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Network Administrator or Personal Task Monkey?

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.

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by angloman In reply to Is there that many job's ...

Yeah, and ask if they need their lawn mowed too...
Two words:
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.

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Thank you sir, may I have another?

by DocWade In reply to Is there that many job's ...

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.

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Yes Dorothy, there are that many jobs out here.

by jnoble In reply to Is there that many job's ...

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.



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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, 24x7 no more..."

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by haileyan In reply to This is the right track.. ...
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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.

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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 -

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Send us your Resume

by timseery In reply to If is a Partner - they pa ...

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

Send your resume to

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.

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Right on Roger!

by info In reply to Go Ahead

Absolutely Roger is right!

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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.

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