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  • #2258495

    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?


All Comments

  • Author
    • #3198975

      Make sure you document

      by mjd420nova ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      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.

      • #3201328

        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.

        • #3230685


          by cewallace ·

          In reply to Respond directly to the person involved

          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

        • #3201182

          Bravo, well said

          by sully ·

          In reply to OH, AND CAN YOU DO THIS IN YOUR !SPARE! TIME??

          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.

        • #3200973

          Go for it

          by kiltie ·

          In reply to OH, AND CAN YOU DO THIS IN YOUR !SPARE! TIME??

          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.

        • #3282938

          What amazes me

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Go for it

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

          [i]”CEOs admin assistants are very very powerful,”[/i]

          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.

        • #3229343

          Never do this type of thing

          by david.tinch ·

          In reply to OH, AND CAN YOU DO THIS IN YOUR !SPARE! TIME??

          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.

        • #3201185

          Don’t Do that!!!!!

          by sully ·

          In reply to Respond directly to the person involved

          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.

        • #3201104

          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.

        • #3203159

          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.

      • #3200720

        Be Politically careful

        by aa8vs ·

        In reply to Make sure you document

        What is not stated, could it be possible the CEO has already volunteered you? She then just assumes you know about that and is merely stating her requirements, in a nice way.

      • #3200585

        Exactly, and then…

        by jamesgrimes9 ·

        In reply to Make sure you document

        …check up on the software she says she wants loaded. As long as its not pirated, then you should be fine. But if it is, it could put you, and the business, in a bind.

    • #3198962

      Choose your battles. Don’t complain in this case.

      by stress junkie ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      We all have a sense of what is right and what is wrong. I applaud your sense of propriety. In theory you are correct. However, the CEO’s assistant didn’t get where she is by being unpopular. I suspect that the CEO highly regards her services, which he/she experiences every day. There is undoubtedly a raport between them.

      This is a situation where politics is everything. And by everything I mean everything to do with your future with this business. Just do the task, smile, and appear to be happy about having had the opportunity to help the assistant. You will benefit if you take this approach.

      Of course you have to let your direct report manager know about this in advance. I am confident that he/she will tell you the same thing I said.

      • #3201306

        I agree

        by mark.naylor ·

        In reply to Choose your battles. Don’t complain in this case.

        I agree, your technical expertise has been seen(and you may have been recommended by another employee,so therefore not technically her fault, although her abuptness in the email wasn’t the nicest way of asking).
        I would see this as another apportunity to gain an strong ally within the company. You may need their support at some point, it’s also amazing what little conversations go on about us without our knowledge…wouldn’t it be better if they were nice?

      • #3230707

        quit yer bitchin’ and just do it!

        by squaredge ·

        In reply to Choose your battles. Don’t complain in this case.

        This may take a total of an hour of your attention strecthed out over a day or two. This woman has the ear of the CEO… and you don’t want to bowl her over with your charm and help?

        I would say not doing it is career suicide.

        • #3230630

          Wow, this is a tough one

          by apape ·

          In reply to quit yer bitchin’ and just do it!

          I was in a similar situation. The boss asked me to do things just like that, though my boss never used an email. He would just pop in my office with the equipment, so it was impossible to say no.

          Later in my career, a number of things caused my relationship with this boss to change and my actions WERE used against me later.

          This time, boss used email to accuse me of “misappropriating company time” to his superiors which gave him leverage to eventually terminate my position.

          I urge you to watch you ass on this one. I agree with previous poster that NOT to do it would be bad. But to do it UNDOCUMENTED would also be bad.

          To be fair, my story is not as sad as it sounds. My position was eliminated for financial reasons for the company, not solely based on this libelous acusation. The boss who made that accusation was fired at the same time as me. 🙂

        • #3200903

          how do you know she has the ear of the CEO?

          by unclerob ·

          In reply to quit yer bitchin’ and just do it!

          … methinks by chance you work for a company similar to Enron or WorldCom, maybe Tyco?


          Standup for yourself, stop being a lap dog!
          Straighten up that thing you call a spine and have some pride in what you do!

      • #3230695

        Unzip your pants

        by zemi ·

        In reply to Choose your battles. Don’t complain in this case.

        Just let the computer sit there. When she comes to you and asks what the hold up is…unzip your pants. Works everytime brotha.

        • #3230646

          You mean; to get you fired?

          by rlgoers ·

          In reply to Unzip your pants

          Cute reply, but with all of the sexual harassment training we get, you’d be promptly escorted out if you pulled a stunt like that.

        • #3200906

          well that post definitely wasn’t expected…

          by unclerob ·

          In reply to Unzip your pants

          “brotha”, hopefully you don’t mind me asking “What the hell are you thinking?!”

          Do you want to get the guy placed behind bars?

        • #3229078

          Can tell where u work

          by dgr814vr ·

          In reply to Unzip your pants

          And how long will u be there?

          A valid discussion is turned to mudsling

          I would suggest confirming the task requirements with you boss and the ethics with his exec assistant

        • #3204925

          She harassed first

          by rheaton ·

          In reply to Unzip your pants

          Correct me if I’m wrong. The computer was placed in between the desk and filing cabinet right? This indicates that the CEO’s administrative assistant knows that this should be a covert operation, otherwise why did she not put the unit on the desk (easier to do that then to bend over and place it on the floor).

          Many of the respondents to this blog have identified that she is in a position of power i.e. “possible gatekeeper to your future” , etc. She is definitely using her perceived position of power to influence your response to her request, man, look at the quandary she has created in your mind … this has perplexed you dude. It may not be sexual, but it is definitely harassment.

          Best course of action … tell her to deliver the unit to your home, you normally charge $X per hour for this sort of work and see her response. The other suggestion would be to have her clear it with the CEO and have him send you an e-mail confirming that he is agreeable to her request.

      • #3230564

        You open the flood gates

        by sniperlt ·

        In reply to Choose your battles. Don’t complain in this case.

        If you do this. The the word gets around. “The IT guy can help you” You end up doing nothing but working on personal computers and giving out personal computer related advise. and then working overtime without pay if you are on salary to get you actual work done. Trust me this has happened to me in my former jobs.

      • #3230427

        Politics isn’t everything…. Stand up for what you know is right.

        by shamusoneil06 ·

        In reply to Choose your battles. Don’t complain in this case.

        I’d rather hold my head up high and know that I:

        1) Didn’t steal from my company.
        2) Didn’t help another steal from my company.
        3) Didn’t help another steal from a software company.
        4) Didn’t do something I knew was wrong.

        To do other than #4 is go to render oneself a spineless snail with no real authority in any area.

        If you can’t stand up for what you think is right, you’re going to get bounced around like a tin can before you know it.

        It’s called Integrity. You either have it and are happy, or you don’t and become just another ball on the table accepting cues.

    • #3198955


      by w2ktechman ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      I have been in similar situations. But, the people usually ask me if I will first. My response is this.
      My company work comes first, after which, if I make plans for after hours, that is a priority. If and only if I have time to work on it I will.

      I do not charge for the service, and I inform them that the best bet is to take it to a shop, especially since it can sit for several weeks/months. If they are fine with that, I have no problem working on it. And if I get it done quickly, I usually get a gift card or something.
      But, I usually do the work after hours, or on the occasional day that I have excess free time.

    • #3198911

      Owners family only

      by oldbag ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      I do work on some personal PC but only for the family of the company owner. This is a privately owned company. In many cases, I have purchased the computer, configured it and have all software licence information recorded. If the bosses wife is having problems, it does not matter if I work on it during business hours but keeping the business computer systems in good working order does come first.

      I do not work on any other personal computers at the office. I will occasionally give advice but that is as far as it goes.

    • #3284077

      valuable opportunity

      by bob_steel ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      Grab all personal info and details of porn sites off the hard drive and use it as blackmail to get a promotion

    • #3201335

      Who Gets the Bill

      by dogknees ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      Ask her what her client code is so you can bill her for the time.

      • #3201333


        by pivert ·

        In reply to Who Gets the Bill

        Been there, done that. Am I wrong in thinking that you are -25yrs? I say this because I’ve noticed that most young people have this black/white views but as you grow older, you notice that there are a looooooooot of greys. And this grey situation could earn you bonus points (when you bump into the manager, ask “how is that pc doing”) stuff like that. I think the new expression is “networking”. the Romans called it “do ut des” I think. no, I’m not that old!

        • #3201271

          grey, but also black and white (somewhat)

          by syberlane ·

          In reply to grey

          I agree with the “old guy” however, it’s also good to let people know that what you are doing isn’t magic! Unfortunately, today much of the work IT does is transparent in nature. That being said, the fact that it is the CEO?s admin, explain that you can do the work but make it clear that this ?sanitizing? as she calls it, is more of a PC overhaul and requires time and effort. If she needs it by a specific date and it conflicts with your schedule tell her she may be better off taking it to a shop or calling a service similar to Geek Squad (i.e. don’t over extend yourself).

        • #3230511

          they will not take it to geek squad

          by sniperlt ·

          In reply to grey, but also black and white (somewhat)

          Thats the poing of bringing it to the “IT” guy. You will do it for free or a lot less then they would pay by taking it into a shop. Thats the very reason that the Admin Assistant brought the computer to the original poster. She wanted it done for free and done on her time frame.

          To me the point is not the money the point is that I just becasue I work for the company I am not each employees 24/7 computer problem solver.

        • #3230470


          by syberlane ·

          In reply to they will not take it to geek squad

          That was my point exactly… Instead of saying screw off let the person understand 1) what they are actually asking for and 2) ultimately –what you can, can’t, or won’t do.

        • #3200529

          real question

          by pivert ·

          In reply to Yep

          the real question most of the time is: what has happened, can you help me? and if you can’t: what do i tell in the store/shop and how do i avoid being ripped off. I always take a look at the pc when they ask me. a: it keeps me up to date (virus, hardware,…) and b: the user feels helped because you (the expert) looked at it

      • #3201332


        by mr auld ·

        In reply to Who Gets the Bill

        Do the work at home and send her a bill for your time!

    • #3201326

      Suspicious. Many reasons to refuse.

      by edwart ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      In your situation, I would like to refuse the favor. First, because it counsumes your working hours. Then, because you are in doubt whether the installation of programs is legal. And finally, because this can be a test for you, especially in matter of your loyalty to the Company, and your ability to proper manage your time. Even the fact, that she did not talk to you directly, seems suspicious to me. You may be – not knowingly – involved in destroing the evidence of some fraud.

      As you can see, there is many reasons to do not touch the drive. Put it in your drawer and ask her to come and get it back. There is no need to reveal all the reasons. You can explain, that you cannot do this not having the whole computer, because there are hardware-specific device drivers to be installed, there may be compatibility problems between HDD geometrics and BIOS etc. You can offer her to deliver all the stuff to your home, or invite you to do the work in some other place – in your free time.


      • #3282908

        I hadn’t thought of that

        by kiltie ·

        In reply to Suspicious. Many reasons to refuse.

        Good point there edwart:
        “You may be – not knowingly – involved in destroing the evidence of some fraud.”

        In which case, it would be wise to CYA “just in case”

        On the quiet (if you do decide to go ahead) image the system, and/or backup the data from the drive.

        Keep it somewhere safe, and, as others have wisely said, document, document….

        • #3200541

          Keep the relation clear

          by edwart ·

          In reply to I hadn’t thought of that

          > On the quiet (if you do decide to go ahead) image
          > the system, and/or backup the data from the drive.

          IMO it is not good idea. There must be a reason to keep the data that are not your property. To make such copy you must perform intended action, and in that case you cannot say that you did it “not knowingly”. You copied the data and… what then? If you suspect some malicious action, you should inform the police. If you don’t, either there is no need to keep these data, or you must be aware, that some day the police may contact you and ask, why you did you keep the evidence and not informed them…

          Let me say again, IMO the best action is not to touch the drive until you do not plan to do some blackmail to that person… 😉

          Anyway, probably there is no fraud and no bad intentions, but you should make it clear, whether it is a order or a favor. Keep the relation clear: either it is company-employee or human-human, but not something in between. Nothing good comes out from that.


    • #3201325

      Beware of traps!

      by koen.walraevens ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      In this case I personnaly dont’t think there’s a way to refuse. ‘She’ thinks of you somewhat as someone who’se there to be used.
      Do it, screw it ?! (install but do just what’s necessary). Make sure to not take too much time in installing OR put it first in line and don’t do anything else but her installation. If ever questions arise: point out that you received an email form your CEO and that it’s of extreme importance!
      That will throw a new light at things. Don’t be afraid to show your strength but know your weaknesses. For Example: If you were to ‘jump’ for every request from her (or anyone else for that matter) they will NOT respect you. To earn respect: don’t give in! Show you also have an opinion.

    • #3201320


      by rogerfairfield ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      The situation is a little dodgy, apart from the time taken to sanitize his PC, there is the hidden problem of,”what happens if I do not comply”. If you have a good working relationship with your CEO then you may want to help. Using a lunch break for instance. Pointing out to him that this would be the only time available, “oh and by the way, do you realise i cannot install this illegal software because it is against my professional ethos”. is a good way of pointing out that he is kicking the butt out of his position.
      At the end of the day he cannot order you to do it , he can however put some pressure your way if you impolitely refuse.

    • #3201294

      Simply check with the boss

      by magictom ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      I would simply check with the boss, if he allows me to do it.
      If he says “yes”, I would execute.
      I am not the police.


    • #3201292

      my rates are:

      by nettaroni ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      I would tell her that since the job is not job related, it would have to be done on my own time and then I’d tell her my rate of payment. Being a tech myself I often have folk trying to obtain free services without considering the cost of my time and knowledge. Also, I’d give her a free lesson on the ethics and legalities of software infringement.

    • #3201280

      Don’t be such a pansy…

      by wartickler ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      Do the work and shut it. This is for the CEO. Brownie points anyone? Ask for compensation if you can’t see the political gain from doing this.

      You also make it sound like they just thrust this on you. If someone Told me to work on their computer it’s different from Asking me to. But since you’re a pansy and wanted to bring this online then you deserve a minor flame: Butt.

      • #3201273


        by rickcaird ·

        In reply to Don’t be such a pansy…

        Yeah, I always prefer making enemies rather than friends. It just seems to work out so well.

      • #3201178

        Wow……..A flame is a flame bro!!!!

        by sully ·

        In reply to Don’t be such a pansy…

        With the nations economy in focus, one would not fixate upon misappropriating corporate funds and think it to be a valuable move. Furthermore, not all posters here are seasoned IT pros and they take the time to sort out the questions that their companies can’t answer. This user needs some clarity not abuse. I can’t find one piece of valuable advice in your post. This site has great value for all kinds of IT pros, new and old alike, and to think that any of us have total confidence in making “difficult” decisions when in a new environment would be wrong. We all question what we do or we are subject to sociopathic labeling. I am glad to see this conversation being had, it’s important for business, politics, economy, and personal worthiness. I find this user to have a great deal of courage to face this complex idea and I’m confident that if more of these “types” of conversations are had and resolved then companies will function better and IT folks will be better prepared and more effective.

    • #3201272

      Don’t Do It

      by trsnell ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      Leave it to your manager to make the decision. At least you have that buffer. I have to take these directly back to the boss of the requestor if they do not back off. This is beyond inappropriate. Do you have written policies that deal with support of home PCs?

    • #3230734

      Your Time is Money!

      by fredz ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      I would explain to her that this is not part of your job. You are not getting paid to do this and you could get fired. However, you would be happy to help her for a small fee and do it away from work. She shouldn’t even be asking you in the first place. But, don’t give your time away without a benefit. It cheapens your talents.

    • #3230694

      Face the same situation daily

      by sparker ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      I am in a large law firm in Dallas and almost daily I am asked to work on personal computers.The partners, and associate lawyers, pay my salary so if they want to pay me to do their personal work as well on “company time”, that’s their business. I have never asked for additional pay for work done during normal hours,but they often offer to pay me extra and I have gotten free sports tickets, dinners, and other things. I also offer a home service at my normal on-site hourly rate, and have been in many of their homes.

      I make it clear that I will not load illegal software or copy firm owned software and most are more than willing to buy operating systems, etc. Just be honest with them and as long as your boss permits it, do the work. The good will and customer service skills will pay off. I have gotten many referrals outside of the firm.

      • #3230678

        Sparkler makes good points

        by tig2 ·

        In reply to Face the same situation daily

        A couple of key points-

        You must communicate the use of time to your manager. It is his budget, he is responsible for how you use your time. That communication should be written- you both get a clear understnding of expectations that way.

        Scrub the drive- easy enough to do. Once teh drive is clean however, the Admin Asst must understand that you will not load any software for her that she does not provide an original disk (and often keys) for. Let her know that this is not your rule, it is the law. If you wish, you may choose to point out some alternatives to her but that additional service is up to you.

        If that point is escalated, you have grounds for your position- your management cannot force you to violate the law.

        The customer service aspect of the request is key- you may find yourself growing a sideline as a result. You will certainly show your management two things- wilingness to help in a situation “above and beyond” and integrity (not willing to violate the law, willing to explain the limitations).

        I agree that no one should assume that you will give your services but in this case, it is an opportunity to show yourself well and maintain your integrity.

        Good luck to you!

    • #3230691

      Was it used for work?

      by tsteele ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      Being the CEO’s admin assistant, it is possible that she used the laptop for work-related purposes and thus, could have confidential company data on it. In such a case, it would certainly be a valid request to have it “sanitized” by the company IT department.

    • #3230689

      No Brainer

      by rob ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      She’s the CEO’s secretary. You just do it.

      FIRST, you talk to her directly to tell her what you can do and what you will do so that her expectations aren’t out of line. Once she’s clear on what you can do, then spend the couple of hours and do it.

      She is in a position to make your life better or miserable. It may not be correct, but welcome to the grown up world of office politics. I know a lot of morally and legally correct IT people that are unemployed!!

    • #3230682

      I don’t have a problem with this…providing

      by joe woodward ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      I will fix an employee’s home computer problem at the office. But there are a few conditions. One, I have to have time available to do it. Two, they have to bring the computer into the office. I do NOT make house calls. Three, I are not liable for any ensuing problems.

      I don’t accept any gratutities for doing the work (not even cookies).

    • #3230681

      You decide

      by paul.desjardins ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      There are many ways to handle this. Unfortunately, many of them could work, and many could fail. However, of all the advice people here are giving you, including myself, this is up to you and only you. Don’t go solely by what everyone says because you will have to pay the price. Take advice, but handle it your own way.

      Personally, I would of course keep the email. She is stating herself that it is not work related. Therefore, if any issues arise, this can be referenced later. If you feel you are correct in your thoughts, then tell her that you charge for such services. That way you aren’t totally killing her expectations. If you are worried about charging, then charge very cheaply. I do that and people usually are fine with that.

      Then, document everything. Ask your CEO if he thinks you are doing a good job for him. If you get a positive response, but later after refusing this work you get a negative response, then you can document that and have something to show if your relationship with them goes south. Unfortunately, people in those positions have alot of influence, but just be really nice and it can often times be hard for them to be difficult.

      That’s my 2 cents, but remember, it’s up to you.

    • #3230650

      Check with the assistant…

      by ivefallen ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      to see if it’s okay to take the PC home. That way, you can perform the work in the comfort of your own home without it impacting your work.

    • #3230649

      So many aspects here

      by repo2k3 ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      This is a tough spot, as the wide variety of replies indicates.

      A few respondents seem to ignore the fact that some of most powerful people in any organisation are the Executive PA’s – they have no direct Authority but nobody who picks a battle with them climbs very far up the ladder. Sometimes these PA’s can be vindictive and ‘dangerous’. Treat them with the same respect as you would the CxO themselves or find another job!

      Your time & skills (not to mention dignity) are important however, and be it the CEO, PA, Janitor whoever should not be just waltzing in making demands on your time as if you were a slave. There is a right way & wrong way to get things done. Get people used to treating you like a slave and you’ll be going to their house in personal time for free to ‘fix’ the computer you set up forever more.

      If the company culture and your manager is ok with you doing the work during business hours, there is no problem. Just clear it with whoever has sufficient authority over your time before you start, get it in writing if your Co has a CYA mentality.

      If you need to do it during personal time then you need to be compensated fairly for your time. These days I have better things to do with my time so I just recommend a reputable company/tech who can help them and offer to provide advice & sanity checks on quotes they receive. Many novices are scared of computer shops because they don’t understand and feel they will be ripped off.

      If you take on the work, definitely explain the software piracy aspect & explain you cannot and will not install software unless it is legally obtained or ‘Free for Non-Commercial Use’. If they are unwilling then you should not under any circumstances use company time to pirate software just as you would not be downloading pirated MP3’s/Movies/P0rn for them. The legal risk to the company is too great and no manager would authorise such use of your time.

      Over the years I have helped a number of CEO’s with personal computers, and dealing with these requests in a professional manner has always enhanced my standing. In my first ‘Managerial’ position I helped our computer illiterate CEO become proficient with his home PC, then Corporate Laptop. This led to the CEO developing respect for my skills and knowledge despite me being only 21 and fairly inexperienced.

      I can tell you that having the CEO’s respect comes in handy when you need help to get a project approved or an unpopular policy backed from above.

      If you can play it smart & avoid the potential traps, you can use this simple PC rebuild as an opportunity to increase your profile/reputation.

    • #3230636

      what you haven’t told us

      by sr10 ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      How wired into the power is the CEO’s admin? Is she on solid political ground? Is she “the wife who wears the general’s stars?” Can she make life hell for your boss if she doesn’t get gratified?

    • #3230635

      Just take it home…

      by dumbterminal ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      if you don’t mind doing it, or say no.(check with the boss first)

    • #3230626

      CYA for possible profit

      by best_tech ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      I admit to not having read all 33 responses to date; I did, however, see a couple of subject lines which indicate the answers go from Yin to Yang.

      First rule of business: Always CYA in questionable situations! Drop a copy of her e-mail onto a floppy. All further correspondence should also be saved to both company system and your walk-out disk.

      My response to this individual would be something like: Dear Ms Don’tActSoBlonde, (not being sexist or blondist, since I’m a blonde female GGGG)
      I’d be happy to do this system prep for you, but you must realize that both time and security constraints mean it is not something to do at the office.
      If you’d like me to proceed, I can take the system home and work on it there. My rates for this type of proceedure are $65 per hour, with a minimum rate of $250. It may seem high to you, but I value my time and when I cut into my free time away from the job, it needs to earn me enough to compensate for lost time off.
      In addition, I cannot guarantee I’ll have enough time to meet your deadline.
      If you feel you can locate another service to do what you want, and do not want me to proceed under these terms, please so advise. There will be no hard feelings.


      Not a Sucker

      Foregoing should be backed and cc’d with copy of HER e-mail to the boss you fear. Remember, keep on the SECURITY jag above all else … and if you get canned, you will have a good reason for a new employer to want your services, i.e. company security and dedicated time come first over “favors” to higher-ups.

    • #3230610

      No License No Install

      by jterry ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      I have probably worked on almost as many personal PC’s at work as I have Work PC’s. My boss lets me do this because I can do my job on my PC while I’m working on their PC on my other desk. I like to do it. Also because the PC’s at work are all configured the same and for the most part all running the same software I learn more working on the various personal PC’s. As a word of caution however I would tell her up front that you cannot install any software unless it has a valid license. Tell her this in an e-mail with a cc to you boss. Be diplomatic as she may turn out to be an asset in later situations.

    • #3230595

      Of all the nerve . . .

      by janelk ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      I am currently the admin assistant in the Tech Ed department of a university. (This is a new position, and sadly it pays much better than the instructor position that I had in the past . . .) In any case, I get requests like yours on a regular basis from faculty members, students, etc. In general, I only accept “outside” work if it is from someone that I feel comfortable with and have a clearly stated quote from the beginning. For computer repairs/installs/etc., I also have a written disclaimer that basically says, “If it blows up after I have worked on it, it’s not my problem.” I only take responsibility for the actual work that I perform – with no warranties.

    • #3230586

      happens all the time where i work

      by mindilator9 ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      i get this question asked a lot. i think the difference is, i actually get asked if i would repair their computers, they don’t just dump them in my office and expect them to get done. that’s just plain f’in rude. shame on anyone reading this blog who thinks that’s ok.
      they ask if i can repair their personal computers and depending on my workload i sometimes don’t mind doing it. especially if there’s a mundane task i’d like to put off a little longer, i like to have a nice relaxing afternoon answering TR blogs while the hard drive formats or whatever. if i have to monkey with the hardware, it’s a great time to put on a php podcast and get caught up in my field while i work.
      most of the time though i have no time for that. that’s when i let them know that, no, i can’t do this on company time, but i’ll be glad to take their computer home and repair it at $50/hr. when i do that, i itemize my time and the tasks performed so they know not only what i was doing in the time i billed them, but also the steps i took so they can do the same thing themselves if they have the problem again. i’ve never had anyone complain about my rate, or refusing to repair it on the clock.

    • #3230562

      If the boss doens’t care go for

      by cagedmonkey ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      I have always been of the mind that if my boss supports it then no problem. Yes, it’s the company’s time. But if they are willing to say yes the by all means just do it. You still have to deal with the legitimacy of the software however.

      If I don’t have to do it for free in my spare time all the better. Gives me that much more time with my family.

      It makes the IT department look better to the company too. For me it has worked out pretty good. Because I have done this for many co-workers, with permission from my boss. You never know when one of those people will help you out also. You have a skill most people do not have so use it to your advantage.

      I now get my taxes done for free by our company accountant due to helping him out many times.

      I’ve gotten many free dinners and lunches just for helping people with what I deemed very trivial issues, but to them it was disaster.

    • #3230559

      What’s really getting under your skin

      by t-cally ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      By our very nature none of us are perfect. Not to discredit you by any means but have you been a 100% perfect employee. I appreciate your values and by all means stick to them. Aks if you could do the pc at your home because you aren’t comfortable doing it on work time. As for the software, ask for the authorize software and if she gives it to you assume she is being honest. If she ask for the companys software get permission from the person who authourize the job. I only do home pc work for immeditate family and friends because I don’t want a after hours second job nor people calling me when they jack their pc’s up, so I don’t charge for it but they know I do it on my time not theirs.

    • #3230525


      by james.mccarthy9 ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      I don’t know how big your company is or what possibilities there are for advancement in IT but, in my company, the chance to do a favor for the CEO’s admin would be welcome. It sounds like you have asked your boss if its okay. If the answer is yes, do the best job you can and offer to help the admin and/or the CEO whenever needed. It never hurts to have friends under high places.

    • #3230523

      Authority, Pride, Integrity

      by paymeister ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      AUTHORITY: your supervisor has immediate authority over you, not the other way around. If he tells you to do it, go ahead! His telling you *makes* it company business (though you would be wise to document it, of course).

      PRIDE: Be very cautious about trying to second-guess your bosses. They probably 1) have more time in the biz than you, 2) have seen more and been chewed up more due to bad choices than you, 3) may be party to information you don’t have access to, and 4) have the duly-authorized position to make decisions about what you should do with your time. Quite possibly, his decision to order you to do it might be a perfectly legitimate strategic move which will further the company’s interests – but you’re too far down in the trenches to see everything and may not have the horsepower to evaluate it (No slam intended, but you’ve spent the time becoming a computer expert rather than learning politics – may the Lord preseve me from having to!)

      INTEGRITY – I certainly agree that doing it on company time without boss permission would be wrong. Software: legal only! But if doing the work on company time bothers you even after the boss says it is OK, do it on your own time and do it for free. The sacrifice won’t kill you, you get the points with the Admin, you preserve your integrity, and your going the extra mile and doing it for free on your time speaks very loudly of your desire to help and do what is right… and forstalls any further requests.

      Making sure the Admin knows that you would prefer not to be placed in such a position again would be wise (be gentle); giving her the rates for your consulting time, a name or two of shops in the area, and your help in dealing with them (as suggested above) will keep you from additional requests for freebies.

      • #3230454

        My own boss has asked me to do this but…

        by unclerob ·

        In reply to Authority, Pride, Integrity

        … he never asked me to perform these duties at work because they aren’t work related, they offer no value to the company’s bottom line.

        He invited me to his house during a weekend day & time of my choosing, told me in advance the kind of work he needed done, bought me lunch and paid me some decent cash money out of his own pocket.

        It was work he admitted that he couldn’t do himself and that any work that he’s ever needed done on his vehicles or home or cabin that he couldn’t perform himself was done by a professional and he had to pay them money to perform said work.

        Asking me to do the work for free was the same as saying that my time & skillset has no value to him and that would be an insult to me.

        He’s retired now, a very successful man with alot of money, a big family, a big home and all the toys that he could ever want. He never became successful by taking advantage of anyone – he considered that the same as stealing and that’s not the kind of person he was. That kind of mindset is rare in today’s business culture, which is probably why you hear so much about companies going belly-up and losing money hand over fist. Stealing and taking advantage of people only gets you so far in life and it does catch up with you.

        Acting with integrity, showing great leadership, being innovative, focusing on your customers needs (customers don’t necessarily have to be the person at the other end of the cash register) and having a passion for excellence is what allows you to finish the race as a winner.

        It sounds as if the co-worker trying to get this free work done on their pc has none of these skills/traits whatsoever, I can only imagine what the rest of the company is like if the hiring standards are so poor.

        Don’t give in to freebies ever, you end up setting a precedent which is hard to overturn in the future.

    • #3230518

      Decline gracefully

      by rperkins ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      I have been in this situation several times in the past. The best way to handle this situation is to explain that there are many company projects that are waiting to be addressed and it would be a conflict of interest to perform work on an employees personal computer. Company time is just that, company time. Ask for a letter from the CEO authorizing this. Usually this will deter any further discussion about this or put the monkey on someone else’s back. If you really want to persue this, you might offer your services after hours for a nominal fee.

    • #3230503

      Get a life !

      by pj8089 ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      Do it ! Your paid to do a job… doesn’t matter where the work comes from… Do it ! Stop complaining and whining… if you don’t like the work…… Leave ! That simple !

      • #3230450

        What an A**hole

        by fbaisch ·

        In reply to Get a life !

        You missed the point of my post completly. I have no problem doing this on the company’s time, I just don’t think the stock holders, are you aware that big companies have stock holders, would apprecate their money going to taks outside of the company. You also missed the point on the legal issues involved.

        Like the old saying goes, it’s better to keep quite and thought the fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

        Yes, it does matter where the work, and the legal aspects of the work, comes from.

      • #3230440

        not a very intelligent response…

        by unclerob ·

        In reply to Get a life !

        … apparently you don’t have much respect for yourself.

        I can say that because it’s hard to show respect for other people if you don’t have respect for yourself.

        If you think your time is worthless continue on in your existence and perform these tasks, but please don’t ask other people to live that life also.

        That kind of life pretty much sucks!

        I wouldn’t call what this person is doing as whining & complaining. They’re obviously feeling like they’re being taken advantage of and that’s not right for anyone.

        It isn’t company work that is being done here, working on someone’s personal computer doesn’t help the company’s bottom line so why should they do it.

        Let me ask you this, if had a friend that worked at a big automative repair/service outlet as a mechanic. Do you think it would be ok to bring your vehicle in for a complete overhaul, tuneup, oil change, brake inspection/repair, muffler change,etc. and assume to get the work done for free? If you don’t think these situations are comparable then let me ask you why it is that you feel that your services aren’t valuable enough to be compensated?

        If you don’t feel that your specific IT skillset & knowledge is important & valuable, your employer probably feels the same way and pays you accordingly. Were you happy the last time you looked at your paycheque? Was there too much money paid to you per chance? Answer honestly and then tell me what you said in your post was the right thing to say.

        Telling this person to “Get a life!” was rude, they’re simply asking question, looking for some guidance on how to take care of this situation, your response offered nothing.

      • #3200901

        RE:GETa life!:Your paid to do a job

        by sniperlt ·

        In reply to Get a life !

        He is paid to do a job for THAT COMPANY. Not the assistant or any of the other employees there outside of what is needed for THAT COMPANY. Doing anything to her PERSONAL computer is outside the scope of employment. I.E. NOT what he is being PAID FOR!!!!!

        As I said before once you start doing something like that the word gets around and everyone else thinks they can come to you with there personal computer problems and hardware needs. To me its not a matter if the person pays me or not or offers me something in return. The important matter is that I AM NOT THERE TO SERVICE THIER PERSONAL NEEDS.

        The downside of all this is that when/if you say NO then you get a reputation as not being friendly or a team player. Which is untrue since the request had nothing to do with the company at all.

        >Get a life !
        > Do it ! Your paid to do a job… doesn’t matter where the work comes from… Do it ! Stop complaining and whining… if you don’t like the work…… Leave ! That simple !

    • #3230479

      I can absolutely see…

      by menace65 ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      doing something like this if the computer was to be used for company business by this admin. asst. We have users here who need to connect to our network from their home computers, and we are more than happy to assist them. It’s when someone brings in their personal computer, filled with viruses from all the porn sites they visited (if there is virus software, it’s never been updated, and there is no firewall or antispam software in site), that’s the time to say no (or to charge money). We have guys at work who fix employees and friends personal computers at work, and while I don’t approve, I don’t say anything about it. As long as they do it on their own time, and it does not interfere with company business it’s fine. The only person I ever do any kind of personal computing assistance for is my mother-in-law, for two reasons, (1) she’s my mother-in-law, and (2) she’s a great cook! 🙂

      Company politics suck…and it seems like it’s always the IT department who get the worst of it…but that’s a different discussion for a different day.

    • #3230459

      Simple, do this…

      by unclerob ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      You shouldn’t be required to work on a user’s personal computer, if you do this you are performing a favor for them, you obviously have an issue with performing this favor so do it this way:

      Tell the person that people have come up to you in the past with similar requests and you’ve turned them down because you’re not allowed to work on computers that aren’t company property. Saying yes to this person would mean you have to say yes to every other person who wants this done for them and you will not be able to perform your daily required tasks/duties when you’re running a free pc clinic/mom & pop shop out of the company office fixing people’s personal computers.

      Secondly, question the software licenses, are they valid, have they ever been installed on other pc’s, can you verify 100% that they’ve been uninstalled off those pc’s before installing on this pc. Software piracy is against the law and you along with your co-worker would be held liable for this action, don’t do it.

      Thirdly, if you want to do it, offer this option.
      You will bring it home, work on this pc after hours, set it up as per this person’s instructions but not for free. Your time is important to you. It sounds like a semi-important project for this co-worker who wants to provide this as a present to her son. Charge some money for this work. Set up list quoting the charges for the various portions of the install, ex. format HD and install operating system (and required hardware drivers) to make the pc functional $100, install additional software on user’s pc $50, etc. etc.

      Yes admin assistants may be powerful in their own right but let’s take a view of the current situation, I’m assuming your a decent employee who does their work meeting and/or exceeding current expectations. If they fire you for not doing this ‘personal’ work, what kind of company are you working for anyways? Taking advantage of some free labour isn’t very nice or ethical on this person’s part either. Plus can I check your forehead, do you still have the word “SLAVE!” written on it, I hope not because slave labour was abolished a long time ago – it’s a horrible practice and anyone who still makes use of it should go to jail – seriously.

      Nobody should be forcing you to do anything you don’t want to do. This isn’t part of your work routine so either this co-worker pays you for your efforts (I’m sorry but a bottle of wine or a 6pack of bud light doesn’t cut it either). Unless this person is a close personal friend (for which I perform similar tasks on a regular basis on my own schedule, no deadlines) for which you wouldn’t mind doing a favor for then don’t consider it unless you get fair compensation for this work. We’re not talking 5 minutes worth of work here, it’s about time people starting placing fair value on the services of IT professionals, if what we’re doing was so easy in the first place, everyone would be doing it. However that isn’t the case, IT professionals much like car mechanics (who don’t get their hands dirty without charging a fair penny) and any other profession out there demand fair compensation for the use of their skillset.

      Ask for fair compensation for the work you are being asked to do, if they don’t feel they need to pay you, ask them why? Are they above you and you are beneath and it should be understood that you perform free labor for them. Are you a bad person or a human being which should be treated as equal as any other person. Also tell them what makes them assume that this work would be done au gratis (for free), why didn’t they also offer some form of compensation along with writing an email requesting your services.

      Don’t respond negatively but do respond professionally and show some respect for yourself, in fact command respect for yourself. In this life, you never get more than what you ask for so make sure you ask for plenty. Respect, fair compensation for the work performed and an understanding that you don’t just pick your nose at work and can’t come up with several hours out of your schedule to perform this ‘favor’ for them.

      I’m not mean, negative or an angry person. But in the same note, I’m not a slave or a workhorse that will be satisfied with a pat on the back. If you don’t agree with me, next time you get your car fixed, plumbing repaired, electical work done, deck/fence built, roof shingled, surgery or baby delivered, see if the pat on the back will work as fair compensation for the services rendered, friend or no friend, that’s just not how life works.

      If you do the work make sure you get paid the money, otherwise your just continuing to propagate a stereotype of the geeky IT person who gets taken advantage of when providing his services. We’re important people and deserve to be treated as such. This world doesn’t rotate without the assistance in some form or fashion from technology, you’re an Information Technology professional, hold your head up high and command some respect for the work you do. Otherwise continue in your role of pee-on and let me know how it works for you.

      FYI – It doesn’t work for me.

      Sorry for being so verbose in this post, I only read about/hear about and witness similar situations on a regular basis and see people get taken advantage of and I’m kind of getting tired of it.

      ….just my 0.02 cents cdn

      • #3229138

        Here’s what it will cost.

        by randy.r.reveal ·

        In reply to Simple, do this…

        I agree with Uncle Bob. Try sending an email similar to the following:
        Sorry I can’t work on personal machines on company time, but I will work on them on my own time at $xx.xx per hour and I estimate your request to take TT hours, do you want me to prceed?

    • #3230439

      IT policy

      by dave.schutz ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      We have a written IT policy and it specifically says employees cannot bring personal computers to our worksites. This way IT does not become responsible for people’s personal computers.
      As you mentioned it could be a software licensing issue.
      If someone at work wants me to work on their personal computer I do it on my time and charge my fee.

      • #3230438

        At last, a voice of reason speaks up!

        by unclerob ·

        In reply to IT policy

        Quick and to the point, exactly how things should be dealt with.

      • #3200798

        That’s noble

        by rob ·

        In reply to IT policy

        I disagree…

        Were talking about the direct report to the CEO here.

        Trust me… CEO’s and anyone else deemed a VIP, DON’T have to play by the rules for the rest of us, especially in a privately owned company.

        What’s the big deal, she supplied the hardware, software and just asked for your expertise and time. Do the job and cash in your Kudo.

    • #3230434

      Reference the Company Acceptable Use policy and…

      by shamusoneil06 ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      Here’s what you do.

      Look up the specific bullet in the company’s acceptable use policy that regards personal activities while on company time. Then just tell her that it’s against company policy and that you can’t do it. If she wants to make a stink over it, phrase it this way, “Are you asking me to break company policy and put my job at risk so that you can save a couple hundred bucks in consulting time? Really… I value my job. If you want me to fix the computer, I’ll do it, but only on my personal time. I charge an hourly rate for my personal time, but I’m good and worth it. Also, regarding the pirated software, “I’d like to get you fully squared away with legal software so that the person receiving this computer wont have any legal liabilities.”

      If she balks at the proposal, she’s thoroughly unethical and not somebody you want to do business with. She, 1) Is trying to steal your time away from the company. 2) Is trying to bring you in as an accomplice to her theft. 3) Is stealing from software manufacturers. 4) Is unwilling to pay for expertise in an area she doesn’t have expertise in.

      She already has strikes against her, but if she’s willing to come clean with the software and pay for your time, that would indicate that she has something worth speaking highly of.

      And don’t listen to the bozos that say “just do it” unless you want to land yourself in serious trouble with the company when somebody finds out. You don’t want to do things that you later need to deny to keep your job.


      • #3230429

        The answer should be painfully obvious

        by briggch ·

        In reply to Reference the Company Acceptable Use policy and…

        After reading all 58 posts of this thread (yeah, I don’t know why I did either), I am left shaking my head. There is a lot of what if’s, possiblies and maybes that have been brought up. The fact of the matter is an admin assistant asked you to do this. Very politely tell her you would love to do the work but you can’t without your managers consent (or their manager, etc). If your manager tells you to do it, don’t argue and whine about it, just do it. As for the software, if she supplies legitimate discs with keys, install the software. I don’t understand why this is such a major issue. Do what you are told to do by your manager and leave it at that.

        • #3230414

          Do what your manager tells you and leave it at that?!?!

          by shamusoneil06 ·

          In reply to The answer should be painfully obvious

          no no no…

          Let’s say your manager says, “Take those computer parts and toss them in the dumpster out back.”

          You: “But it’s against the law. We need to dispose of them properly. I can drive out to the recycling place and get them taken care of.”

          Manager: “No. I don’t have the time or money to send you out. Just toss them in the dumpster.”

          Your manager is asking you to do something illegal. Should you do what you are told by your manager and leave it at that? Should you do something illegal because your manager said so and leave it at that? If you were suicidal and wanted the law to come down on you, you would.

          COMPANY ACCEPTABLE USE POLICIES ARE MEANT TO BE FOLLOWED. If there is a policy on something, IT IS MEANT TO OVER-RIDE ANYONE’S DIRECT ORDER TO DO SOMETHING. If my manager told me to do something, and there was a spot in the acceptable use policy forbidding it, I’d tell him that the action is forbidden by the company policy and that I can’t do it.

          If he makes a stink about it, I call corporate headquarters and tell them the whole story. Corporate will protect you if you are protecting their interests.

          Also, even if you do the task your manager wants, you are breaking company policy and can STILL be fired if found out by your manager’s superiors.

          I’d rather go to the mat on this and not compromise my integrity on this.

          And furthermore, I don’t want to do anything I need to hide from anyone in the company.

          Picture this: Your manager’s superior is strolling through the office and sees a personal computer on YOUR desk and says, “hmm… this doesn’t look like a corporate computer. What is it doing here?” Do you tell the truth or lie.

          The answer is: Don’t break company policy and your rights will be preserved. If you break company policy, the company has the right to do whatever they want to you.

        • #3200907

          totally agree..

          by unclerob ·

          In reply to Do what your manager tells you and leave it at that?!?!

          … but I think you could have added one more what if example to your post,

          “what if your manager tells you to jump off a bridge? If you were to follow some of the advice given I guess you should just do what your manager tells you to do!”

          Challenge the status quo, be an original individual and use common sense always. Why this is so hard for alot of people is beyond me.

          If you’re all so afraid of losing your jobs what kind of jobs do you think you’re holding on to?

        • #3201154

          Totally agree….

          by tbmay ·

          In reply to The answer should be painfully obvious

          As long as the supervisor give a direct answer. Quite often, though, the supervisor may not be comfortable himself and will give you an evasive “non-answer.” Basically leaving the decision up to you. I can completely agree with doing what you’re supervisor says. That’s what you’re paid to do. Quite often it isn’t so simple though.

    • #3230407

      Been there – done that

      by pozotech ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      Having been involved in IT for more than 25 years, I can not tell you how many times this happens – yes it happens and will continue to happen. I have found that as I have helped others they in turn have been there to support IT. When I need support for a project, when we need additional staff, funding etc. There have been numerous free lunches, treats on my desk the next morning and a large number of repeat customers.

      The controller of one company once after my helping with the purchase and setup of a home computer – saw to it that I had my own company credit card and signed off on many items that were purchased “without” approval.

      Most after the 1st instance have offered to pay me to do this on my own time,once they had a successful experience with my work. The payback in my experience have been worth the time and effort. Bottom line is you become recognized as a team player.

      • #3230400

        …and long as you aren’t stealing, fine.

        by shamusoneil06 ·

        In reply to Been there – done that

        …as long as you do those tasks off the company clock, sure. Go right ahead.

        But if you do it on company time, that would be stealing. By getting a wage, from a company, one has an agreement to exchange for that wage. To break that agreement invites trouble.

        Now if the Controller is part owner and the other owners know that it goes on and don’t care. Fine. That works for small corps.

    • #3200899

      Actually, this IS company business and very important

      by jdclyde ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      If someone has a “home system” that they do work from, like in this case, before that system can or should be disposed of in any way, all company files should be removed and use a wipe program to make sure they can not be recovered.

      Are you so full of yourself that you don’t see this side of it? Sure, you are going to put other software back on it, so what?

      A good way to find yourself without any chance of advancement or even future employment is to continue to be so stuck on yourself that you think this is somehow beneith you or an abuse of some kind.

      I am glad I don’t work with someone that is such and obvious dork that you would get all bent out of shape over this.

      As for the software, if she gives you the software and it has all the vailid material needed, that is all you need to know. You are not responsible if she had put this software somewhere else, as long as she isn’t clearly asking for company software.

      Better get your resume filled out. I don’t see a long future for you there.

      • #3200634

        Another A**hole response.

        by fbaisch ·

        In reply to Actually, this IS company business and very important

        You really think I’m stuck on myself, I think you need a hard look in the mirror. First, you made some assumptions that are not true. Second, this is a board for discussion about issues and likes. But insulting people who you have no knowledge about or the situation, you make yourself look like an ass. As for loading the software with no questions asked puts one in a position for legal action. As they say, ignorance in not a valid defense in the court of law. Not saying it would come to that, but why put yourself in that situation. Also, it was the way she assumes I should do this. My time and skills are my bread-n-butter. Would you just throw your time away to keep people happy? I may be a dork in your opinion, but at least I am not an ass-kisser.

        • #3200608

          if you would rather be an unemployed dork

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Another A**hole response.

          over an employed ass-kisser, you have a lot to learn. that or you don’t have a family you are worried about supporting.

          I noticed you didn’t even acknowledge the part about wiping out company data off of the system. Ignore the parts that make you look bad and cry about how I hurt your feelings.

          Grow up dude. Your bread-n-butter skills need some social skills added to the tool box if you wish to get anywhere in life.

          And if doing something for my boss or for their boss ON COMPANY TIME helps keep them happy, and they are able to justify my time so I don’t look bad, there is no reason to not be helpful. Call that ass-kissing if you wish. Some people call this “networking” and “building contacts”. Things that will advance a professional, but you wouldn’t know about that, now would you?

          Oh, and insulting people that insult you WHILE you are condemning them for insulting you makes you a member of the ass club as well. Welcome aboard, ass. [i](the word is hypocrisy. look it up.)

        • #3200579

          Ummm, JD…

          by tig2 ·

          In reply to if you would rather be an unemployed dork

          It is a personal computer and she isn’t his boss or bosses boss. No company data, and wants software loaded that she hasn’t even provided to him (with software keys- good old Micro$oft!).

          I think what he is asking is if an associate should just assume that he would do her this favour. I’m thinking that she really went about this the wrong way. He doesn’t know if he’ll get canned for doing this on company time and has some issues with the legality around pirated software. Don’t blame him much there- I wouldn’t load anything I didn’t have a license for. I know you wouldn’t either.

          But I am interested in your opinion on this based on 1) knowing this isn’t a work computer- she wants this done so she can give the box to her son! 2) Isn’t his boss or in his line of command and 3) wants him to load the box with software she hasn’t provided. I know that you have been put in this situation before and have some ways for dealing with it.

          I haven’t done direct support in awhile- only people who ask me to fix their computers are family. I take care of them. But that is WAY different.

        • #3201155

          If we look back Tig

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Ummm, JD…

          “CEO?s admin. assistant”. Clearly someone that has the ear of the CEO. I did originally state to get this cleared by HIS boss and as long as the time is approved, do it.

          It is more than just a slight chance that a person in this position would do work at home, correct? It is then logical that some of the corporate data has been copied on and off of this system, thus all of that data should be removed.

          “I have included all the software for the programs I would like to have installed.”
          He said he WAS provided the software, and the only thing he could not verify was if the software had previously been installed somewhere else. That is not his problem or his concern. If this is applications like MS Office, it won’t install if that code is already activated on another system, right? If it installs, then he is clear.

          There was never a request to install company software OR to provide activation codes, so again, that is not an issue and just a little something to distract from the tone of the entire post.

          HE doesn’t think that HE should have to spend HIS time working on this persons PC. If his boss approves it, only a complete moron would continue to resist as there is nothing provided to indicate he will have to install illegal software or doing anything unethical.

          HE is just too important to be bothered doing this. bottom line.

          Go back and re-read the original post and tell me that isn’t what you get out of it? I could be wrong, but it is unlikely. B-)


          1) We WILL work on employees personal computers as time allows as a service and good will effort to the employees of the company. Has your company never done anything for you and you said “wow, that was cool”?

          We do not load pirated software, and we do not pay for parts.

          2) He should have HIS bosses approveal, and then do the work happily.

          3) he clearly stated that she DID provide the software. It is not his responsibility to know the history of that software, but if it refuses to activate because of being in use already, the software goes out unactivated. Simple.

          Also for a side note, most of the personal computers we fix are ones that ARE used for people working from home on weekends or after hours. How is it NOT in the best interests of the company to not get the systems fixed?

          Note, this is a small 50mil family business, not a big corporation. They believe that if you take care of your employees, they will take care of you. And a happy employee will work much harder for you than one that is under the whip.

          Money is not a good motivator, but respect and loyalty are both great motivators to get that “little extra effort” when needed at “crunch time”.

        • #3201131

          Great responses, JD, knew I could count on you

          by tig2 ·

          In reply to If we look back Tig

          Couple of points that I got- personal exp and all that…

          Admin llikely does not work from home on her personal machine. In the same position, I was not allowed to do so, likely she is not. If working from home is a requirement of the job, a laptop is issued. Makes life easier for everyone. Especially for the admin.

          He is in a small shop under a public corp. Element of an international. I would guess that he is publically traded. Without knowing the rules where he is, it is hard to say what the right way would be.

          What I saw was that she provided a list of software to install. Either way- if it is software that is OEM to her new lappie, he can’t use it anyway.

          I want ot work where you work! I have NEVER been allowed to drop my computer problems on someone else! 🙁

          Most of the time, I just fix em myself! 🙂

        • #3201056

          if we are ever hiring…….

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Great responses, JD, knew I could count on you


          I even have done home visits across the state setting up home offices and such. The president of the company has given me the key to his home several times. Elderly man with a newly replaced hip, so he works out of HIS new home office quite a bit. Guess who he comes to out of a department of five people, EVERYTIME he has something that needs to be done? I knows I am not always the first person to finish a task, but he also knows that is because I will not take a shortcut. It will be done, it will be done right, everytime. I don’t have to do the followup visits others in my department have had to do. I DID feel uncomfortable when he MADE me take some cash for doing the work while I was on the clock and everything. Tried HARD to refuse but he would not hear of it. I was already getting paid and just doing my job. I HAVE told him if he has problems with his computer in his Florida Condo that I would come fix it anytime he wants! 😀

          This weekend I have the HR directors computer home for a wipe and reload. Might even get taken out to lunch after that one! B-) Will do that with the other side jobs I have lined up for the weekend, so I brought my KVM switch home.

          And I do NOT install pirated software.

          I take my reputation as being dependable and honest very seriously. I even round DOWN for my time sheets so no one can ever accuse me of padding my hours! (salary, so it doesn’t really count for anything but vacation)

        • #3282904

          I read the original post again JD

          by kiltie ·

          In reply to If we look back Tig

          This time from a lateral viewpoint, having also read all the posts in the thread (94 at time of typing this) and I noticed something not adding up.

          Who do we know in TR that is good at English? PublishingGal?

          PM me if you want my train of thoughts JD

        • #3201123

          Professional vs. Dork ????

          by best_tech ·

          In reply to if you would rather be an unemployed dork

          I guess I’ve been away from the HR & junior boss atmosphere of “business” too long. When I started out in the work force, “professional” meant more than a certification of some sort and a job to pay the bills; “professional” carried with it a thing called ETHICS.

          Much of the time I worked in finance, collections or bookkeeping or accounting; as a professional I was expected to keep secrets secret, keep my hands out of the till, and report things which seemed out of kilter. My reputation for honesty and trustworthyness were equally, or more, important as my job skills and experience.

          As a professional working in software design and testing, system design and setup, and even remote “help desk” work, the primary factor that keeps people coming back to me is my HONESTY with them. I don’t “sell” them on stuff they don’t need, I warn them about stuff they do need but don’t really seem to want, I keep their secrets and data theirs, and I don’t charge them for what I haven’t earned. The “haven’t earned” means I don’t work for someone else on their time, don’t charge them for work I do for someone else.

          Am I a goodie-two-shoes? Maybe a fool? Am I putting professionalism above bread on the table? Could be. But my rep is still good, and I can live with myself.

          As for this situation under discussion: I stand where I stood before. Document everything, clear everything with your supervisor, and don’t consider honesty and ethics a thing to be tossed out the window simply so you can keep up payments on that fancy car or get a new outfit to wear to that big party …

          Maybe I’m an exception; I surely hope not, but it could happen in this day and age. I once turned in my resignation despite my boss’ pleading with me to stay … I did it because I knew an end of year task was coming up which I was not trained to even guess at handling. The company HQ said I’d been with the outfit too long (three months?) to qualify for training any longer. I knew the only way the up-coming task would get done correctly and save the division head’s ascii was if he hired someone new and had them trained immediately for that task.

          My boss understood what I was saying; he did NOT want me to quit, but there were no other positions open where he could place me. As I went through the process of moving up from job to job, company to company, that manager continued to give me some of the best recommendations I ever received.

          It’s called taking care of the people who pay your salary. It’s called ethics. It’s called living with yourself, and what matters more … $$$ or knowing you’ve been honest and done the right thing.

          The invasive presence of “kiss and don’t tell” syncophants may indicate the primary reason why corporate integrity seems to have gone down the drain all too often in the last few years.

          Decide who and what you are.

          When questionable orders come down the pike from someone — particularly someone not in your “chain of command” — document and query and document some more.

          Decide if you are comfortable doing what you perceive as “the wrong thing”; follow through with your decision.

          The only person who really matters, when it comes to deciding if you are an ascii kissing fool or an honesty-comes-first dork, is the person who has to live with you the rest of your life.

        • #3201059

          best_tech, before you judge

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Professional vs. Dork ????

          read my follow-up post I did to Tig that further explained my stance and how I justify doing what is right for everyone and how it benifits the company.

          Also note that every bit of it has my bosses blessings, and the whole process is transparent with no backroom deals being made.

    • #3200858

      She may be the gatekeeper to your future

      by tony85 ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      She controls access to the CEO, and hence some of your future.

      Is this legitimate work?

      1) She has almost certainly done work on this PC (at home) for the CEO, and even if there are deleted files on the disk, they are still recoverable.

      Thus, you have a company responsibility to see that it is cleaned up.

      The only way to do this is to put a hammer through the disk, or to use a security erase program.

      Having done the latter, you come to the next point.

      2) Because, for security reasons, you have wiped the hard disk, then you have a responsibility to restore the machine. (Here in the UK there has just been a TV program that bought 20 hard disks in Nigeria and examined the data on them and tracked them back down to the previous owners and confronted them with what they had found – bank details etc!).

      BUT only to what is reasonable.

      I am guessing that the Windows is probably OEM, and there might have been an OEM version of office on it. Since these are technically tied to this hardware, use on any other machine is a violation of the licence, so you should reinstall the OEM software, and point out to her as tactfully as possible that if she has installed it elsewhere, then she may be in breach of the licence (and leave it up to her conscience).

      Any other software, unless it was part of the OEM package, should be left to her son/daughter to install – you could suggest that (this is from my own experience) the patches and updates slow Windows down by about 50% every 18 months or so, and so not loading on all this additional software will make the machine faster, and then the recipient can do that.

      You could be helpful and suggest replacing some of the dubious software with Open Source and freeware equivalents, so that there are no licence issues.

      Offer something like AVG anti-virus – free for personal use, and patch the machine up to date.

      So, if you are comfortable with a legitimate assumption that the CEO’s assistant has used this PC to do some legitimate out of hours work, then I think it is reasonable to clean the machine up.

      And I hope that you can use some of the suggestions above to ensure that you get out of installing software outside its licence conditions and at the same time be extra helpful and nice. Without labouring the point, if it means that you spend some break time doing it, or beyond normal closing time, ensure that she is aware that you have had to go the extra mile to help her.

      As a consultant, I sometimes end up doing the same sort of thing for some of my customers. I just treat it as the “cost of sales”.

      What goes around, comes around. Who knows, at some point in the future, your helpfulness, looking after the company’s bigger interests (security) and consideraton for the law and what is right may be the tipping point that sees you get on in your career.

      • #3281836

        use your common sense …..

        by lowen1 ·

        In reply to She may be the gatekeeper to your future

        don’t do anything against the patent laws of course. but do the job quietly – wherever you like – and if the word goes around and you become overwhelmed – i am sure that you will find a way of tiring the freebee folk. tony@ is very practical …..

    • #3200822

      Replaced with a DELL ?

      by alfred e. neuman ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      Next you’ll be replacing the burning batteries !!

      According to the e-mail, the gal that dropped off the hdd already considers this is not work related so you should not have any problem explaining about all the work-related items the company PAYS you to do.
      You should find out if that PC was ever used for company work. That would validate you in the CYA arena as far as wiping the drive. I wouldnt just flat out refuse on principle alone. This could be an opportunity to at least get a free lunch. And it may come back to you later in the form of some type of favor or something. It is up to you and your imagination how this could be a great situation for you to be in. she came to you out of respect for your ability so that is a good start. But she didnt offer you anything which she should have since she feels this is not work-related. Training opportunity — learn to offer the tech something BEFORE your expectations rise.

    • #3200785

      You could be a bud…

      by dolcetta ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      You could be a buddy and do it… on YOUR time. If you’re like many IT pros, you have a workbench (or dining rooom table) at home that you regularly use to repair or upgrade PCs of family and friends. Heck, it may be a good to have the CEOs admin owe you a favor or two. It certainly couldn’t hurt. Only load legal apps though. Don’t compromise your ethics. -Mike


    • #3200783

      Be Careful what you wish For

      by jstin466 ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      It sounds like it’s going to be your dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t. What she is telling you is that she knows your on company time and at the same time she saying I’m not going to say anything if you want to work on it during company time. Plus she needs it by the 20th whats the date that she’s droped it off. This would help make a decision to work on there time or your own time. Plus I’m like you I would’nt install any software until I found out that it was for that laptop. I would question her on the software and I would let her know that I would fix it on your time unless the CEO came to me and said that you could do it on company time. This way you have covered your butt.

    • #3200777

      Idid this at two contract jobs

      by zlitocook ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      And at A full time job that I quit. Never fix a computer for free! if you do it will always come back to haunt you, ether the person will tell others that they dont have to pay high prices to get their computer fixed or they will send all their family to you.
      Say you can not work on Any computer because you are working on your security profile. And it not alow you to work on or try to fix any computer until you compleat the course.

    • #3201199

      Bounce it back

      by ewgny ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      Try something like this:
      Gee as soon as I get some free time, I was going to wash, wax and detail my car. I tell you what, if you take care of my car, I can fix your PC. As long as all of your software is legit.

    • #3200396


      by malcolm_pattison ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      It is bang out of order and unless ordered to do so, I would not go-ahead with the task not only is It an abuse of recourses it is also abusing power and position. As you say it also infringes on software rights. I have been in this situation myself and there?s no argument you have every right to be concerned, and if faced with no option but to carry out the task make sure you do it with a signd doc form your manager that says you done it under duress. To many IT pros?s are miss used in this way its got to stop.

      Get your Manager to draft a policy up, have a look at Tech Republics Guide to Policies and procedures third addition.

      • #3200324

        Try another occupation

        by jterry ·

        In reply to Policy;

        I love working in IT and anytime I can help someone who is not knowledgeable in the feild I welcome the opportunity without looking for some hidden agenda. I think some of the poeple answering this thread should seek employment in a different field that they may enjoy.

        • #3226795

          I disagree

          by absolutely ·

          In reply to Try another occupation

          Someone who is not knowledgeable (to such a degree that they cannot reformat & re-install!) does not belong in the field. I agree with doing personal favors on personal property off the clock and outside the office and I wouldn’t do any personal favor for anybody who doesn’t respect my reasons for this personal policy.

    • #3200242

      I do not work on personal computers at work!

      by jcitron ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      I’ve had people ask me to do this too so after getting yelled at once by my boss [1], I now take the machines home and work on them. If there are parts involved, I buy them and get reimbursed. If it’s just a clean-up, I charge them a free lunch somewhere.

      Lately I’ve had some nice meals. It must be the time of year or something. 🙂


      [1] He only yelled at me because it wasn’t one of his kid’s machines. I’ve had to rebuild his son’s PC about 10 times in the past two years. What’s good for him, I guess is not good for the others, so now I don’t work on anyone’s personal machine at work.

    • #3226907

      Tell her NO!

      by metilley9 ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      This is not a part of your job’s description, is it? This could very well be a test to see if you will comply.

      If the CEO tells you to do it, that is one thing, but his assistant? Forget it. Tell her no!

      If the CEO does direct you to handle it, I would contact the software companies, i.e. Microsoft or whomever, and make them aware that your company has illegal copies of their software floating about. I know Microsoft takes this issue very seriously and I suspect other software vendors do as well.

      • #3226770


        by kiltie ·

        In reply to Tell her NO!

        Who said that any software was illegal?

        It is probably correct to be concerned about copyright infringement, but it is another thing to make the wild jump and assume that all the software is illegal.

        …. and as for “snitching” based on such wild thoughts, not only would I not be long in that job, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself comfortably.

        Who are we anyway? M$s “hit squad” doing their policing for them?

        As many a wise man has said:

        “Don’t make waves”

        • #3228491

          Obeying the law doesn’t make you anybody’s “hit squad”.

          by absolutely ·

          In reply to Assumptions


    • #3226844

      I’d low-level format the b****’s hard drive.

      by absolutely ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      Then I wouldn’t have to deal with any more requests for personal favors on company time, I bet!

      • #3204734


        by tim_tillman ·

        In reply to I’d low-level format the b****’s hard drive.

        And you probably would not have to deal with that annoying job thing either. IT people like yourself are the reason I became management… so I could weed out the geekier-than-thou.

    • #3227784

      IT is as IT does

      by chris029 ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      You have a talent that other people need to use due to their lack of understanding in our field. It would be great if the person in question could do all the work herself and did not need your service at all. Just think if that was the case– Hmm, all of a sudden you would be useless, and not needed by the very people who count on you every day to keep their systems up and running. If you want to see strife in the political world of the office, Pick And Choose who’s system you will work on and which ones you will not. Your popularity is at stake nothing else. If you do not want to do this say so. Maybe you will need another job, maybe you wont… Go ahead roll the dice. You can come out ahead. This should be worth 2cents.

    • #3229350

      what an interesting post

      by webmaster ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      Today is the 18th and she wanted it done by the 20th if possible. What did you decide? Have you done the work?
      What I consider the question in the post is “should you send an email letting them know that you do not think this is an appropriate use of not only your time, but the parent company’s money?” I read the replies and did not see anyone answer this question.

      Since you did not state the type of business that your company does, nobody knows what the work “ethos” (spirit of ethics at work) is. I have found that companies in the insurance industry are very “bean-centric”. What is good for the bottom ($) line is right. In that case, I would suggest you send it. On the other hand, law firms and politically related firms do not want anyone to make public waves, and an open email would do that.

      Also, I noticed in the copy of what she sent, she stated “This was replaced by the Dell laptop.” She did not say “This was replaced by a Dell laptop.” I read in this an implication that you already knew about her laptop. Did you have any prior knowledge of her laptop? If you did, how did you come by that knowledge?

      Good luck, whatever you decide.

      • #3205453

        Interesting Post, comment two.

        by dennis ·

        In reply to what an interesting post

        I agree with the previous message. First of all this is very common in the work place. With over 20 years of experience and being a private consultant I get this type of request a lot. Every company is different in respect to working on personal computers. First of all I would talk to my boss about it to make sure that it is ok to do the work. He may not be ‘forceful’ but he is the ultimate judge of what should be done. If he becomes wishy washy, then that is just as good a green light to go ahead and do it. There have been a few replies on the social aspects of dealing with Admin Assistants. I take the good hearted social approach, and never resort to being confrontational, unless the company strictly forbids working on personal computers. Should you send an e-mail only in the case where a company strictly forbids it! This idea that you become confrontational not only can and probably will get you in to hot water, especially if it is an executive’s computer. They live in a different world and you should not alienate yourself from them. In most companies they can make or break your next review if your company does peer/customer reviews. So in the end first get your bosses approval, if he doesn’t care of doesn’t give an answer then go ahead and do it during your working hours, don’t do it on your off hours. I read that in your part that says she knows that this is not in your job description. Always remember that it is better to be kind and social than be confrontational when it comes to IT.

    • #3205449

      You gotta get compensated!!

      by vince21 ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      I looked at the post and though I was having dejavu. The way I handle this situation is simply state. “Oh not a problem I do IT work on the side after hours. Typically CompUsa or another IT company would charge you $1000 to do this but I would only charge you $500. Is there any other computers you need help with?”.

      This does two things. One, it let’s her know that this is not company related and that it will be handled differently.
      Two, it let’s her know she can’t just use company resources withouth paying a price. It’s unfair to you to do work that would cost them tons of money somewhere else.

      So you are doing her a favor. You are fixing her computer for a low price, after hours, and you both benefit. It also makes them think twice about just randomly giving you a ton of work and compensates you for your spare time.

      • #3205016

        di you say she was the CEOs PA?

        by michael_orton9 ·

        In reply to You gotta get compensated!!

        Yes you should do it and let the CEO know that you did it as a favour for her, its a job that would run automatically over severl lunch hours.
        1/ Run Nortons wipe disk
        2/ Install slipstreemed windows xp and office, you should already have done this several times, its easy SO LONG as your firm allowsyou to use isobuster, I don’t know how to do it with just MS legal software.
        3/ Reinstall anti-virus, firewall etc.

        This could proceed semi-automatically over several lunch hours and mostly works unattended.
        If you can’t slipstream XP, allow another lunch hour for SP-2 and another for on line updates and of course regisration.
        And think of all the Brownie Points you will get for all this work that you have done!
        It won’t take much of your actual time, but you can then ask for favours in the future.

    • #3205019

      Principles are not free

      by tony49mcp ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      I agree that it should not be done on company time. No license, no software. However, it is not unreasonable to ask for the computer to be refurbished at your home, with valid licences. That is what I would do and include my price for the work.

    • #3204866

      My suggestion

      by spankylogic9000 ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      I’d put it on the back burner, she has no grounds to tell you it has to get done ASAP, so sure be nice and do it, but do in a fashion that it does not take away any of your up time..

    • #3204804

      Just do this!

      by tracey34 ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      Give her your sons, daughters or anybody elses term paper that needs typing. Make sure it is a 20 pager or more term paper. Tell her that person is coming during Thanksgiving and will be needing before he or she leaves. Let her know that there is no rush on it but just to have it ready before he or she leaves.

      Or better yet tell her your personal fee (mines is 40.00 per hour) to work non-company related pcs.

      Good luck and let us all know what was the decision

    • #3204802

      Great Question

      by aaronf ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      I also would love to know the answer tothis question. I will be followig this thread.

    • #3204783

      I have been there

      by tharmagon ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      I have been in that situation. The way I handled it was I sent a reply to the e-mail saying I will need permission from whom ever to do private work in work time. Ask them if it is OK to get permission. Also remind them you acnnot isnstall any software unless they assure you in writing they own it and it isn’t installed on any other machine.

      When I told the person I would get permission they said “oh no can you do it in your own time if I pay you?” Sure “I said”.

      Now where ever I work I ensure that situation is covered in the company computer policy.

    • #3204736

      Not the last time this is going to happen…

      by tim_tillman ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      This is certainly not the last time you are going to be asked to do this kind of work. Users see computer people as a resource, just like a car mechanic, a janitor, etc. They don’t mean to be harsh. If you think she overstepped the boundary between good work ethic and trying to get something for nothing, then simply tell her that she will need to speak with your boss in order to authorize the time spent on her “special” project. Have a heart though, most people just need help… and isn’t that why you are in this business?

    • #3280254

      Waaaay out of line

      by montyb ·

      In reply to PC maintenance of personal computer during work hours.

      I’m the guy who is the CEO’s exec assistant’s position elsewere….and what she is pulling is way out of line.

      When you are in this position you know perfectly well that dumping something on a desk like that is cohercive behavior. She should have gone to her supervisor, gotten permission to ask you if you had time to do the job and/or were willing to do it (on your own time). Then if and only if her boss jumped in and volunteered your time should she have come to you to do this during working hours and she should have been absolutely clear that she had asked and he had volunteered to pay you for doing her personal work suring work hours.

      Since she went about it this way – you need to tell your supervisor about her ‘request’ for your work time. [If you’re as busy as every other person in your position I have worked with you barely have time to get the vital stuff done…if you have time to sit around looking for odd jobs you’re an anomaly….and tell him/her that you will have to clear work hours to do this for her because you don’t have time outside of work to take on the job.] Then see how that goes down…..I’ve known too many cute higher level admins who think this is a great way to operate and often their supervisors haven’t a clue it is going on and would have a fit if they found out. If your supervisor doesn’t approve – tell her, the exec assistant, the truth – that you are terribly sorry but you just aren’t going to have any available time before she needs the thing to be together. Refer her to someone else – outside the company –

      If he does approve then do it but absolutely do not install that software unless it is legal stuff. And be prepared to discover that there is much more to the job than cleaning up that drive and installing what she wants on it….. if she is that much without a clue there’s probably a mouse colony inside the thing as well as a number of small parts of childrens’ toys and food remainders in the disc drives.

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