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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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Don't bottle it up

by pedwards17 In reply to What a nighmare you are i ...

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).

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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.

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I have been there.. the solution.. perhaps

by dkhird In reply to What a nighmare you are i ...

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?

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Have Business Card- Will Travel....

by JohannCox In reply to What a nighmare you are i ...

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.

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by chuck.warren 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.


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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.

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was that in an english speaking country?

by camjes In reply to No Escape, but Excuses ca ...

just wondering (:

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Personal monkey

by snolette In reply to Network Administrator or ...

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....

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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

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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.

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