Thursday, September 16, 2010

Listen to your Auntie Pav

Yes, it's Agony Corner. I haven't even been asked a question, I just feel like dispensing some good advice.

I don't know what it is about flower arranging that sets the mind to wandering, but, following a particularly leisurely train of thought as I tried to coax a bunch of curly-stemmed nasturtiums into a champagne flute, it occurred to me that I know not just one but two stories -- both told to me by reliable sources, about people I know personally -- of people being told they are no longer required by their employers. These people have, in a rage, gone straight to the computer and deleted all the records -- in both cases, indispensable, unique and sometimes irreplaceable records -- relevant to their (former) jobs.

In both cases, the dismissal was unexpected, and was not entirely kind or fair. One can understand what prompted the hitting of the red button. It's all very well having internalised excellent life rules like 'Don't slam the door on your way out', but sometimes the red mist simply descends of its own accord and then all bets are off.

But Reader, do not do it. Do not. Ever.

Because if you do, nobody will ever forget it. It's too good a story -- Shakespearean, really: power, drama, revenge, you know the kind of thing -- and you will carry it round your neck like a dead albatross for the rest of your working life. If you have any more working life. Five years, ten years, fifteen years after you do it, people will still be standing at the kitchen sink putting the first nasturtiums of Spring into champagne glasses and thinking Gee, I wonder what happened to whatsis/ername, you know, the one who deleted all the files.

10 comments:

naomi said...

Ooh, scary stuff (especially from a historian's perspective). Speaks of putting rather too much of oneself into work. Every job I have I remind myself that it has a life beyond me and outside of me and I just tend it.

Lord Sedgwick said...

Mind you, there is the other side of the coin. A few friends of mine who have been given the bum's rush (usually because the hired *consultants* have recommended a "downsizing") and before they have even left the building and taken to a soccer field for terminal reeducation, their email access has been locked, stocked and buried.

librarygirl said...

I know a couple of people who have written/emailed bitter/angry letters to the ex-employer after being "let go" and shuddered at the thought of them committing thoughts to paper in the heat of the moment...

Mindy said...

The best one I ever heard of was reorganising all the files so that no one could find anything, unless by accident. It's all still there but they will tear their hair out trying to find where it is. I think the filing system was by random letter picked out of the file name.

Bernice said...

I think they were working in Rudd's office prior to his descension.

innercitygarden said...

When my father in law finished work (in a planned retirement "pick me! pick me! I'll take the package!" type situation) the people came to tell him he no longer had access to email etc etc and he responded "Never mind" and pointed at all the shelves of ring binders he had. Full of printed out emails and documents, every one of them rather more portable than his employers would have liked. He had no desire to take them, but rather gaping whole in their document management plan had been made obvious.

I have taken over from someone whose filing seems to take a leaf from Mindy's story. I don't think he did it on purpose though.

Meredith said...

A colleague threw cold coffee on a professor once... and the prof was wearing white... Everyone now remembers the (former) colleague for that action, completely forgetting her research and creative output... So what I'm saying, Auntie Pav, is that I agree.

Eric Sykes said...

yes. mind you, rather than deleting, best to take them all with you ;-)

Denis Wilson said...

Banking people never fire anyone IN the building, apparently.
Lock them out first, then contact them and say your personal effects can be collected at XYZ building.
They understand how dangerous a rogue (sacked) employee can be.
Cheers
Denis

Su said...

What about other bridges though Auntie Pav, can we torch any of those?

Incendiarily yours etc.