General discussion


PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

By fbaisch ·
The CEO?s admin. assistant brought her personal computer into the office this morning and wants me "clean up" the system so she can give it away to her son and his wife later this month.

Here is a copy of the text of her email:

"Between your desk and filing cabinet, I placed my old computer hard drive from home. This was replaced by the Dell laptop. What I would like to do is have the hard drive ?sanitized.? In essence, ALL files, etc. deleted. When it is ?empty,? I have included all the software for the programs I would like to have installed. This is being given to my son and his wife when they come out this month for a visit. They will not be arriving until the 20th. As this is obviously not work-related, there is no rush, but I was hoping to have it ready for them when they arrive."

Now if my boss decides that I should do this, I don't think he should but he is not the most "forceful" of managers and I think he will have me do it. What I want is to address this situation in an email letting them know that I do not think this is an appropriate use of not only my time, but the parent company's money. We are a small company under a major worldwide company's umbrella and I am sure that they would not appreciate this too. Also, I have no idea of the software she gave me is for this computer or another one, like her new laptop. She does not completely understand the copyright laws regarding software. I know this from past experiences with her and software installs and having worked as a private consultant in the past, I will not load illegal software onto any computer.

How would you handle this?


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Make sure you document

by mjd420nova In reply to PC maintenance of persona ...

Send an e-mail back to the assistant and copy ot to your boss. That way he knows of the request and that you are asking your boss for guidance in this matter. If he replies, whatever his decision, your butt is covered. Maybe even send a copy of the assistants original e-mail to him so he knows about the original request for your dervices and proposed usage of your time. I've been down this road before and if you CYA then it won't be you who gets the ax should corporate not approve. You have to think about what corporate may think, as they can terminate anyone for any reason should they not think it is appropriate for you to spend your time doing personal favors, with your bosses approval. I know what it's like, but it's best for all and will work out in the long run, especially when it comes to loading pirated software.

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Respond directly to the person involved

by seank In reply to Make sure you document

She had the boldness to expect this of you. Youshould go directly to her face to face and explain that you don't agree that it's good work ethic to do it during work hours. Give her a 'quote' if she's willing for you to do it after hours in your personal capacity - people like that are normally unwilling to pay for such a service. Else, you won't do it during work hours.
Speak directly to her be straight up and open and express how you feel to the person involved.
Most people respect that kind of response, but Should she respond negativly - then you have the riht to include the CEO and any other autority responsible over her.

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by cewallace In reply to Respond directly to the p ...

Executive Assistants/Secretaries can weild tremendous power.
Depending on your relationship with the individual you have
several choices. I have taken PCs/Laptops home where the time
invested is my business. I enjoy playing with computing
equipment, that is why I am in this business.
Otherwise, depending on my Boss, I will either forward the
email and ask what to do or place the PC/Laptop in a
conspicuous place on my desk or other surface where my boss
will see it , maybe with a large post-it affixed with the assistants
name scrawled on it and wait for the Boss to ask" Whats this".
Where-upon I will tell him/her and see what they say.
I have found that it is generally a good idea not to make waves
directly. But time does need to be accounted for some way. So
be diplomatic and as the Coneheads say, try to maintain "Low

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Bravo, well said

by sully In reply to OH, AND CAN YOU DO THIS I ...

Yup, this is great advice. Thanks for revealing your experience. This takes care of everyone involved and takes you out of the limelight as a possible problem.

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Go for it

by Kiltie In reply to OH, AND CAN YOU DO THIS I ...

I agree with cewallace, CEOs admin assistants are very very powerful, and who knows when you want someone like that owing you a favour down the line?

However, be careful, try and do as much as you can in your own time. Good idea to be open with your boss, if he is of the amenable type, only you know the personalities involved, so up to you on that one.

You said you have done something similar for her before? Then your conscience should not bother you too much then. If it helps, tell yourself a "little white lie" and convince yourself that this is a live backup for her system, forget about what she intends to do with it later.

On a technical note, you need to discuss the details with her, as the system can only be installed on the computer for which it is intended. So tell her that, if you have any qualms, then by all means bring that up too, but only AFTER discussing the first part, the technical side. That way shows you are willing, just merely discussing the details....

imho it is worth the possible risks, as the future benefits down the road surely outweigh them.

However, to repeat, this is contingent on the personalities involved, so it's up to you to judge. In a small company this should work, (which you say you are in) - larger corporations are different, with many rules and regulations to negotiate.

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What amazes me

by jdclyde In reply to Go for it

are the people here that don't understand what you very clearly said.

"CEOs admin assistants are very very powerful,"

Yeah, let your ego make an enemy out of this person. I am sure that will help you advance quite nicely.

Just make sure you have YOUR bosses blessings.

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Never do this type of thing

by david.tinch In reply to OH, AND CAN YOU DO THIS I ...

You job is to fix compay equipment. Explane this to her. Tell her that if you fix her's then the anyone in the compay would expect the same. Now you spend days fixing personal PC's and the compay pays the bills and gets no work done. She should understand there should be some type of company policy in regards to this.

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Don't Do that!!!!!

by sully In reply to Respond directly to the p ...

No please, don't do it. Don't go to her and give her a quote for doing it off business hours. Also, don't ever lay out how you feel about something as feelings and business are a bad match. Just look into your gut and ask yourself:
1. Is this something that people in your org are used to asking IT to do? (it's not out of the ordinary despite other replies, it's actually common).
2. Are you taking this personally that she is "demanding" that you do it? I didn't read any demands, her email was polite and she is asking for your expert help. Just guide her if you decide to do it.
3. Illegal software installation is a crime, you're spot on for questioning it; however, be carefull to accuse, assume, or otherwise bring to light a user's nievity over your expertise. Be an expert and provide solid expert advice regarding all of this. If she puts up a stink then follow up with her and her boss appropriately, maybe just with her boss. Your biggest referrals in business will come from people who know others within your organization. The attention they get is how they perceive the company. Think bigger picture and take care of her, she is part of your company. Also, if you are taking this personally, then stop it. It's not personal, she's not playing a "card" on you because she works for a big boss, in fact, the big boss probably suggested that she bring it to you because you are good at what you do. Take the compliment and remember she said, "no rush". If you take the challenge, keep her posted on progress, and do what you can. It doesn't take that long to wipe clean a HDD and reinstall OS and apps. Run the updates, keep it off the corporate network, and get it done when you can. Ask any medical doctor or nurse if they would refuse expert attention to an employee and they'd look at you cross eyed for asking. Of course they would, it's often an unspoken advantage of working for experts like that. This isn't brain surgery.

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I agree with you ...

by tbmay In reply to Don't Do that!!!!!

...assuming point number one is actually the case. Your company's culture will dictate the appropriate thing to do. If this is cool with the boss, do it. If this is an effort to slip in personal support under the radar, in the hopes that her boss doesn't know about it, that's a different matter. I have seen MANY issues of what I just described. People actually hope the work will be done on the sly. If the lady was not trying to hide anything, it's probably not a problem.

Get your bosses approval. If he gives it, do it.

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Not demanding?

by Fablanta In reply to Don't Do that!!!!!

I would disagree with you on a few points.

Polite would have been to ask beforehand. She could even have brought it in and kept it in her car then, if given the okay, say well actually I?ve bought it with me. By dumping it in his office he is given no opportunity to refuse. If he says no she is the one who would feel aggrieved.

She has also imposed a time limit of at most 20 days. In fact the 20th could be less than a week away. During which time you have to find 2 ? 3 hours out of your schedule/free time to install and setup an operating system plus a few applications. If the driver for that outdated modem or soundcard proves to be illusive you could spend much more time on it.

I would also disagree about ?not playing a card?. I doubt whether saying no to Gary from sales, would have held the same implications. She must know she wields a degree of power, even if it is indirect, over him.

If the situation were reversed do you think she would spend an hour of her time typing in that manuscript you dumped on her desk in the hope that you would repay the favour at a later date.

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