Saturday, December 05, 2009

Work rules

I am working on a project for a friend, cleaning out the email of terminated employees at this company. The company has to pay for email storage space but can't delete these accounts completely because they need to keep the work-related emails of certain projects.

So what's the issue, you are asking? Why do I need to clean the accounts?


Because one lady has 45,000 emails that are mostly personal email and spam.

Because she was using her work email as her personal email address (even though you can get a hotmail address for free -- hello you married couples who insist on sharing an email address -- how is that working for you* the at least four couples I know with shared emails who have divorced?) to order stuff from Lands' End and eBay and everywhere else and oh to put postings on craigslist for her real-estate business that she was apparently running from work.

This woman got spam from every weight loss, viagra, college degree, and watch making place there is (and apparently never deleted any of it in two years). She made appointments to show houses using her work email. She applied for jobs using her work email.

I don't know if there is a moral to the story** because this lady is not working at this place any more and she was held in high regard while she was there. Perhaps a better moral is don't bookmark porn sites on your computer if you work at the World Bank because when you go on vacation, the temp who replaces you (that would be me in my post-Peace Corps job search in DC when I wanted to stay in international development) will find them and be so horrified that she will delete them all.

* SH's dad, who shares an email address with his mom, asked SH in a phone conversation if SH's email was "secure" because he wanted to send SH something that he apparently did not want me to read. Not that I would ever read SH's email (I don't even know his password), but SH's first loyalty is to me, not to his parents, so if it is an issue that involves me, I will know about it. If it's none of my business, I don't care, which is why the whole shared email address thing puzzles me. I want to be able to send my friend an email without her husband knowing my business, especially if it has nothing to do with him.

** As long as you are not the one paying the bills. If you are, the moral is, Tell your employees they can't use their work email for personal matters and allow them to get on the internet for a reasonable amount of time during the workday.


Sam Sattler said...

I had a similar situation come up when I had to be given access to a staff member because she had to go on sudden temporary leave because of a medical problem (for four months). What I found was astounding. All I wanted, or expected, to do was make sure that no emails directed to her fell through the crack while she was out. It took a while for us to get the word to everyone that she was gone, so it was a necessity.

I found myself learning more about this woman than I EVER wanted to know, finding some very personal email chains between her and other employees that was, frankly, almost embarrassing for me to read. She's back now, but I'll never see her as I did when she left, and that's a shame because she's a pretty good employee, overall.

C said...

We have this problem when someone leaves/quits and we are asked to forward all that person's email to another email. If they use it for personal stuff, all that stuff gets forwarded to someone at work and they get to see what kind of squirrelly crap they were looking at while at work. LOL

Melissa said...

That cracks me up about your FIL. If DH's dad said that to him, I know he'd show it to me, just out of spite.

And the fact that there's a collector's edition of Spam is just hilarious. I didn't think they still made that stuff!

TheHRD said...

I think sometimes we need to realise in this day and age that nothing is personal, nothing is sacred, except our thoughts.

Ask a Manager said...

I think the woman with the side real estate business and the 45,000 emails that she never deleted later came and worked for me.