS!!!!!

      by rjfolger ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      That is totally BS. You weren’t hired to do that. Personal computers are their responsibility. I had worked at a college where the faculty expected this. Finally I just started quoting them a high hourly rate and they stopped bugging me.

      • #2699305

        I agree

        by racard ·

        In reply to Total BS!!!!!

        You were hired to perform tasks for the company, not for individuals. I bet that this task is not in your job description. If management is serious about using you as a house-call tech, charge at least $50/hour (at least the rate of your local home PC repair shops). If the individual refuse to pay you, then charge your employer. Someone has to pay for your services. Don’t let them force you to perform an extra task for no pay. DEMAND MORE MONEY!!!! Besides, do you really have free time to work on home PC during your non-working hours?

        • #2714586

          That is the distinsction…

          by garyq9 ·

          In reply to I agree

          Are we talking about Home PC repairs during the 9 – 5 working hours, or outside of those hours?

          Any work carried out after the contracted hours is subject to extra compensation over and above the salary package – whether that be in cash, time in lieu etc.

          However, I think its too easy to slip into the ‘Network Admin is God’ mentality that such things as helping out your employer with non-mission critical stuff is beneath you.

          If my employer wants to pay me $75,000 p/a to wash all the cars in the staff car park, I’m going to joyfully fill my bucket with warm soapy water.

          As it is, the ‘Network Admin’ in a high school does everything from configuring security on Cisco routers to replacing stolen mouse balls. The requirement of the job is to keep PEOPLE happy – which entails keeping the equipment they pay you to maintain working.

          Get over it – a PC is a PC, wherever it lives. I’d rather work in a place where the people responsible for paying my wage (and remember, every expense in a Partnership Law firm comes from the partner’s own pocket) are happy that I am willing to go the extra mile to solve their problems.

          GaryQ

    • #2700961

      Turn it to your advantage

      by afhavemann9 ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      If the company pay the bill, you get to haul the freight, that?s the way it often is. In defense of this practice, I have established a policy of providing support to home systems where the home user connects to the office network. This allows me to at least verify that the machine has an up to date AV – with auto update of the sig files and that it has a firewall up and running. At least this gives me a shot at protecting my network, and after you?ve seen some of those home systems and what?s on them, you?ll be glad you got a shot at securing them.

      This policy hasn?t been all that easy to implement since I will only provide this support where the home user surrenders access to the administrator account. I also lock down the firewall with a password which I do not give out. VNC (not running) is installed so remote support is possible. I will provide some out of hours support where the need is essential and business related.

      This policy is a two edged sword since it royally ticks off the home users because the firewall lock prevents most gaming and blocks nearly any install from functioning without my ntervention. On the plus side, it secures my network to a much greater degree.

      In your situation though, if they pay you and that?s company policy, it?s legal and your going to have to go along with it or move on. If those users connect to the office network however, I?d be sure to implement a similar policy to the above. If they (the management) refuse to allow you to lock down home users that connect to the office network, I?d get it in writing or at least pass lots of emails back and forth to document your position in the event there is a penetration of your network as a result of a home user connection. It can save your job and give you leverage later if it become necessary. Print and save all the emails.

      How to turn this to your advantage.

      Hold a meeting, explain all the dangers of an unsecured system accessing the office lan and detail how you plan to lock down the home systems if you are directed to provide home support.

      Do it nicely, in a professional manner, spend extra time outlining the danger of being hacked or how network data could be stolen or damaged and how much it could cost to recover if you don?t lock down these systems. Explain that home systems will be limited in functionality after you?ve paid a visit. Give out a brief document and formally introduce it (cover you?re ass).

      Almost certainly, if you?ve presented it forcefully and professionally, the most likely result is that the company will sign off on it [the policy] and no one, no one in the company will want you near their computers if you were the only person on earth that could possibly fix it.

      My situation was very similar to yours and rather than fight it, I formalized the policy, got management to sign off on it be explaining the danger to the company (in writing), then made everyone in the company aware of it by both email and in a memo. Since then, I?ve only had two additional home visits, and those were completely justified because both had serious health problems preventing them from coming to the office.

      No one else want?s me even near their computer, ever!.

      Al

      • #2700958

        IT Policy

        by roughequipment ·

        In reply to Turn it to your advantage

        I agree, they just opened up their computers for inspection. If you have a Terms of Use Policy in effect for everyone, then it’s not just a piece of paper that looks spiffy, use it! Make sure their home computers are licensed, have no illegal software, mp3s, etc. I would really lock down the machines too, so that Bobby Jr. can’t download the spy ware and such. If it?s a business computer, AOL Instant Messenger (in my experience secretaries are notorious for using this chat program near nonstop) should be removed because it has nothing to do with business.

    • #2700956

      Home PC work

      by dholt ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I see 2 problems here…one is that you would be perceived as the monkey & this could also be a potential conflict of interest, which ultimately could be grounds for your dismissal if you did not cooperate. If you think you could squeeze this in during regular working hours without causing regular work performance issues, then maybe it would work. The second issue is that if you started this home PC service off the clock, you should charge these people for your time, but again, this could be a potential cause for dismissal (conflict of interest), especially if you ticked someone off. So I siggest you steer clear of this altogether – suggest they call another home PC repair service…

    • #2700954

      Standard Rate of Pay

      by poobah ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      We also have incalls, and value them at $85.00/hour diagnostic. It’s an additional source of income for the department, and a seperate job description.

    • #2700951

      Set Some Limits

      by djf ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I am also a law firm IT manager and have been asked to fix co-worker’s and partner’s home computers and laptops. My rule is, they bring it in to the office and I fix it at a time of my choosing. I would not travel to individual homes — you might as well start your own business if you’re going to do that. I have found that people are more appreciative when you set some limits.

    • #2699590

      Depends on how often

      by ladylan ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I have been the IT person at my insurance agency for several years. There are a number of people who connect to the office from home. I have let those know exactly what they have to have on their home computers and have had no problems with compliance. There have veen a couple of times I’ve had to go to an employees home to help and a couple of times that an owner has brought in his home computer for me to work on. But nobody tries to take advantage of me. I think that if your employer values you at all you won’t be put in the position you describe. If they don’t you will be used and it is time to move on. There are too many businesses that need and value what we do to have to put up with slavery to owners with an overblown opinion of themselves.

    • #2699587

      Hey, it’s a living, chattle slave and all.

      by rmuldavin ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      Really, humor aside, we are the time machines around which culture revolves.Goal, get “home bodies” to connect through web to learn computer skills.

      “You were there, 414 BCE, …” (taken from old radio show where oral stories placed listeners into historical moments of interests.)

      Euripides (486-406 BCE)playwrite (now an acknowledged genius [do google: <>]near the end of the “Golden Age” of democracy Athens was fighting Spartans on hilly plains of “townships” of Arcadia, in the central part of Pelopennesia,Greece, separated from Greece’s northen mainland, with Athens, Attica to the north east across a sea, to the east, he Agean Sea.

      Attica being a very sparce place,it appears that the affluent setled in Arcadia protected by land from the ships and the controls they offered (Athens about 100 ships, other coastal townships less).

      Enter Spartans, Sparta to the south east of Arcaida, Spart, a society that trained their males from age seven to thirty in barrack style to be warriors, but where only one seventh of the population, the 6/7 being “helots”, endentured slaves, captured “others”. See Donald Kagan “The Oeloponnesian War” Vicking (2003)pp511.

      So, Athenian playwrites were also ambassadors during the Golden Age, that’s you now, into Spartan homes (corporate wealthy), so you got a chance to really liberate these Spartannized corporate, actually slaves too, into the www, the vast pool of nerds pecking away across the airwares, essentially doing the escape from the “sparce” rocky hils of Attica.

      Kept the faith, brothers and sisters.

      Best, rmuldavin@aol.com, the spirit of euripides lives, and he is us.

    • #2699583

      Business Only!

      by delosky ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      During business hours for a business related machine. If it’s a machine that they need to do corporate work on and they’re having problems opening email or the likes, then during business hours I would think that I would be obligated to work on the machine (while also getting compensated for gas mileage, etc…) I agree with a previous post that if it’s for someone’s kid and they’re having problems with Kazaa, they’re only wasting your time as well as the company’s money.

    • #2699581

      Job description

      by aosborne ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      As a 50% owner of a small company with about 35 employees, I can give you my opinion from the “bosses perspective”.
      It really depends on what your job description is. This usually falls under the “other duties as assigned” clause of your job description. When you accept a job or change roles, be sure to clearly understand what your role is, and is not.
      As a business manager/principle, I think it is grossly irresponsible to have valuable IT staff doing personal PC repair. It’s paramount to abusing company resources. It can send a clear signal to employees that misuse of company resources is ok for certain people. There are always countless projects that valuable IT staff can be working on to benefit the company.
      Also, many people just don’t realize that they are asking you to perform a task degrading to you, because they truly don’t understand the mysteries of the IT world and the role of those that work in IT related jobs. I would never ask someone to do something degrading to them (like fetch me coffee, or wash my car), unless it was in their job description. But I may ask someone to perform a task that I thought was reasonable, only to find that they found it degrading or a waste of their talent. They may not tell me directly, since I’m the boss. You should have a serious and firm discussion with your manager and be sure your value, role, goals, and ambitions are clearly defined, understood, and agreed upon. Once they realize your value, you’ll find that everyone will agree that you have much more important things to do than “monkey tasks”.

    • #2699578

      Legal, Maybe – Ethical, No Way

      by bouleys ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      If the room and its contents belong to the Company, (not the Individual) then I would say it’s probably legal (IRS). But to make it fair, there would have to be compensation for late hours transportation etc… If there is no cost involved, whether personal or corporate, you will be taken advantage of. The ethics and morals in this situation are another thing alltogether. I get the idea that they consider it a perk. How would they feel if they had to provide the employees legal counsel at the same frequency.

      I provide home PC support for my users but only if they can bring it to work. If I have to take my own time, I charge.

    • #2699576

      Time to look for a new job…

      by scottmon ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      …if the managing partners think this little of you and your time. It’ll only get worse in the future.

    • #2699575

      It’s Extra Money for you…if

      by nxt1hd ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I have the same type of issue..however I do NOT look at the computers at work, I do it on my own time and I charge for it ($30-$50/per hr) and I like that! So you can make it work providing you don’t mind spending the extra “home time”. Good Luck.

      • #2699569

        Except it’s not extra money…

        by johnmcgrew ·

        In reply to It’s Extra Money for you…if

        …since his employers expect him to do this as part of his job, in addition to his existing IT duties.

        • #2699507

          in this case..true

          by nxt1hd ·

          In reply to Except it’s not extra money…

          yes..your right, in this case. If they demand that he do it on work time with no extra pay, I know that If it were me I would have many problems with that.

    • #2699561

      Been There … Done That …

      by james.ctr.borges ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      This situation that you’re in is not too uncommon. I’ve been in that situation at one time or another. But the only difference is, that they paid me extra for doing that. But remember, once you commit to fixing their computers at home, you’ll be on-call constantly and that if anything comes up in the future, they’ll say that it was working before you touched it. It’s the typical user answer to cover up that they screwed it up.
      But set boundaries and guidelines. Never go to their homes after hours. Negotiate a salary increase to include “house calls”. Do forget to include mileage and food allowances if you work through lunch or dinner.

      In any case, go luck to you.

      Aloha,
      Jim

    • #2699554

      Accept the reality, and empower yourself!

      by johnmcgrew ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      My suggestion: Psycologically empower yourself.

      First, accept that you may be loosing your job over this and be prepared for that. Life is too short for jobs where you are not respected for what you do. If that is the case with this job, then you are better off elsewhere.

      Once you’ve done that, the following will be easy, and will perhaps make the rest of your job more enjoyable. I don’t know what you are making, but I’m pretty sure it’s not going to justify more than 40 hours a week with off-site grunt work thrown in. So only do such work during business hours. Make that clear to your employers. After 5pm and weekends? Forget it! Unless, perhaps, that means it’s in exchange for time off during the week. These clowns understand billing by the hour. They should be able to understand paying by the hour as well.

      Someone else here mentioned making the most of off-site work. Let it become a kind of flex-time for you. Have leisurly meals out. Integrate errands that would otherwise suck up your evenings and weekends. Enjoy it. Oh, and charge for the mileage too.

      Savor the moment when you are at some guys house purging the spyware their kids loaded up when the office calls with a crisis. “I’m sorry, but I’m here at so-and-so’s house cleaning up after the kids. Too bad you’re going to miss a deadline because I was here instead of there.” A few instances of that may make for changes in your favor.

      The cool thing about America is that for the most part, you can only become a slave if you allow yourself to be one. Make this work for you, or find better work elsewhere.

      • #2699505

        Take advantage of the situation….

        by is girl ·

        In reply to Accept the reality, and empower yourself!

        I am having visions of you showing up and the lawyers house, dismantling the computer, needing to run out for parts, shopping a little for yourself or running some errands, having lunch (which you should definitely expense), getting back to laywers house around 3, tinkering around for an hour and a half, and leaving for home a bit early with the computer still inoperable.

        The next day, you will have to stop in the office to see what you missed the day before….so maybe you won’t get back to the home computer that day – or maybe you will leave at lunch, take a leisurely drive, stopping for lunch on the way, running an errand or two, then showing up to reassemble the computer.

        You leave the computer completely locked down so that the kid can’t reinstall the garbage that has caused the problem, so the kid is whining to Dad by the time they arrive home from work.

        Now, the laywers have to decide that you aren’t required full time to work on the office computers, who has to reimburse your miles and who pays for lunch and parts and if you have to make the computer work the way Jr. wants it to.

        In no time at all, you will either learn to look forward to your screw off days of house calls or they will abolish the practice.

      • #2699501

        empower yourself

        by sweetlil66 ·

        In reply to Accept the reality, and empower yourself!

        As I remember, the original poster stated that they agreed the “home” work would be done during normal business hours. That means, being paid your regular salary to drive whereever. Most driving jobs won’t cover my salary, I can be out with the windows down, radio blasting…cold drink I stopped by for in hand…. I haven’t been asked to go to anyone’s house for PC repair, but LOVE it when I have to go company shopping. It’s a long lunch on them!

    • #2699553

      We’re all a bunch of monkeys

      by leonard j rivera sr. ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      Ooo Ahh Ahhh Ooooo! We’re all a bunch of monkeys unless of course it’s our own business we;re runng, but then we wouldn’t have this issue would we. Some of us are Chimps, some silver backs, but all answer to someone and get into political messes like this.

      My advise is to not offer resistance but comply with all the pride you put into the rest of your duties. Monkey want a banana? Then don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

      If their home systems are used for even a minor portion of their work, then technically, it is business related. Handle like any other project. Do an initial analysis of HW and Software and configs (security). Put together a proposal of work to be done (as recommended by you and why). Yes, all of this will take prescious time away from the criticle business functions and you need to let them know this. In the end your proposal should outline the current situation, the work that needs to be done and the “TIME” it will take to do it.

      Then you can recommend a 3 hour class they can take to teach them how to maintain their own home systems.

      Or you can recommend they hire a help desk tech for remote systems.

      Let them choose. If your happy with your job and the ones you work for (you sound like you are and you sound as if you take pride in what you do, like most of us) then why worry if a function is beneath you? Sounds like child’s play, a good break for ya. They will love you for it.

      Looking for another job is always a choice you can make. I don’t see anything wrong with the request. Do what you do best and utilize all your best skills.

      You can even go as far as taking Admins rights away, treat their home computers as you do the office machines, especially if you are going to be responsible for them. All of this needs to be in your proposal to them. And don’t forget warrenty warnings, if any of these systems are under warrenty it is ill advised to do any work to them.

      That’s it, back to monkey business for me ***picks nose, flings at on lookers, climbs tree, banana in hand***

    • #2699551

      Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      by mtbeaver ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      You may want to check your state laws. Where I’m at, we have “at-will” people, everyone with no contract, who can be asked to take out the garbage for the boss at home. Document everything Date – Time – miles – what was done – what was said (cover your own . . .).

    • #2699550

      You are expendable anyway

      by too old for it ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I spent 10+ years as a paralegal, and as the only male paralegal at most firms, I discovered quite a number of quirks that the average “Larry the Lawyer” has.

      1) Lawyers are cheap. Even more so if they make the big money.

      2) They pick thier staff like they pick their mistresses.

      3) You are expendable if you desire to make more than $10 an hour.

      4) (For guys) unless you look damn fine in a mini-skirt, you can be replaced tomorrow.

      In the case of a network admin, you realize that your job can be done in Bangalore for 10 rupees an hour, so you should feel grateful they let you fix their home machines.

      Only way I work for lawyers is on a “time and materials” project basis under written contract with a very hefty change notice fee involved.

    • #2699540

      Stand Your Ground

      by ramnet9 ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I believe that it is everyone’s right to a private life outside of working hours.That means only you choose who to let into that space and under what terms and conditions. You are absolutely morally and I suspect legally entitled to stand your ground and say No. However if the firm’s senior management insist on bringing their own personal home based PC’s into work then it might be difficult to say No. Obviously management have decided that their own home computing needs have either an equal or greater priority than the business and I think you are obliged to remind them that the daily workloads are such that attending to their private needs will require you to re adjust business needs and that may mean some urgent business tasks go on the back burner. Are they going to agree with that and if so put it in writing so you have something to hang your hat on. Also in fixing any private PC ownership of any subsequent problems rests with the business not you personally and you will not be fending calls after hours for anyone .. period.

      If they try to fire you for that two things :-

      1. They would lose any court case for wrongful dismissal

      2. You’d be better off somewhere else.

      A better strategy might be to befriend some of the senior managers you can trust and make it clear you are not happy with the proposal , why you feel like that i.e its not personal or being lazy and offer them an alternative. i.e work out what it costs them in your time say $5,000 p.a get them to allocate that budget to you to manage and you go out and find a local support shop nearby that will do this work for you.

      Best of Luck .. glad I work for myself .. I do not eny how corporates treat people these days.

      • #3276611

        Work for Yourself…

        by now left tr ·

        In reply to Stand Your Ground

        yet an IT Department Manager?

        Does not add up ramnet@
        Windows 2003 Server????

    • #2699537

      Caveat redintegror (repairman beware)

      by mitchlr ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      In an environment where executive arrogance has become the rule rather than the exception, and twisters of wire and turners of screws like ourselves are looked at as replacable parts, one thing that is often overlooked is the liability issue.
      Any company ought to have a strict “No Home PCs” policy, as when a technician touches a PC he or she inherits the blame for all the problems the PC has.

      The general problem analysis of users relies on the post hoc ergo propter hoc (after this, therefore because of this) fallacy: This problem occurred after my personal PC monkey touched it, therefore the problem occured BECAUSE of what the monkey did.

      I would think this would be especially risky when dealing with people who make their living as professional litigators, whose stock in trade is putting forth arguments that are logically fallacious but emotionally appealing.

      When execs at our company ask me if I’ll look at PCs, I tell them I’ll be happy to — for a charge of $75 per hour with a two hour minimum and with a signed disclaimer that I am not responsible for any previously existing problems with the PC.

      As I was having Thanksgiving dinner with a pilot, he asked me to help him with his computer. After three hours of trying to get his wholly inadequate piece of junk working (and it was working when I was done!) I asked him if it was okay if I asked him to fly me around for three hours sometime on his day off. He answered, “I don’t think so!” But I guess he got the point. It’s been four years and he hasn’t asked me to work on his computer again.

      In your case, perhaps you’re the only techie around the lawyers — in larger companies, execs won’t have a problem finding someone among their entourage of sycophants and corporate climbers looking for an opportunity to bootlick and curry favor. There is no shortage of character deficited individuals willing to eat several yards of crap for the opportunity to kiss an executive behind — generally though these are people whose ‘soft’ skills (office intrigue, back-stabbing, taking credit for others’ work, etc.) outweigh their hard skills (like making systems work.) They may wind up coming to you after brown-nose messes things up.

      That’s my rant for today. Ahh, I feel so much better!

      — Dex

    • #2699530

      Reply To: Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      by jpeaker ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      If you make all the partners happy and take care of their home equipment, come raise time will you be rewarded????

    • #2699527

      In the same boat

      by jaredh ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I am in the same boat for a School District. We have to go to Board members homes and support equipment. The catch for us is that we only support equipment that was purchased by the District. So any home system, broadband or other wise, they are on their own. But, because District equimpment still has to be on their home network, we end up doing a little broadband troubleshooting and training to get their laptops to work in both enviornments.

      A real pain, but so far not too bad….yet!

    • #2699525

      What does the contract say?

      by phil.gillett ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      Who’s your Supervisor? Are you negotiating a salary raise to take on the responsibility that they deem desirable?
      Make sure that the contract is revised and a suitable accomodation is met – where this is to be done and at what times (your personal time is your personal time), and pay scale progresses because of this.
      Just because you are a salary employee does NOT mean that they own you.

    • #2699522

      Mileage & Licenced Software

      by techytype ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      You are screwed. Present a bill for mileage to the accounting department, both to and from, when you go to someones home for “service.” Require all systems you work on meet company policy regarding installed software being properly licenced. Work only during business hours, or take time off at 1.5 rate in lieu of compensation. And the most important detail: Actively look for another job! This situation is going to get worse and you are going to be made the scapegoat for a crashed system.

    • #2699519

      Work comes first — always

      by ribert ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I run IT administration at a small, close-knit company. Occasionally, I get requests regarding home computers from the employees and my supervisors. While I’m happy to point them in the direction of additional help, I make sure they know that my efforts are directed toward maintaining the company’s capabilities.

      This should be the path you should follow. You were employed to maintain the firm’s computer capabilities. That should be the primary priority and one that should be emphasized to the partners. Any additional non-work items may be handled in slack times during business hours.

      Unless your employment agreement/contract calls for 24/7 access, you are entitled to your own time. If they continue to demand personal service in preference to supporting the firm’s IT capabilities, you may want to see about going elsewhere.

      This is especially true if they use home systems to work on their materials. Unless they have the same level of security as at the office, they are letting themselves open for deliberate or inadvertent exposure of potentially sensitive information. You should point out that you cannot guarantee continued security for those systems that are not directly under your supervision. Unfortunately, even reasoned argument will not sway those who feel they have status that they do want to give up.

    • #2699516

      This is disturbing!

      by nope9876543210 ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I am disturbed by the tone of the original question and the vast bulk of the responses I’ve read here.

      Now let me get this straight: “I am a network administrator for a large law firm…” Do they pay you to work there or is it volunteer work? Working with the assumption that you’re paid, let’s look at what that salary does. You’ve agreed to work for this firm and exchange your time and talents for money. During your work hours, you don’t own the time that you’re spending. The firm does. It’s bought and paid for.

      It seems to me that unless you have a contract that specifically states your sole responsibilities to the exclusion of all other duties is to be in the office, or if they’re asking you to do something illegal, then you shouldn’t much care what the details of the job are.

      You took this job reasonably expecting to work inside the office all day. But you also took this job expecting to work on computers. What is the real problem with an occasional run to an owner’s house during regular business hours to work on a computer? If you’re paid mileage in addition to your regular salary, aren’t you being fairly compensated? It’s not like they’ve thrown cleaning the toilets into your job description. Even if they had, are you too good to do a distasteful job every now and then?

      Further, I firmly believe that you should give your employer a full serving, heaped over, of effort for your pay. In other words, do more than you’re paid for. Be more valuable than your salary indicates. You can reasonably expect your salary to increase in recognition of your efforts at some point. Don’t sit around, telling them what you won’t do until you receive more money. That’s expecting a reward before you give the value to your employers. That’s just not reasonable, even though it’s the prevalent attitude in most of these posts.

      With all that said, I believe that if the support these people need at home escalates past an occasional problem they will see you for what you are, a valuable corporate resource that is needed at the office. You know what will happen; one or two guys will take the lion’s share of your time and the rest of them will finally decide it was a bad idea to use you this way and pull the plug on the whole idea. In the mean time, you’ve shown that you’re a team player and can be counted on to try to contribute to the success of the business that pays your salary and keeps your family fed. How can that be a bad thing for you?

      I’m sure I’ve stepped on something in excess of 1000 toes here. Just keep the flames on the board and don’t bother me at work. I’m trying to contribute to the good of my employer.

      • #2699506

        Yes, it is disturbing

        by techytype ·

        In reply to This is disturbing!

        But not for the reasons you outline. Some of the posts are, as you note, not very realistic, but most of the response identifies the invasion into personal time/space and a unwillingness to fairly compensate for work requested. Those people (including myself) posting on this item have usually experienced similar situations. Bad situations get worse, not better, when emotion and egos rule instead of business logic. That is clearly the case here.

      • #2699489

        If I were to agree to work on other computers…

        by is girl ·

        In reply to This is disturbing!

        I have been requested to work on my bosses home computer, a wireless network with 4 computers, two belong to teenagers, my bosses wife’s (a doctor) office computers, her phone system, etc…and always refused.

        The reason I draw the line is because my boss already feels entitled to call me after hours and on weekends for the smalles work related issue and if I worked on his home and wife’s office computers, I can rest assured that I would recieve calls after hours and on weekends about them too.

        The truth is that if I was off working at the wife’s office fixing her network and come back to find out that something has gone wrong at my “real” job, I would be fixing that network after hours and on weekends.

        Salaried employees have rights too…..stand up for them.

      • #2699486

        Correct

        by lgarner ·

        In reply to This is disturbing!

        Most replies, intentionally or otherwise, seem to say “not my job.” After-hours work are often required of a network admin, on-site or off. If the company directs you to fix home computers, then so be it. Lawyers are notorious for working at home on business issues, so these are necessary business systems.

        It should go without saying (though many posts indicate otherwise) that any expenses are to be reimbursed. As to liability, are you personally liable for problems with corporate systems? The company generally assumes liability for non-criminal behaviour, even becoming partly liable for traffic accidents that you might get into on your way to an exec’s house.

        As to workload, you have to determine what you’ll put up with. I’d probably priortize tasks so that the exec would decide it’s faster & easier to bring in the computer. I just might not be sitting waiting for a call all night. If I’m working late at someone’s house then I won’t be in bright and early the next morning. If the workload expands such that home systems aren’t being maintained, then they’ll need to get another person or outsource the home stuff.

        Even if the company wants to put home maintenance above the corporate systems, that is their option. The partners are the owners of the company, after all.

      • #2699303

        Contributing to the…

        by bkwade ·

        In reply to This is disturbing!

        …good of your employer? Through spending time writing a message here? I fail to see how that’s possible.

        Anyway, I have been there and hated it. I have seen people become the company monkey-boy (or girl) more often than not from this sort of thing. When it happened to me during regular work hours, I didn’t really care. What frosted parts of my anatomy were the weekend, holiday, and night calls I got because the boss’s kids had stuffed the home network full of malware/worms/viruses (again) to the point where it was causing his Internet connection to become “unacceptably slow.” I am not kidding. Not doing any company-related work, he just couldn’t get to a friggin website fast enough so he made the call. To this day I still go to shakes over that.

        I am aware that there are many programs that solve those issues, but the problem lies in getting the users to follow a directive when you have no real administrative control over their actions. And don’t you dare dream of secretly locking a few things down because all that means is another trip back to unlock them when Kazaa fails to connect.

        Further, I fail to see where salary makes a bit of difference in this situation. Just because you employ me does not mean I must be at your beck and call during non-office hours. If you really do believe that, however, I’ll hold a position open for you! Along those same lines, what if I were on an hourly wage? Would that give me any more rights? As a matter of fact, it might behoove me to spend more time on the company clock if that were the case.

        Method of payment is really a red herring argument at best. Unless it makes your situation easier to swallow when you flavor it with BS like that. Personally, I can’t stand the taste.

        The downside of all this is that in my local market, it is hard to say no to what is basically unpaid home support when you see IT people getting laid off all around you. We are a fire-at-will state with most IT opportunities being petroleum-related making them “bouncy” and subject to immediate termination or outsourcing. That made it easier to suck up a few house calls. Well, that and his daughter was a hot little mama! Whoooooo!

        Now that I have vented, I have to admit I have no useful advice for people in this situation beyond looking at your local opportunities to see how much power you may be able to bring to bear in a meeting. Good luck.

        BW

      • #2699219

        Preach it brother

        by mstoumba ·

        In reply to This is disturbing!

        I’m with ya. If a company want’s me to play with computers ( “what they pay me to do” ) on the moon durning business hrs or whatever I’m there.
        Read my post above

    • #2699514

      Same thing here

      by cdl0002 ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I try to make the employees bring their computers. If for some reason they cannot or if they need something like DSL set up at home then I charge one of the following: A) money depending on how long it takes, B) dinner or lunch at a nice restaurant, or C) some form of alcohol. The users are going to bug you regardless so you might as well get something extra out of it.

      • #2699478

        A whole world of trouble

        by tom_mee_uk ·

        In reply to Same thing here

        You know what is going to happen here. As soon as you go out to their home PC, you then become responsible for every paperjam, cartridge run out, Word crash, and little jimmy moving the ‘Start bar’ to the left of the screen from the bottom.

        Try your best not to have to do this, I have in the past and even 11 months down the line you get the “Since you looked at my computer it no longer……”. Talk to these guys and explain how you wont be covered by company insurance to do work on their home site if something were to happen to you, or how just the travelling time means you cannot support the smooth running of their business.

        If they insist you do it I would demand a Cell phone paid by them for all of the company support calls you will be receiving/making(everything), company car with mileage paid, and expenses for picking up your food bills whilst on the road etc. If they refuse i would just get another job

    • #2699513

      It must be a lawyer thing…

      by cableguy414 ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      Well, first of all, your comment “These people can more than afford to have someone fix their computers”…yes, I’m sure they can afford to have someone else fix their home computers, but why pay someone when you can essentially do it for free?

      I can definately relate. I am the Net Admin at a law firm also. I have been approached by my IT VP about going to the one of the partner’s houses and seting up a home wireless network. So far I have ignored it, and it has not been mentioned recently. However, my desktop support person here has been tasked with being this partner’s personal pc monkey. This partner has a cabin in Canada. My desktop support guy was on the phone with this guy for days trying to get his personal dialup computer to work and help him try to fix that Blaster virus that got installed on the pc in Canada. Now our other partner and his wife want new home pc’s. First off, the company paid for these, which I think is wrong to begin with, but now we have to configure these new computers and train then to use the new computers.

      It must be a lawyer thing…

      Honestly, I don’t have an answer for you. They do sign your check so I think they kind of have you by the short hairs. If this became a “Management Decision” and was brought up in a meeting as you said, they could just say that they changed your job description and now you have to support the partner’s home computers.

      If it becomes too much of an issue, it might just be time to move on. Unfortunately, when the owner of the company wants you to do something, there is no one above him/her to complain to, you’re pretty much stuck.

      Sorry, but I definately feel your pain.

      • #2699316

        Legal IT

        by shay ·

        In reply to It must be a lawyer thing…

        I am a recruiter that places IT professionals with Law Firms and I can tell you that attorneys are the most difficult users in existence, but you do have job security. Because law firms are ALWAYS looking for people with legal IT experience.

        If you do not want to be doing this work at home, there are several legal factors you can bring up. Sometimes I place people on a contract basis and when the partners mention at home work there are several things I make them aware of, and usually this stops the at home work.
        1. If the employee injures themself in your home, not only is the homeowner liable for the injury but the firm becomes liable for the injury because that home office is now under the same scrutiny per OSHA as the work office. Which is a HUGE amount of liability to incur.
        2. Just because you declare an employee “salaried” does not mean they are exempt from overtime. They have to meet some very specific criteria to qualify as exempt from overtime. I’ve inclued the computer employee exemption, only if you meet this criteria are eligible to not be compensated for overtime.

        Computer Employee Exemption

        To qualify for the computer employee exemption, the following tests must be met:

        The employee must be compensated either on a salary or fee basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455 per week or, if compensated on an hourly basis, at a rate not less than $27.63 an hour;
        The employee must be employed as a computer systems analyst, computer programmer, software engineer or other similarly skilled worker in the computer field performing the duties described below;
        The employee?s primary duty must consist of:
        1) The application of systems analysis techniques and procedures, including consulting with users, to determine hardware, software or system functional specifications;

        2) The design, development, documentation, analysis, creation, testing or modification of computer systems or programs, including prototypes, based on and related to user or system design specifications;

        3) The design, documentation, testing, creation or modification of computer programs related to machine operating systems; or

        4) A combination of the aforementioned duties, the performance of which requires the same level of skills.

        Hope this was helpful, and don’t hesitate to contact me if you’d like to consider a new position, as I work with law firms with much more understanding rules than those!

        Shay
        Sr. Technical Recruiter
        DPI Technical

    • #2699508

      Sometimes you have to protect the user.

      by xandar ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I work for a major corporation and I have to deal with the same issue. The first question I have to ask is do they work from home or bring work home to finish a task or project? If the answer is Yes (see No below) then as IT professionals must find a way to secure those business critical documents from prying eyes.

      We now demand that the home user use the same firewall and virus software that we use for the supported PC?s at work. We also do some troubleshooting of hardware and software problems but that is level of effort only. I would also demand that you would only support prior and current OS only (example Windows XP & 2000). I would also only support standard business applications like Microsoft Office again using the current and prior methodology.

      If the answer is no I don?t believe this would be ethical. But if senior management makes it part of your job I would want it in some sort of document. This would save you some grief and possibly change their minds when your working on a home problem and the server at work decides to crash. Obviously it would take you some time to get back to the office to fix the server problem.

    • #2699495

      Personal Task Monkey?

      by ntfalcon ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I read with interest the quandry you are in and am wondering what your long term desires are? If you wish to always work for someone else with the whims corporations have around their IT shops, fine. But if you wish to eventually pull your own strings and get yourself to the place of commanding those 6 digit income levels, try and see this as a stepping stone to that place.

      Basically using this situation to build up credentials as a one stop person can go far to give you the track record of what you can bring to a “consultant” position. Having done the end to end is a great thing when folks don’t have the money to sustain an internal IT shop and want someone who can do it all for them – a GREATLY growing segment of the industry. With the advent of broad-band more folks are on the Internet.

      But perhaps you don’t want to get to the place of greater and greater self reliance, … then the reply for you is yes, if you cash the check, they can have you scrubbing toilets if they wish!

      Sorry there are not easier answers, …

    • #2699493

      Have them sign a waiver

      by mrpjb ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      The best thing to do is to create a waiver stating you are not responsible for software and/or data loss while you work on the system and are not responsible for the computer as a whole and will only freely support the software/hardware elements that you are to work on, for a limited time, like 30 days or something. Have them sign it before you touch their home machines! Then after you finish the task(s) on their home systems, thoroughly explain what you have done and follow up with an email (or work order) that states what work you performed on the system. Just because they are senior mgt. doesn’t mean they should get red carpet treatment. Treat it like they are a customer and you’re an IT professional and not a PT monkey (which I’m sure you are not). This may seem risky, but try it and if it drives them mad, at least stick to the waiver. Good luck and Godspeed.

      Pete B

      • #2699487

        be diplomatic

        by ahmerz ·

        In reply to Have them sign a waiver

        i work for an accountant firm and partners and sr managers come to me all the time for thier home computer issues, and there is no way out you have to do it for them
        here is what i do, take my time and exaplin them what is the problem in detail and charge that time to company with details that i was talking to a partner regarding his home pc
        and when time comes for home support, i do it in bussiness hrs, put milage and time on company tab, and if it is around lunch time, that too goes on company tab, they are such cheap loosers, they wont even offer a home meal
        and some times i am away from office all day doing home support, make them pay as much as u can, if they want cheap labor they have to suffer

        one of my partners is very nice, he pays me 60$/hr for his home network support calls, but alas he is the only decent one

    • #2699488

      You’re in a pickle…

      by reddog_deluxe1 ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      Hey man, I’ve been doing things like that for almost three years now. I would convince them to take it off of your job salary and if your time permits, do it after work. The good thing about that is you can set your own price for the work you do. So if they call you after dark it’s another $30-$50 in your pocket, and make yourself clear… “NO CALLS ON THE WEEKEND” Of course being 19yrs old I guess I can handle things like that. You probably have a family of your own and a myriad of things to take care of when you get home. What ever you decide good luck!!

    • #2699483

      Tell them that!

      by rgun2515 ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      That is exactly what you should tell them.

      In the office I have a controlled environment with all sorts of security, standardized systems and policies to keep systems stable. Home computers have no such controls.

      If they wish to spend the money at home as they spend in the office on security and such, than you can be the admin for their home computer. Yes, I deal with this with this issue myself. But the only way I will support the computer is if they bring it into the office, and I will not spend a lot of time on the machine. If I work on it for more that half an hour, and the issue is not resolved, I reinstall with the original image. I do order and setup all PC’s for there homes, so I have the original image.

    • #2699466

      Might not be legal.

      by glauer1 ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I believe that Leona Helmsley went to jail for similar shenanigans. Repair for home computers is a form of compensation — its value should be declared as income to the recipient. I’d suggest that the value is on the same order as the hourly billing the attorneys charge.

    • #2699464

      greatly reduce support calls

      by dpatillo ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      Switch them to linux at home and the office. This will greatly reduce the support calls.

    • #2699443

      Even Superman needs a break!

      by rigmarol ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      Face it, we LIKE working on PCs and solving problems. We all have this Superman complex that gets us all fuzzy inside whenever we fix or solve a user’s dire problem. We are the modern day Supermen (and women).

      What usually gets us into trouble is the fact that at some point we actually helped a user at work fix his home PC. Usually with no charge and sincere “glad I could help” falling from our lips.

      Then comes the next one and the next and the next.

      With me it began with close co-workers and then went to the Executives then next thing I new I was on the phone long distance back east with the VP’s son in the College dorm!!!!

      I made my own problem by being to dog gone helpful!

      I fixed it by slowly getting dumber. If I couldn’t fix it quickly I admitted defeat and said I couldn’t fix it. As time went by and technology became more affordable, I even made more and more suggestions to by new PCs with “3 year warrantees”. My “Superman” calls dropped dramatically.

      Now, I’m back to close friends and family. And I tell them they are special and yes I’ll work on THEIR friends PCs but it will cost $85 per hour, 1 hour minimum and I round up to the nearest hour. Haven’t got a request yet…

      Bottom line, specialize, start getting dumber on the home systems. Push the new technologies as a solution and be sure to mention the 3 year warrantee. You don’t want to ruin the warrantee by opening their case do you? (wink)

      Good luck.

    • #2699442

      Sure I’ll fix it…bring it in.

      by john g. snyder ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I usually tell my staff that I’m happy to help do small fixes, installs or repairs on their stations. Understanding that a) they bring in the station and all the parts/software, b) they understand that my work comes first and if possible I’ll look at the station while I’m loading software or updates, etc.

      I’ve had really good luck with this. I’ve also had a chance to do some quick training, teach them how to run ad-aware for their home PCs, double checking to see if their AV sigs are updated, install pop-up blockers, etc.
      I’ve helped them clean up their stations and teach them how to do backups, etc.

      So, it can be a chance to empower the home user to be part of the solution and not the problem. Granted this is a little different than the initial question, but it might be something to consider.

      • #2699437

        It will never end

        by rigmarol ·

        In reply to Sure I’ll fix it…bring it in.

        If you keep doing this soon your breaks and lunches will revolve around getting AOL to work.

        If you enjoy that then fine. After nearly 20 years I’m tired of working on home PCs for free.

        • #2699430

          True…

          by john g. snyder ·

          In reply to It will never end

          My experience has been pretty good. Only a few stations per year. I leave the building on lunch ( I get an hour..I take an hour) and plenty of times I tell them that I simply don’t have time.

          We’re smaller, so that’s part of it, if we were a larger firm…no way.

    • #2699440

      JUST DO IT RIGHT

      by pigblood ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      If they want your support in home, you should aply the same policies and procedures you have in Job environment. So if they don’t follow, you are not supporting those PC’s. If they call you outside bussines hours, you can charge them for the service or simply not attend if you don’t do that for the bussines too.

    • #2699432

      Two ways to look at it

      by seanv ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I completely understand the problem – in it myself but I look at it in a number of ways:

      1. Help them out – give them a list of things that ***YOU*** want them to buy to do the job. Symantec Ghost for back ups, antivirus, etc. Recommend all the high priced stuff – eventually they look at what you require & the procedures – they become baffled so much that they want to go to someone else and you develop a professional elitism they can not comprehend. 😎

      2. Organize (on company time since they want this so) a “Bring your PC To Work Day” and sell the idea as a company benefit, especially if they are dumb enough to store company information on their home PCs – informational security in a law firm should be an easy sell. Throw in lessons, educate the users on the benefits of firewall, antivirus, scare tactics of the latest viruses out there, spyware, etc. etc. Just beat the dead horse to a pulp.

      Who knows, it can come into play later for promotional opportunities or at the very least – end users that can be called upon to give references that are non-managment, customer based so they can sing the praises from a customer point of view.

      Good luck…

      Sean

    • #2699417

      Legal Issues and Security

      by highlore ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      If they want you to fix computer at home, you can only fix computers that have legal software on it. So, if there is illegal software on the system, NO fix …. Or do they want to take on the responsibility (get it on paper from the Senior Manager!!) of being in violation when you install illegal software on a system?

      I am not sure why they need their home systems; normally people that need to work at home also have a laptop from the company or they get a PC from work installed at home.

      I would also recommend you to make common sense document you can hand over to the people (What to do when you have a virus? How to get rid of Adware?, VPN or dialup connection setup etc).

      In my opinion support should only be restricted to the VPN or dialup connection to the workplace if they work with their home pc’s. If however you work with Terminal Server, remember that for each PC that connects to your Terminal Server, you need a license (WTS CAL). Also if your Terminal Server has Office installed, your company needs an official version installed on the system that connects to it. (This will be quite expensive and will make then think again).

      Last but not least:

      If you allow Home systems to connect to your corporate network (through dialup or VPN), you need AbSOLUTE CONTROL over it. It is just not do-able if the system from Mr. X has a new virus and spreading it through your Corporate LAN, just because they didnt buy a virusscanner.

      So that should mean: No software installs without you knowing, No illegal software (you cant install software that isnt legal: Check Microsoft for this as as far as I know you are the one that is at fault and you will be fined as you were being paid when you installed it.)

      My word of advice: If they really want to work at home and be safe with it, get them a pc paid AND maintained through work. So no unwanted software installs and it will make your life a lot easier.

    • #2699416

      Something for nothing?

      by dawgman ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      Good luck with this! I would try to explain, using every staff person’s job duties, and how it relates to home work! I.E. Would they ask the staff accountant to do they’re taxes every year, would they ask the staff secretary to file they’re home papers or answer they’re home phone, would they ask the janitor to come home and take they’re garbage out, etc, etc?

    • #2699412

      No one said you had to be GOOD at it

      by cranss ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      One physician’s PC was so corrupted with unlicensed junk and spyware, I ended up having to format the whole thing. Oh, and I made absolutely no attempt at recovering any data before doing so. “Sorry, too corrupted, nothing could be done”.

      • #2699403

        a reflection of your abilities in general

        by dave the it guy ·

        In reply to No one said you had to be GOOD at it

        This is not necessarily a good approach. If you do a bad job fixing any fellow employees home PC, they will question your ability to fix office PC’s! This is especially dangerous if the home PC belongs to an executive. If he/she doubts your abilities, you are shooting yourself in the foot and asking to be skipped over for promotions/raises etc…
        I agree with an earlier post that says that you should be willing doing more than is required of you on occaison to make you a more valuable employee. As long as it doesn’t get out of hand. Document your time so that if it does start getting out of control you can go to management and say that you have spent “x” hours of company or personal time on “non-work” computers. If management is happy with that, then so be it. If they are not, they will put a stop to the practice. I am a solo IT person in my office. I have done work for executives before as well as non-management co-workers. Non-executive co-workers most often volunteer to pay me for my time because they know that I am good at what I do. Most management level people bring their systems in understanding I will fix their stuff when I can. I have been to our President’s home a few times. His house is between my house and the office. At his suggestion, the times that I have gone to his home, I have left the office right after lunch, understanding that when I am done at his house, I am free to take the rest of the afternoon off and go directly home from there. This creates a scenario where I am viewed by almost everyone here as a very valuable and competent employee who is willing to help out where and when I can.

    • #2699409

      Anything outside of business hours should be billable

      by normalitguy ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      Haileyan,

      I say that any phone calls or “after hours” service calls for their home computers should be billed at a premium rate and that money should go into your pocket. If they refuse to do that, then tell them they all have to VPN into the corporate network and parlay your new responsibility into new skills that you can put on your resume to enhance your marketability. Any way that this pans out, be glad you have a job in the first place. Out here in SLC, UT it is very hard to find a professional IT department.

      • #2699399

        RE: Anything outside of business hours should be billable

        by dugadugdug ·

        In reply to Anything outside of business hours should be billable

        I would add that you should also make sure they either pay for mileage you put on your vehicle or better yet make a business case for you to get a company paid vehicle. They shouldn’t expect you to fit the bill for travelling from home to home.

        Probably already mentioned in one form or another but take the time to create a service level statement for home support and get it signed off by upper management.

        • #2699272

          Lawyers SHOULD no labor laws…

          by stan ·

          In reply to RE: Anything outside of business hours should be billable

          Being salaried does not mean that you have to work day and night for a flat fee! While many businessmen try to use the salary to make you think that you don’t get overtime for over 40 hours of work per week, with few exceptions they are wrong. I won a case which, by the way, pays triple damages. Bottom line is, however, that while working there you may have to make concessions. Document everything. Keep all correspondence including e-mails and IM logs. Track all time and mileage. If you come to the end of your rope and don’t care if they can you, give them a bill. I am certain you can find the labor law info on the web. Good luck!

    • #2699407

      Go with the flow

      by leonard_aj ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      Unfortunately, you’re in a tough position. I’ve been there as well. I believe honesty is the best policy. It may not keep you out of trouble but, it won’t compromise your integrity. First, keep strict documentation on everything you do; whos’ pc you worked on, where, what thier complaint was, what you found and what you did to correct the problem. Documentation will save you should the situation turn bad enough to jeopardize your job. Try to restrict your efforts to correcting the problem each person came to you about and nothing extra. Of course, sometimes you may need to do a little more than necessary to prevent some future problems (in the case of somone that knows enough to be dangerous and you’re excessive amounts of time undoing his/her damage), and that’s alright. The major time frame you must concentrate on is during normal business hours. I agree, when your employers find you’re spending too much time resolving thier personal problems and the company problems are being neglected, they should (logically) set restrictions on using your expertise for thier personl needs. Always remember though, the pendulum can swing either way.

    • #2699389

      Not a good situation

      by blarman ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I have been there. I was a “salaried” employee and my boss would have me go fix friends’ home computers – but only during slow periods at work. I was never asked to do so after business hours. The threat that they can force you to do that because you are salaried is exactly that – coercion, but hardly supported by labor laws.
      I would suggest negotiating with them under these rules:
      1. You will fix their home PC’s, but only as it relates to business use of the PC.
      2. You will only attend to home PC’s during business hours, and only when there is nothing more critical happening at work.

      Another option is to trade every fix-it session at their home for equivalent TIME in pro-bono legal work. Get a certificate from the partner you do the work for at the time of service. Don’t let them try to get away with monetary equivalency.

      Look at your job description. If it doesn’t explicitly include the support of home PC’s, point that out and tell them that, because it is not part of your job description, and because the PC’s are not company property, you have no contractual obligation to perform any kind of service call – let alone under the auspices of a “salaried” employee.

      The last thing is to check and see if you work in a “right-to-work” state. If not, what they are requiring is clearly beyond the contract and usually illegal – check the state’s employment laws. If you are in a right-to-work state, you don’t have this protection.

    • #2699381

      Personal Task Monkey

      by fb@abc ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      Definitely not a good feeling, but a familiar one.

      Had to wire a ranch for ethernet used for a family shelter which was a charity for the company.

      I still had the same target dates for my work related projects, but was told that since this was a charity supported by the company I had to do the work. (ie. work related).

      I didn’t get gas money and I didn’t get kissed. The worst part of it was one of the guys working there decided he wanted a special setup with additional drops so he wouldn’t have to buy an additional hub to hook up his additional PC that he like to bring in from home. Once it was wired and they brought their personal PC’s in then it was “Why doesn’t this work?” or “Why is this slow?”

      You have my sympathy!

      • #2699353

        Remember this though…

        by rrosca ·

        In reply to Personal Task Monkey

        You aren’t anybody’s task monkey.

        What you are is a skilled person who is being asked to provide a service.

        I have to do this sort of thing all the time for the people I work for. I basically run all the servers, routers, telephone equipment, firewall, etc at work and yes, I also go to my bosses homes and fix their pcs.

        There are a few things that I do in order to make my life easier when I have to make these house calls – It’s always when I say I can be there, not when they say it. It is almost always during work hours (I like my bosses and two of them live in the same town so I cut them some slack) and I always ask them to bring their computers in first – sometimes that’s possible, other times it’s not.

        A lot of this depends on how you look at this. If you feel that you are a task monkey for doing this then you will always be unhappy with it. But if you do this well and make yourself indispensible the chances of you getting laid off will be slimmer and you can even add this to your yearly review as new tasks and demand a raise for doing it.

        If that doesn’t work for you you can always make the point to your lawyer bosses that you don’t ask them to do your litigation work for free.

    • #2699352

      Stay in the Scope

      by jack_e_ellsbury ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      We have a 800 line just for “phone” support. If the nature of the ailment is “Business Related” connectivity, business related software…fine

      But if it is to get there Kids off the IE line..hold your ground.

      Changine environment.

    • #2699351

      Get more money

      by ocean1 ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      Last time i checked when a person is salaried his/her duties are limited to the workplace.If they want the extra attention tell them you want extra compensation, remember is not only your services that they are utilizing is your knowledge.I believe that they do not stop charging people once they are out of the office so, why should you? More work, More money thats my advice and dont be afraid to ask for it either cause, this might be the way you’ll get them off your back.

    • #2699337

      Know your state employment laws, then negotiate

      by bndplus2 ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      Employment law is a mixed bag; there are lots of things that employers do that they shouldn’t – even things that they CLEARLY should not do – but, since they oftentimes think they might stand a chance of winning, they’re willing to take that chance (which cracks me up – if they had to pay you extra – overtime, whatever – that’s nothing with regards to the legal fees they’d have to rack up in order to defend themselves. For some reason, if it’s an expense other than employee payroll, they could care less about spending it… *shrug*).

      Firstly, I’m a LAN admin who has been (illegally, and knowingly so, at that!) classified as exempt. I work in California and state law says that unless I make something like 87K per year I CAN’T be exempt from overtime (SB 88 (http://tinyurl.com/4kq4q and http://tinyurl.com/3p9rg, section 1, A, 3, H). Since I don’t supervise anyone or meet the other criteria, I shouldn’t be exempt. Period.

      I log my hours worked over and above 8 in a day or 40 in a week. This includes all my vacation days when I work (which is essentially ALL of them – ever!) as well as weekend checking in on things.

      What I have tried to do is get some of that back in comp time; my mininal week is 50 hours (MINIMUM!), so I try to take a few hours here and there in order to get some of it back (as I don’t plan on suing my employer, which is a bummer, because they have willingly misclassified probably 50 or so people – some given the reason for being made exempt that the company doesn’t want to pay them overtime! Talk about cajones…). Although I don’t get much of it back, if any at all, really, I make the effort.

      Being exempt is a double edged sword. It was originally intended to relieve the employer of the burden of having to suffer financially in case of a crisis which required extended hours for a period of time. In return, we aren’t supposed to punch a clock and can take long lunches if we want, without losing pay.

      Problem is – conveniently, I might add – nobody ever defined what a “reasonable” period of time is when it comes to extended hours. Some consider no less than 70 per week to be acceptable – it all depends on how people want to interpret it. They will all, virtually, interpret it in their own best interests. On the other hand, being exempt means that your work is measured by what you are required to accomplish, not the time to accomplish it. For instance, if you get your tasks done in twenty minutes, you’re supposed to be able to go home. And answering a page on a vacation day also means that day was worked – if even for 45 seconds to call someone back and tell them you’ll deal with it later – so therefore you should not be required to take a vacation day for it. Please keep in mind that exempt is DIFFERENT from salaried – make sure you understand that! Exempt means no overtime compensation, ever. Salaried means that anything over 8 or 40 in a week gets overtime (unless you have agreed to work 10’s or 12’s, in which case you give up the over 8 in a day overtime). I know plenty of salaried people who also get overtime… Also, be aware, the Bush administration is trying to make almost every worker on the planet exempt from overtime? So, come late August, those who were protected may no longer be. But it may also be repealed, as it still needs senate approval. If you want to know more about this, see http://tinyurl.com/6non4 for some background, and if you want to do something about it, contact your local representatives and express your opinions on it.

      May apologies for droning on and on, however this issue of requiring many of us to work and work and work without any regard for our personal or family lives is a big issue for me. I started having more than enough to do, then things escalated to the point where it was and has remained utter chaos. I know there are some of you that think “hey, we’re exempt and if you don’t like it, tough, go find another job”. Although I think that’s a valid thought to a point, my question is “how much is too much”?

      I must sound like a Union-happy, gung-ho left-wing whacko – and I’m not sure that I’d blame you for thinking that, really. However, the laws are the laws, and that’s that. Employers take advantage of them at the expense of their employees. If the employees stood their ground, if anything just to make sure that what they were expected to do was legal, then we’d ALL be better off. Unions have their pro’s and con’s, although in most situations I think they do more harm than good. However, sometimes, we need to stand up for ourselves, and unfortunately a Union is the best way to do that. Which sucks?

      Know your rights. Look into whatever your state’s laws are regarding wages and hours. Don’t be afraid to ask questions (but make sure you can’t be retaliated against for asking! Not sure what other states are like but in California it’s supposed to be illegal. Not that it ever truly stops retaliation, but it’s a deterrrent).

      As for this situation, first, research your state laws regarding your position and whether or not you should be exempt at all. Keep it as an ace in your sleeve in case things get nasty. Second, if you have any type of policies, look closely at them and see what it says. It may have the catch-all of “or other duties, as assigned”. But then again, it may not. Third, do you have an employment contract? A job description? If so, find them and look them over. Fourth, LOG YOUR HOURS. ALWAYS. In case of a dispute, you will need that. Also, as an FYI, it’s illegal for you to accept a working contract that violates state or federal laws. So, if they ever tried to argue that you said it was OK to not be paid overtime, if you didn’t meet the criteria the law sets forth, then it wouldn’t matter WHAT you might have agreed to? Or at least it’s that way in California?.

      Lastly, have a talk with them about it and how you don’t think it should be your responsibility. Don’t bring up what you’ve found works on your behalf, at least not at first. You don’t want to come off as threatening. An honest, open dialog could really work to your advantage if you are diplomatic enough (by the way, I thought the way you initially handled it was totally prudent and professional – too bad he went crying to mommy?). Also, if you have a benafactor, start talking with them about this and see if they can’t get you a backdoor into the executive conference room. Having someone at a high level to help you is something I have found is absolutely necessary in todays workplace. And, just because you are supposedly exempt doesn’t mean they can have you doing this that and the other. One of the things that comes to mind here is that if you do enough of that other stuff – the menial type stuff (like home PC repair) – you CAN lose your exempt status, as you aren’t performing the same level of work anymore. Like I said, look into your state laws. And I mean really LOOK? Read them and understand them. They’re confusing, but if you look hard enough, they will become more clear. If you find terms or definitions or situations like yours that were fought out in court, look at the case law and see what the arguments were. Understanding what happened in X case could really bolster your understanding of the situation and help you with a more successful argument or defense.

      Also, it would appear to me that your responsibilities have increased. Perhaps re-negotiating your paycheck might be in order. Or, maybe it’s not a matter of money but of time (I know that’s the situation with myself, at least?). If so then you should start looking elsewhere, for sure. Their time is billed at probably 225 per hour; if their time is so clearly of value to them, then why shouldn’t yours be of value, too?

      As for being an at will employee, there is only one state that I am aware of (Montana, I think) that is a right to work state: so, everywhere else, they can fire you for whatever reason, whenever, with no notice, and do so legally. Even if they don’t like the color of your hair? For the most part; there are things such as implied contracts and so forth, but they don’t stand up well to legal challenges. Are you starting to get the picture that the laws were written to favor the employer? Good. Because they were…

      Apathy is infectious, and it seems to be the American way. Why we as a community haven’t started looking to organize is beyond me. If not with a traditional union, perhaps make our own with a bit more of a realistic view. Or not?

      Best of luck.

    • #2699333

      PTM

      by gsg ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      You are being made into a PTM. My advice is to start looking for a job, and when you have an offer on the table, go to the head of the firm, or whoever, and present your case to them. Basically, you can say that this does not fall to you fix because the workstations were not purchased by the company for 100% business use. If they are purchased by the individual for personal use, then you have no responsibility. If they insist that you do, don’t fuss, but turn in your notice a couple of days later.

    • #2699322

      Your Viewpoint

      by pmwpaul ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      The problem depends on how it’s seen. From the lawyer’s viewpoint, their time and effort is very important-irregardless of what it’s spent on. If they see you as having a lot of extra time then a little extra work should be no problem.

      If you see yourself as being very busy then this extra work is a major problem. The first time the system goes down and you’re unable to fix it in a timely manner because you are installing a new web cam for somebody, things will come back into focus.

      Try this: if you’ve got to spend three extra hours working on somebody’s home computer then you should be able to come in three hours later than your regular time. Schedule appointments with lawyers first thing in the morning and “miss” them because you were working late at somebody’s house.

      They will either change policy or get you an assistant. Or, if they are real jerks, replace you with a real “monkey.”

      • #2699264

        Challenge & Opportunity

        by gumby_blake2 ·

        In reply to Your Viewpoint

        Hmmm….this issure is not uncommon. I am a Network Admin myself and have had similar requests. The best approach will depend on your needs and company’s.
        I have no issue myself with helping staff on their home PCs BUT, and this is the important bit – you must establish the rules of engagement beforehand.

        Dont’ see this as being a monkey, look at it as being extra value you can give the company and an opportunity to improve your working relationship with other staff.

        Many replies have been posted about insurance & mileage and liability – these definitely need to be covered with your manager, and/or someone that is prepared to back you up if something goes wrong. If the work is in hours, or out of hours, and what priority it takes against your “normal” tasks then the same applies.

        I am flexible for staff issues. For example I can do work in hours {supported by my manager} out of hours – overtime applies and I complete a normal onsite timesheet and get it signed. I claim mileage in my normal expenses. Repairs are best effort, which is recognised by alll parties.

        Staff PC problems are a CHALLENGE – you have many posts about the issues to be covered, and an OPPORTUNITY – you are able to help fellow workers, and improve working relationships. It is up to you to decide which one of these is the larger.

        • #2699242

          Opportunity? You’re joking, right?

          by bndplus2 ·

          In reply to Challenge & Opportunity

          Sorry to sound sarcastic, but what I see the issue being expressed is that he’s already busy enough and can’t dedicate the time necessary to do his job properly AND take care of these babies systems at home.

          Another thing: I view their apparent lack of thought and consideration for his position on this to be a lack of RESPECT for him: if he fixes their systems at home, then they will tend to want him to be even more subservient than they would if he just did his job at work – things get somewhat personalized, and believe me, these guys are NOT going to view him as an intillectual peer and want to buddy up to him. Attorneys, in general, think they’re better than everybody else as it is. Him going to their home is more like slave labor than an appreciation of his skills. Their lack of willingness to compensate him shows this quite clearly.

          I will agree that there is opportunity, in that while he is at their home he should try to make the best of the time he spends there. However, from what I see, this is pretty clearly an example of them viewing him as a paid slave that they can do with what they want. At least if it was in their workplace, there would be a lot more of the professionalism retained. Once you enter someone’s house, there’s a personalization that takes place that adds some familiarity to the mix. This is all bad. Hell, I had a CEO that used to call me to his house all the time, even when I had system issues. I told him to pound sand until I got the systems back up, and then – and only then – would I attend to his relatively “piddly problem”. Fortunately, he respected me for telling it like it was, although I will admit that I took a chance on that.

          I would still encourage him to try to avoid going to other peoples homes altogether. Another thing that bringing in their systems does is add some accountability for the user – if they have to unhook it and drag it into work every time they screw it up, I’ll bet you that eventually they’ll screw it up less and less.

          Unfortunately, after all that’s been said about this subject, I still view it as a major problem for this poor guy.

          And not one thing has ever been mentioned about this guy working extra hours that he wouldn’t be able to spend with his family… That equates to a lot more than dollars. You can’t buy your childrens time back.

          And, oh, as far as working X hours straight: I got him beat: 76 hours straight (15 minute naps here and there) for an NT-2000 migration… Joyous, it was…

          Peace.

        • #2698769

          I can see where you are coming from

          by gumby_blake2 ·

          In reply to Opportunity? You’re joking, right?

          bndplus2,

          Yeah I can see where you are coming from, but I still consider this to be an opportunity. Like all sysadmins I am flat out like a lizard drinking myself. No sysadmin worth his/her salt is usually otherwise.

          However this is still an oppotunity. Putting in the little bit extra can improve working relationships.

          It may not be recognised and appreciated all the time, but if not then your “normal” work is not appreciated either which is a separate issue.

          Don’t ever expect that something magic will happen just because you fixed someone’s home PC but it can help.

          Putting in the extra is not designed to further impact on home-life either, but I don’t think this is what the original poster had in mind. Their issue was “I don’t want to fix home systems because that makes me a monkey”.

          This issue is not a yes/no question – it could be seen as being a monkey, but look at the positive side – maybe they are asking because they think you have the skills & knowledge to help.

          Maybe they are saying “You are my monkey so I want you to fix my home PC”, which is a bad thing. I usually like to give people the benefit of the doubt – innocent until proven guilty.

          I agree about lawyers thinking they are superior, and I think the same with sales people who think the world revolves around them. Given time you can work out which way the people asking for help are coming from – if it is because you are their monkey, then stuff them but you might be surprised if you give them the chance.

    • #2699310

      Have some self-respect and dignity…

      by buckeyetek ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      Do you see any of those “Partners” coming to your house to help you will any of YOUR legal issues? NO! So, why would you subject yourself to this kind of treatment? Until you start to realize the knowledge you have is your commodity, the more you’re going to be taken advantage of. Just like your law partners have specialized knowledge, you need to start charging more and demanding respect by just saying NO!! The headaches you’ll endure sustaining their home PCs and networks would be enough to cause anyone to burn-out or worse. My advise: get your resume polished and start looking for a new job. When the next time comes around you’ll know what to say: NO!

    • #2699283

      Hell NO

      by mowens ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      It is not right for them to have you work on their home machine because you are salaried. If they want you to work on their machines from home tell them that you need compensation for your time if you have to go to their house. Just because your salaried doesn’t mean that you have to work on there home machine, because they can’t force you to because you are employed by the firm and not contracted to work on their machines, also if it is a brand new machine that they are having a problem with tell them it would void the warranty. Trust me on this issue because of the fact that co-workers have asked me to do this and I have told them my rates and they have all been fine with paying them so do not do it without any compensation for your time of just diagnosing it and then working on it physically.

    • #2699280

      Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      by mlevs ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I am the Director of IT, and this is unacceptable. They are simply taking advantage of you. My answer is Hell No. Business is business, pleasure is pleasure. You should only take care of in-house(@ work) pc’s,laptops, printers, pda’s….. If the laptops are taken home or on the road then you are responsible for them but only at the office. House calls are not part of the job description.

    • #2699243

      job description

      by birchsa ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      A network admin doing pc support is a waste of your skill set. Do you have a job/position description? No doubt this mentions supporting the buisness infrstructure and doesn’t mention anything about home pc support!
      If there is such a huge demand for pc support, perhaps they should employ a pc support person?

    • #2699241

      Licensed and Insured

      by {ms}warrior ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I?m an independent consultant, in Suffolk & Nassau County, Long Island, NY, I have to be licensed and insured in order to go into someone?s home to work on their computer.
      I carry 1,000,000 of insurance just to be safe.

      The reason I have insurance is so that I don?t get sued for accidentally breaking something, or mistakenly leaving a patch cable out where someone can trip, fall and get hurt. Without insurance, the home owner can sue me personally and probably would take all my assets. (House, car).
      I don?t think one employee can sue another employee at the office for leaving a wire out for someone to trip on? They would get workmen’s comp. But what if it is at home? Yes you can sue, or be sued, by the homeowner, or the homeowner?s insurance company?

      I?m sure that most company office insurance does not cover anyone?s personal home address for liabilities.

      What about Workmen?s Comp? Do you get workmen?s comp if you get hurt in someone?s house fixing their personal computer? Workmen?s comp covers you while you?re at work. Does it cover you while you?re not at work?

      I carry a License so that if there is a problem then I have the right to sue the home owner for damages. I would be a Licensed Professional providing a service. The homeowner hired me to fix their home appliance. I could sue if I had to. What if I tripped over their Cable TV wire while walking through their house and broke a leg. I can legally sue them for lost wages and such. I dont think workmen’s comp will pay if your not at the office?

      If I was unlicensed, then I was not supposed to be in the homeowners? home doing any work in the first place. I think, legally, only home owners and licensed professionals are allowed to perform any work for a home owner. With out a license all you get is a broken leg and what ever money the homeowner?s insurance company wants to pay, if anything at all.

      Then again, what if the home owner doesn?t have enough home insurance to cover the damages you incurred? Let?s say that they had $250,000 worth of insurance, but your insurance bill is over $300,000? Who pays? Not your company?s office insurance? You do?

      What I would suggest is to make any work that must be performed at the home owners a consultant type gig, contracts suggested, Get a DBA, get insurance, get a license, Get Paid for the extra work you do. Make it worth your while! Don?t fight against the work, Negotiate the extra $$$ you could make consulting! If they had to hire an outside consultant to fix the home users pc?s they could pay as high as $125 per hour. Make them an offer they can not refuse.

      I worked for a retirement fund company in NYC. They had approximately 500 users. I made about $70,000 per year as a network administrator, a few years back. I made almost $40,000 extra fixing everyone?s home computers. I did their computers, their family?s computers, their friends? computers. So much so, that I started my own consultant business in 1998. Making good money since. Don?t have to worry about who?s telling me what home to go to? I choose now.

      A License cost about $100, Insurance cost about $1200 per year. What is the amount of hours required fixing the home users pc worth? How much extra can you earn?

      Or, have the company pay for your license, pay for extra insurance to insure you when you have to go to the users home, pay for your mileage, pay for the time it takes to fix the computer.
      Also, have the company provide you with adequate documentation regarding their insurance policy just to prove they are not misleading you.

      Insist that all home computers have remote access capability in order to avoid having to go to their location.

      Another thing to look at is you should demand that the lawyer must be present while you?re at their home fixing their computer. Don?t step foot into their home without them present. You never want to be left alone with the Lawyers spouse or children. This might be a deterrent to sending you out on your own in the first place!
      Sexual harassment charges are tough to deal with.

    • #2699234

      How I handled it

      by mattk ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I was in exactly the same situation at a previous job. Here is how I made it go away:

      First, I reminded management that I was already fixing personal machines in the office during my down time. At the time, the General Manager’s was on my bench getting a memory upgrade. It did not help.

      I resubmitted my position description, requesting a modification. When it was handed back to me, I added the “Extracurricular” activities myself. Eventually, I got it back signed.

      The above coincided with my annual review. I justified an extra 1/2 percent on on my annual increase for the increased responsibilities.

      I required that an adult had to be there if there were children in the home (anyone under the age of 16).

      I submitted travel vouchers for the mileage I put on my own vehicle.

      The first time my phone went off at home (after business hours) I invoiced the company for my time based on the local average for computer repair (65.00 per hour, minimum of one hour, billed in whole hours after the first).

      The first time the mail server went down while I was at a marketing manager’s home removing a virus he picked up on a porn site, I was called into the office. I explained where I was and what I was doing, and fixed the mail server. Then I went back out to the manager’s house.

      When the ERP system went down while I was at the Materials Manager’s house (45 minutes away), management sat fuming, watching everyone sit around doing nothing while I was on my way back. Interestingly, traffic was particularly heavy that day and increased the delay. While the general manager and controller stood over my shoulder I told them all about the trouble I was having removing spyware that was on the Materials Manager’s home computer.

      The last thing I did was to document my activities and present a report to my boss. I used a pie chart to show him that in the third month my activities at exec’s homes were occupying a full 18% of my time in the third month. I then gave him a summary of the invoices that I had submitted (The company did not pay them, I was “salary”). I included a summary of things I did at the homes. I also submitted a memo addressed to all employess that warned them that if I came to their home and discovered anything illegal or potentially detrimental to the company’s good name that I would report that to the appropriate authorities. He did sign and distribute that one the next day.

      Four days later I received a new position description, missing the extracurricular responsibilities.

      It takes time, but you can get it on line. I did not become a network administrator to perform benny home PC consulting as a perk for the execs.

      If that does not fix it, time to find a new employer.

    • #2699171

      No Monkey Business

      by moiz.ab ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      Though you are salaried no company nor any collegues working can ask their employee to solve the house pc problem.
      Simply say “No”
      You have been recruited for commercial services and you are not levied to do personal task.
      Ya you can do it if your collegue is near to you or you have good relation may be in you convienient time or on holidays buy not always.

    • #2699156

      Crossroads

      by kbarry ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I have had a similar experience myself, and have looked back on it many times and every time I learn more about what I should have and should not have done as I get wiser. Here are some of my thoughts on this complex issue.

      For your immediate security and future at work, do whatever makes them happy and gets you paid. Do not push the envelope until you have formed a better understanding of your situation and your options.

      This is not just about being asked to do something that may or may not, depending on who you ask, be a legal situation or an inappropriate request. You would not be questioning your situation if you did not have doubts. If there is a doubt, there is no doubt.

      I would seriously brainstorm your two obvious choices.
      1. Stay with the firm.
      2. Leave the firm.

      There are pros and cons for whichever road you travel and both will require you to learn and grow in a unique way. You must be able to accurately compare your options.

      Be VERY discrete about this process.

      Do not allow anyone involved in any way with the firm be involved with this process!

      Find objective, unbiased, individuals and/or groups to work with you on this. This is necessary to insure your thinking is not rigid or influenced in a way that prevents accuracy or relevance and increases the objectivity and experience quotients.

      Perhaps this could be a thesis on office culture/politics. There will be professors, TAs, students at a local university that will help. The finished product would be beneficial for many and will be of great value to you in the future.

      Perhaps this could also be an evaluation of your talents and skills. Introspection and professional profiling are important and needed to gauge your market value and value to the company.

      Learn how to present information in a manner that is not challenging but positive and enlightening to the firm. They might only need there glasses cleaned.

      The following is from Dale Carnegie?s Golden Book.
      Basic Techniques in Analyzing Worry
      1. Get all the facts.
      2. Write out and answer the following questions:
      a. What is the problem?
      b. What are the causes of the problem?
      c. What are the possible solutions?
      d. What is the best possible solution?
      3. Weigh all the facts ? then come to a decision.
      4. Once a decision is reached, act!

      This will not be easy. This will not be fast. This will be enlightening and rewarding professionally and personally.

      Good luck.

    • #2699068

      I do it all the time

      by howard.silver ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      We do it all the time. We tell people to back up their info and it’s at their own risk. It seems to improve relations between IT and our users here. And they will do nice things like buy us lunch or even gift certificates. I guess it just depends on where you work and how you are treated.

    • #2699001

      What do you want to do?

      by kaje ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I’ve read many of the posts/replies and think it comes down to only one question: “What do YOU want to do”? I recall the line, “If they get me insurance, I may have to take a hike”. OK, go. Stop looking for another excuse to leave.
      Now, if that was merely a reflex, take a look at your responsibilities for the company’s systems. I’m sure you have a compliance policy in place, so since a company asset, (you), is deemed responsible for the home systems as part of the company support, ensure that ALL systems are in compliance, (licensing, APPROVED software, company policies, ie, “no porn or personal use”). Ensure that the hardware is the same, create an image and deploy accordingly. If, during the course of your periodic audits of “company assets”, you discover changes to software or hardware, return the system to spec, (losing of all the high scores).

      Of course, this is ridiculous and is not worth either side’s trouble, but at least it gives you somewhere to draw lines. Remember, you WILL lose pi**ing contests, but maybe you can work with the system to keep the abuse to a minimum.

    • #2698997

      Business Equipment vs Home

      by jsowellxii ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      My take on it is this: They hired you with the agreement that you are taking care of the systems at work. The equipment at work belongs to the firm. They should only have the “right” to accept your denial of the offer. If you don’t want to do independently contracted work or make housecalls anymore, thats your business. What you do in their firm on their company systems is your business and theirs.I don’t think they have the right to “expect” you to be willing to work on their home computers at all… regardless of hourly or salaried wages.

    • #2698987

      Reap the Rewards

      by d_bones ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I regularly fix the computers of the joint owners of the company together with their families. It’s their time and their money. It also increases job security as you can become indispensible in their private as well as public lives. I’m not having a go, but drop the ego and earn some brownie points. Good luck.

    • #2698921

      Your Choice

      by davidg8 ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      First, let me state how I feel about a job. If someone is paying to work, I don’t really care if I am doing IT work or mopping the floor. If your job description does not have the term – and any other duties assigned, it should. You are paid a salary to perform work for the firm. If you do not like the terms they put before you, then go find another job. It all boils down to the fact that you have a job. You get to choose how you feel about it and the money you get for doing it. It all pays the same. I would actually be honored if my employer asked me to look at their home system. How better, in this day and age, can you make yourself very valuable to an organization. The more you do to help the organization the more you endear yourself to your employer. Remember, it is a job and you get a regular pay check. There are many people looking for a job as good as the one you have. I do agree you should nicely negociate the work to be performed during regular business hours. Let the management decide if they can afford to let you be offsite during these “home visits”. You might be surprised how fast this “new” policy may change. If you does not change, just be happy. If you just really do not want to do what they are asking, find another job you will like better. Just my opinion…

    • #2698909

      Once upon a time in a land far far away lived an evil lawyer

      by sleepin’dawg ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      Back in the days of of pre NT4 (3.52)I got cornered by a senior partner who requested at home service and I was a little taken aback since he seemed to take it for granted that this was part of my duties as the IT honcho. So I treated it exactly that way. I was already working on flex time so the following day I took off the equivalent amount of time and put in an expense voucher for my mileage.
      When the managing partner questioned me, as I expected he would, I told him exactly why I had not been in the office (I also took time for travel) and why I filed a mileage voucher. His initial reaction was to LOL but a memo was soon circulated that personal computer repairs were not to be charged to the company but the service was available at $X/hr and that mileage to and from the office would be charged. All arrangements were to be made through me. If a computer were brought into the office, it would only get checked during off duty hours and the same fees would apply. Mileage was to be charged at the company’s standard rate which was the rate the post office granted their employees using their personal vehicles for business.
      I thought the rate a bit excessive but as the partner explained to me, it would weed out any nuisance calls and while the mileage was mine he expected 25% of the hourly rate was to be retained by the company for, as he put it, billing, legal and record keeping costs as well as to ensure that my services weren’t abused. It turned out he was right and I had a profitable semi-independant sideline. I moved on from that company but to this day all my personal and company legal business is still handled by that partner. He was one of the people who instilled in me that you work for yourself not a company or anybody else. You work AT the company and WITH an individual and while he may be in charge, you work FOR yourself. People will take advantage of you only if you permit it. Check out your local labor laws and stand up for your rights. You may never get rich but you will be able to hold your head up and look at yourself in the mirror and know that at the very least you are your own man and at the end of the day whatelse really matters???

      • #2698608

        You found one of the good ones!

        by skipperusn ·

        In reply to Once upon a time in a land far far away lived an evil lawyer

        What a great story – I would say that – That lawyer was an older Gentalman – from the old schools of law…:)

        And he/you are correct – you work for yourself – you give them 8 hours of your time – they pay you for that time… If they don’t pay you what you feel you are worth – its up to you to move on or get more money – or stay … :O – I am Responsibable for my life – novell concept these days… but 100% Ture..

    • #2698838

      pc monkey

      by dnehrkorn ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      Can’t you just kill them?

    • #2698818

      Oh my aching back!

      by nycguy ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      Next time you have to visit his home to service a computer, take a fall in his driveway or home and lie on the ground screaming oh my back, my aching back. I can’t move my legs, someone call a doctor, someone call my lawyer.

      Seriously, if his secretary happened to make better coffee then his wife, would he force her to brew the family coffee?

    • #2698815

      Basic Problem is Lack of Policy

      by grolan ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      The basic problem here is lack of a comprehensive IT policy for the firm – and you should use this situation as the impetus to develop one.

      I’m in charge of IT for a government agency. One chapter of our policy deals with home p.c.’s. It states in part that while we require personally owned home p.c.’s that are used to communicate *in any way* (even just by email or sneakernet) with the office network to run personal firewall and antivirus software (and we provide links to free products that may be used) – any support for said p.c.’s will be limited to issues of configuration of security or remote access software, and is solely at the discretion of IT.

      In practice, we sometimes exceed that and will work on personal p.c.’s as time allows and only if they are brought in to the office (usually in exchange for a free lunch)- but the IT policy gives us cover if we wish to decline. You could work one out that would fit your environment, and if the partners insist that you do house calls, you should have them sign off on a policy that spells out the terms, limits, additional compensation, liability coverage for things like unlicensed software or kiddie porn or whatever you find on the home p.c.’s, etc. (I would especially pay attention to the latter – so that you are protected if someone’s machine contains illegal content, etc.)

      If it’s in policy and management has signed off, there is no dispute over what’s allowed and what isn’t.

    • #2698805

      Business PC challenge

      by int ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I agree with some of Galts ideas.

      I would say: ” does the people at home use their home pc’s for business purposes? No, then there is no legal agreement to support undocumented personal pc’s when there is no link to the company. Yes, Only on business hours and only when your main tasks for the business are completed. So, document your workload and time-effort scale on a dayly basis.

      In the worse case take it to a union and let it be evaluated.

      Good Luck

      INT

    • #2712779

      salaried or enslaved?

      by mek804 ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      You should make it clear that it is beyond your purview to work
      on personal equipment. Being salaried does not mean that you
      are enslaved. If they had a motor pool, would they expect the
      mechanics to come to their houses to work on their cars?

      My response to requests to work on home computers is: when I
      get time, I’ll look into it. Mysteriously, I would never, ever have
      time. Or if I did, it would be right when their family dinner
      started. That crap would come to a halt real fast…

      mk ; )

    • #2712708

      Don’t do it. You are no monkey

      by tsietsi.makhapha ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      Since this is a law firm, they are taking advantage of your good nature. Don’t do it. The question is: What is in it for you?. If nothing, forget it.
      If you want to do it, negotiate so that your salary is reviewed to your satisfaction.

    • #2713361

      I do not see where anyone has suggested an employee purchase program?

      by asheehy ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I have been in this situation and it sucks. But there are ways to perhaps have a win.

      If you do the math right you can pitch to these people an employee purchase program through a ‘Dell’ like organization. That way, these penny pinching 6 figure guys can get new hardware (they always like that), their employees can buy cheaper computers when they buy new, and all of these computers will come with good phone support (making it not your problem).

      They win, the other employees win, and you win.
      To really drive this home, take some of the other suggestions i have seen posted about being unavailable for important fixes because you are ‘up in the hills’ fixing CoH, Rabbit Reader, or explaining why wireless devices sometime do not work well.

      You will run into a couple of pack rats that will want to keep their P90’s. So, what you do is set up a charity donation of all of the machines replaced with the employee purchase program machines. Law firms love positive PR. Try and see if any of the big wheels have a pet charity and try and use that as your charity. That will add almost instant support.

      People like this are playable, you just need to find the strings.

    • #2713310

      As a lawyer…

      by it cowgirl ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      It is a lawyer thing. I was a practicing attorney for over 10 years and was the IT geek at every firm.
      I do not know why, but attorneys are the worst wanting home computers included in the “work zone” and there is a simple solution.
      The law office should have a policy in place regarding porn, software piracy, email retension with backups, and lockdown policies… (It is required.) Simple agree and remind them that all such home computers included in the Law Office IT support are subject to those same rules and no unauthorized persons (children, spousees…) are allowed to use those computers and all serial numbers and all websites and emails are to be mnitored and kept in line with all other law firm equipment.
      If a server goes down or virus emergency at the office, merely call and let them know you are currently at the VP’s home cleaning all the porn sites and other unauthorized sites or wiping it off because they have downloaded non-supported Law Firm software, songs or plugins. Lock it down.
      Keep track of all extra hours, time, mileage, costs and add to your expense report.

      Also if part of your position, add to your job description and get signed by your boss. Do not wait till nights to go fix their personal macines, if it is part of your job, go now during the time you should be pushing patches or sending ackups of site, then spend all day at their home requesting ice tea or soda and lunch! Have some fun.

      Should last a week or until the first emergency at the office.

      OK, what do you call a lawyer with an IQ of 25?
      Your Honor.

      • #2713239

        Thank you

        by alarena ·

        In reply to As a lawyer…

        If you read my stupid answer, and remember that I say “many attorneys…”, you’ll know why I thank you. My sister is an attorney and my brother-in-law is a judge. I would not ask either for an opinion on this. They might find a way to make money or gain power from it. I think of both of them as losers, personally. My buddy Steve is an attorney in Media, PA. Normal as an Eagles fan. Go figure.

        You hit dead center. Requirements. So, how do you lock down? What is a lockdown policy for a home user? I’ve looked for over 20 years and have no cure but laying down the law and enforcing it. That’s my lockdown. Money. Free visit, or dinner? Fine. Cousin IT trashed your system? I make them pay.

    • #2713304

      While not the best way to handle things

      by hal 9000 ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      It is most likely a very good idea particularly if they access the business network from home through their own PC’s.

      While not in my job description is is part of my overall Security package particularly after MS made it so easy for this type of connection to the networks. After all these home units represent the biggest threat to security as they mostly lack the necessary security to keep my networks secure. The best thing about these so called professionals is their complete lack of understanding about things IT related.

      I have a Surgeon friend who constantly is running a computer without current AV protection and I only hear from him when he gets an infection and then all hell breaks lose as things have to be put right immediately once he gets an e-mail telling him that his computer has an infection. But at the same time when I know his AV is about to expire it is impossible to get in to install a new copy of the software as it just is not important to him. Earlier this year I spent 6 months attempting to gain access to his home computer to renew the AV product which of course was only important when he could no longer get an INTERNET connection then I had to go down there immediately and fix the problem. Luckily that time it was a phone line problem and I took the chance to update the AV products.

      Now if he was accessing his business network through that computer it would be imperative to install all the security possible and keep it up to date to prevent anything from affecting the network.

      It is something that you should factor into your budget and at least that way it will show the partners just how much it is costing them and it just might make your life a bit easier as well.

      Col

    • #2713240

      Mistake #1, working for attorneys

      by alarena ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      If you went into this job “eyes wide open”, then you probably expected this. If not, work on your resume and then go elsewhere. Or let them treat you like a monkeyboy. Know that the role of monkeyboy came from them. You picked it up because of the way they handled you.

      You responded in such a way to anger someone in power; it may not have been the “no”, but the way you said it, or simply that persons’ makeup. When this person went to the partners, do you imagine that putting you “in place” wasn’t one of his goals? Why would they suddenly think it was a good idea that you service ALL of their homes? These are smart people, but many are accustomed to using whatever means they can find to get their way including lying and deceit. Normal personalities are not a “high count” in the law firm census. On some level, they wanted to humiliate you. It’s a by-product of power hungry people. The need to show superior strength when challenged.

      Legally, you have no obligation to enter a home off site and work on a privetely computer used by “the public”. If they want to make salaried a license to put you on 7/24 then you have a right to compensation for “unusual” requests. It’s up to you. I’m E-Mailing my childhood friend who is an attorney and will show him this.

      I usually will visit the Medical Directors home or a PT Aides home (last Wednesday) for customer service reasons, or just to help. And for the good feeling it gives me. But then, I work for good people. My rules are strict even for them. They can get hardcopy before I visit if they want. In a nutshell… If cousin “IT” the expert has changed vital settings or worse, then my price goes from 0 to fair market value.

      I suggest that you find a friend among those lawyers. Pick the smartest one if you can. Express your concern and ask legal questions. And if you have a friend in the press have them call and leave a message, or visit for a lunch date. And good luck. Me, I’d find something else. You’re working for jerks.

    • #2713191

      Do you have an official job description?

      by johnj ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I will bet that nowhere in your job description does it say you are expected to work on other employees’ PCs. Check with the HR dept. and use that for ammunition.

      I am in a different situation, working in a school, and occasionally have students and teachers ask me for advice on their home PCs. Before I wised up, I would offer to work on the PCs for free, but no more. Now I ask for payment and will quote prices. Fixing home PCs is a huge time waster, since by the time the owner realizes it needs to be fixed, it’s almost too late.

    • #2714008

      Get a friend t help

      by joelthompson2001 ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I don’t think you should be responsible for peoples home computers at all you work to accomodate you and your families needs as do your employers stick to your guns if you have a friend that could use a shot in the arm as far as pc repair then give your bosses one of their cards. I think you should correct this as soon as possible because this could lead to a serious legal issue if you were to do this for the wrong person or you break a piece of equipment. I have run into this as well I either charge for the service or ask the people to bring their equipment in and I look at it if I have free time or you could just say I am working on a relatives system at the moment an do not have the time if you use this enough maybe they will get the hint. If you are using this too get ahead be careful just make sure you are compensated for the action.

    • #2713988

      Dont be a corporate stooge

      by sharkbited ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      Tell these corporate hacks that unless they are providing the security, extra tools,money and most important of all time needed for you to work on their systems..that they can stuff it. This is what I am talking about in the state of IT today .Corporations dont want to pay professionals what they are worth and on top of that they want you to fix their stuff too. Once you start this train rolling you will regret it.

    • #2714708

      Same Deal

      by robertkross ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I too work at a law firm and I am forced to deal with these same issues even as far as fixing the childerns pda’s and mp3 players.
      I was not told about this when I took this job. When I questioned supervsioin about this they stated it was part of the job. I know my choice to take this job would have been altered given what I know now about what the “expect” from the network administrator. I think the big problem here is that these people do see value in what the IT department does or can do. Given time to research and test products and Ideas departments should be able to do great things beside fixing a 13 year olds IPOD.
      Haileyan used the word monkey to discribe how he feels I would chose a differnt word that starts with the letter b and ends with itch.
      I am hopeful that my next position puts me a large department where I can get away from this sort of thing.

      • #2714632

        cross reference!!!!!1

        by husp1 ·

        In reply to Same Deal

        I think I got the perfect solution, just make sure that they all download spyware nuker!!!

    • #2716218

      Take It With A Grain Of Salt

      by ldsibert ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I would set limits, bring it to me & I’ll fix it during business hours and when time permits, You do have a Network to support first. This is going to be the part of the job “you do not like” but what can you do? Turn a positive into a negative, show them your expertise and fix their problem quickly, and silently.

    • #2716078

      Perspective

      by tekcis ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      Eight hours of the day we work with people thus making this important to acquire and maintain a certain level of friendlyness to co-workers especially the Boss or CEO. If the bosses wife is misserable because of her computer at home while the boss has his computer at work doing just great, we have a problem. People are so alike. No matter how qualified you are for a job, if people do not like you, your job becomes unstable. However, If you are liked, your flaws will be easily overlooked rather than used as a jab at your work. Therefore, supporting the CEO’s wife just makes you more of a likable guy, not a monkey. Educate her about the PC with respect and gentleness and she will try to follow through with your advice about her PC. She will also speak very well of you in the late, personal moments to her husband, which will become a star next to your name.

    • #2716008

      Network Administrator or Personal Task Guru?

      by networks ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      Dear Administrator,

      I was in a same fix couple of years back, and when I was sure that there is no way out I planned out this scenario as per office policies & strucutre. And I defined 2 rules for computers in personal use;

      1) I reinstalled the bugging PCs as per inpractice procedures (as in office)
      2) I configured auto-services for securities & recoveries
      3) Implemented local policies to avoid installations by users themselves
      4) Clearly communicated that their will be no on-site personal services other than networking

      See, you have to go through this botheration once, rest you ‘ll act like a GURU not a Monkey.

      Good Luck!

    • #2715890

      Reply toNetwork Administrator or Personal Task Monkey

      by ebmercado ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      The only thing I can advice you, learn to say “NO” the next time they ask your service. It’s legally not part of your job and responsibilities for the company you work with.
      I think they will understand if you open politely this matter.

    • #2718412

      Ignore the previous responces

      by seanc ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      Hi,

      Firstly I do not like to see my fellow hard working professionals in these situations. Secondly, I take my hat off to you for asking for advice on this matter.

      Thirdly, some of the previous responces are a bunch of Crap. I think some of the people need to look a little further than their elbow and do some constructive laterall thinking.

      If they need their machines to conduct company business then you are responsible for them. However, there is a solution for this. The normal end-user only knows what they need. They do not have any insight into the best and most efficient way of doing it as regards to IT. You have to convince them of the best IT solution that will be more productive for the company. Given the fact that you already work long hours, you need a solution that does not detract from your primary duties but also allow the Lawyers to work at home easily. As you have a controlled environment, I suggest you extend this to home machines. If they want you to support the hardware, they should have laptop computers that they can bring to the office. If they just want home machines then the only way to support them properly is to use MICROSOFT TERMIANL SERVER with a CITRIX CLIENT running on the desktops. This will mean that no matter what they have on the home PC, it will not affect them working and they will have the same environment as in the office.

      If you need any further advice, let mw know.

      USE THE TECHNOLOGY !!!!!!

    • #2718411

      Ignore the previous responces

      by seanc ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      Hi,

      Firstly I do not like to see my fellow hard working professionals in these situations. Secondly, I take my hat off to you for asking for advice on this matter.

      Thirdly, some of the previous responces are a bunch of Crap. I think some of the people need to look a little further than their elbow and do some constructive laterall thinking.

      If they need their machines to conduct company business then you are responsible for them. However, there is a solution for this. The normal end-user only knows what they need. They do not have any insight into the best and most efficient way of doing it as regards to IT. You have to convince them of the best IT solution that will be more productive for the company. Given the fact that you already work long hours, you need a solution that does not detract from your primary duties but also allow the Lawyers to work at home easily. As you have a controlled environment, I suggest you extend this to home machines. If they want you to support the hardware, they should have laptop computers that they can bring to the office. If they just want home machines then the only way to support them properly is to use MICROSOFT TERMIANL SERVER with a CITRIX CLIENT running on the desktops. This will mean that no matter what they have on the home PC, it will not affect them working and they will have the same environment as in the office.

      If you need any further advice, let mw know.

      USE THE TECHNOLOGY !!!!!!

    • #2722114

      Legalities of the issue

      by bleyd ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I believe that there are certain legalities that should concern you. You may be held personally responsible for information lost or damage done on the home computers whether by accident or not (i.e. formatting the HDD, reloading OS software, etc.). And these being lawyers’ computers I would be especially aware of this responsibility and liability. If you do decide to work on their computers at home then I would definitely recommend having waivers signed somewhere along the way stating that you will not be held personally or professionally responsible for any loss on the computer including any kind of hardware or software whether it be 1st, 2nd, or 3rd party. And, yes, include pirated software into that whole deal because now that you are being told that you are responsible for home PC support you will also be held responsible for licensing of all their software.

    • #2721558

      Law Office Migrant Worker

      by bfilmfan ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      That is what your true job title should be.

      And if you are friendly with one of the other partners in the firm, ask that person for legal advice. You do work for a law firm…

    • #3312625

      Been there, done that!

      by mikev9 ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      If they are “bucks up”, why not ask for an entry level assistant to be hired and report to you. Have that person do the ‘monkey’ work. Also, establish security and environmental standards and practices, and be hard nosed about it. Consistency will reduce support effort. They need to understand that these computers represent a potential security breach to corporate network. If you really have it good, get the company to purchase ‘work’ computers for home so the ‘kiddie’ factor is minimized. Good luck, but be firm and don’t let this get out of control early or it will be a nightmare!!!

    • #3303425

      Its an IRS tax issue

      by sstolar ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      An employer can tell you to do whatever they want you to do for the company. Once they tell you to perform personal services(fix their home computer) and deduct your salary, milage and other related expenses as a business expense on firm’s income tax, they are violating the tax code. Turn them in to the IRS anonymously.

    • #3299687

      Point of View

      by mch2 ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      First, IANAL. (apparently, you’ve got enough of them in your life) I cannot speak to the legality of the scope of your job responsibilies, but let me say this:

      Lawyers are basically working all the time. I can see where they would consider their home computing equipment to be part of their business. Not having accounted for this in any policies and procedures is a grievous error. That said, it’s probably too late to attempt to exclude that equipment from your responsibity. If all of the partners agree that it’s in their (and therefore, their company’s) best interest for you to support their home-based equipment, you probably have no choice. You may, however, have the power to reject the request for “home visits” depending upon a job description or the wording used to advertise the job before you accepted it (ie. travel not expected). I also would be surprised if you could be forced to perform the services offsite after “normal” business hours.

      That said, I *have* had experience with this, so let me share it with you. In each *new* instance (job) in which the CEO or owner has requested service of his home computer, I *nicely* asked him to bring it to me, which he did. At that time, I explained that it is not normal for someone in my postition to be servicing a computer that is not a company asset and that I cannot accept any liability associated with providing a service that is not covered by my job (essentially, this is a freebie). In almost every case, it was the last time I was asked to provide service and I even received gift certificates and other gifts for providing assistance. In the cases of the “repeat offenders,” I encouraged them to let me order mobile computers for them to take between the office and home, so that 1)I could provide better service, in the office, and 2)The equipment would be covered under my written policies, including those that make the users responsible for obeying the acceptable use agreements.

      If your objections are related to your ego, you will have a hard time convincing your employer that should not be servicing private equipment. If you can state your case, without emotion, and prove that the quality of your normal work will suffer, causing an increase in cost, you should prevail. If not, your best recourse is to seek alternate employment.

    • #3317446

      Create a personal policy, then make it business policy.

      by dngunraj ·

      In reply to Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

      I faced the same problem. I work for a government agency and people decided they wanted to bring in their personal computers so that I could “look at it.”

      That’s exactly what I did. I looked at it, then I looked at them. As stipulated in Department Regulation, no machine untagged (without an Asset ID # and barcode) is allowed within the premises because that would be a horrible security violation, subject to penalty.

      The other problem I had to conquer was that people wanted to call my mobile number so I can answer some questions. My response was an odd glare and an instant reminder that no service comes without a cost, whatever it may be. They said I would pay your for it. In that case, I am sure I would be happy to consult them.

      Plain and simply, IT or not (but especially IT), you have to have to teach people how to treat you. I believe in classical conditioning, but there are other ways out there. If you lay down then people will walk all over you, unless you are laying down the law. Don’t let ’em treat you like this; if they valued you and your services they would act differently, and it’s time they do in light of this. Enumerate your proliferations, as well as your concerning. And for the sake of us all… STAND UP FOR YOURSELF!!!

      TTYL,
      -Dean.

Viewing 102 reply threads