Does this email make me look fat?

jeans_024.jpgA friend just sent me a cryptic instant message claiming that he recently discovered that the Thought Police that monitor the daily activities within the dystopian society that is his 9 to 5 have decided to go Big Brother by monitoring websites visited and the email of all employees as it arrives and leaves the office. Essentially, individual web browsing (do people still surf the web or the information superhighway?) and the incoming and outgoing emails are being seen by eyes other than those for whom they were intended. I used to work at an organization that executed that same level of paranoid scrutiny so I know precisely how he feels. Kind of like I’m trying on a snazzy shirt with a sharp pair of slacks in a JC Penny dressing room when I suddenly realize there’s a 62 year old minimum wage sweaty rent-a-cop open mouth kissing the other side of the two-way mirror. It’s creepy and I feel violated. Flattered …. but violated.

Those Private eyes they’re watching you they see your every move. Private eyes they’re watching you Private eyes they’re watching you watching you watching you watching you. I have to apologize, I’m afflicted with a rare form of Tourettes Syndrome where I randomly blurt out Hall & Oates Lyrics. Last time it struck was at a recent Lionel Richie concert in Binghamton. As you can imagine Mr. Richie didn’t take to kindly to having his encore of Say You, Say Me interrupted with the lyrics of Maneater.

For me this brings up the question of the expectations of privacy in the workplace and, of course, why I was at a Lionel Richie concert. What right to privacy do individuals have in the workplace and can management create an unhealthy culture by insisting on knowing everything everyone is doing at every moment of the day? Rhetorical more than inquiry, but it was on my mind.

I should get back to work now. The security guard behind the glass just brought me some more pants to try on. He said the other ones were too loose.

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