I just got fired for reading this thread. August 26, 2003 2:02 PM   Subscribe

I just got fired today for reading this thread. Any of you ever had bad repercussions from reading Metafilter at work?
posted by beth to MetaFilter-Related at 2:02 PM (127 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Apparently my former employers were unable to understand that a discussion about pedophiles is different from actual pedophilia. They accused me of doing something "illegal".

Of course, it's my stupid fault for leaving the window minimized when I went to lunch.

Anyway, never underestimate the uh, thick-headedness with which your metafilter viewing habits may be scrutinized.

Please learn from my example and don't get fired like I did.
posted by beth at 2:05 PM on August 26, 2003


That's insane-- where did you work?
posted by cell divide at 2:06 PM on August 26, 2003


It's provided me with an enabling ethos full of people just as lazy as I am.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 2:07 PM on August 26, 2003


1) place entertainment device on every desktop
2) torture employees who use it
3) ????
4) profit!
posted by quonsar at 2:08 PM on August 26, 2003 [2 favorites]


...
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:13 PM on August 26, 2003


Cell divide, at the advice of my #mefite compatriots, I will refer to them only as "a major insurance brokerage company". Don't want to get sued, too. :/
posted by beth at 2:15 PM on August 26, 2003


Jeez, that's terrible, beth. My sympathies.
posted by me3dia at 2:15 PM on August 26, 2003


Mine too. I hope you find something better right away.
posted by timeistight at 2:17 PM on August 26, 2003


Oh, beth, I'm really sorry. I hope you find a great job soon. I also hope your stupid ex-boss goes out of business.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 2:19 PM on August 26, 2003


Well, if this helps stem the flood of pedophilia obsessed moral pornbabble FPPs, perhaps some good will have come of it.

My condolences, beth. I have been fired for the some of weirdest reasons, myself.
posted by y2karl at 2:19 PM on August 26, 2003


That is terrible. My sympathies. I have always explained MeFi away as a place to keep up on the web and technology, which it would be if you guys were not so addicted to talking about the news of the day.

Good luck to you.
posted by thirteen at 2:20 PM on August 26, 2003


Me and me3dia think it is terrible Beth, Our sympathies.

Oy.
posted by thirteen at 2:21 PM on August 26, 2003


Wow, that's awful. I'm really surprised that a discussion of a serious issue is considered illegal. I guess it really is approaching thoughtcrime.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:23 PM on August 26, 2003


ach. Is there nothing you can do about this (assuming you want to)? Anybody fairly judging this situation would immediately see what is what; do they trust everything to certain encoded hot-word pickups, without even checking it out? Even going so far as to fire someone? Amazing. Metafilter lawyers?
posted by taz at 2:26 PM on August 26, 2003


I have been fired for the some of weirdest reasons, myself.

this doesn't surprise me.
posted by quonsar at 2:26 PM on August 26, 2003


I guess it really is approaching thoughtcrime.

A great many people are terrified by the information available via the Internet. I invite them to turn it off and go back to darning socks or puttering in the garden or making millions or whatever.
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:29 PM on August 26, 2003 [1 favorite]


Thanks all for the condolences & well wishes. I had been at this job less than two weeks.

What really sucked on top of it all was that the woman who fired me referred to me as being "combative" for sitting there quietly for a minute gathering my thoughts before I wrote a statement.

I told her I'm glad I didn't end up actually working for her, if she's that out of touch with reality (she would have been my boss when we got out of training). They didn't even let me get my things from my desk. It was pretty cold. After all, they thought I was a pedophile.

On preview: taz, technically I wasn't supposed to be viewing any websites at all whatsoever, though I was never shown a written policy. Other people were viewing websites and as far as I know, they were not reprimanded. They knew what I was looking at because I stupidly left the window open but minimized when I went to lunch (I had thought that I would eat and come back and read the thread on my free time).
posted by beth at 2:30 PM on August 26, 2003 [1 favorite]


That sucks, beth. With all the MetaFilter people in Austin, maybe someone here can help you find a better gig.
posted by rcade at 2:32 PM on August 26, 2003


That's terrible, beth. I don't know where you live, but in Canada you might have a case for wrongful dismissal, it's possible that you may want to look into something like that. Unless you're not allowed to be looking at non-work-related sites at work (including on breaks), then there's nothing illegal about reading a thread about that topic. It was a discussion of a site, that's it.

Still, on the bright side, it sounds as if you're better off working somewhere where the bosses aren't at the "pediatrician = pedophile" ignorance level, which is what this seems like to me.
posted by biscotti at 2:33 PM on August 26, 2003


Is there any possibility of legal action on your part? It would be one thing if they had "merely" fired you without cause, or for looking at Metafilter on work time, period -- but is firing you for a false and defamatory cause actionable in some way?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:34 PM on August 26, 2003


Sorry Beth. I haven't had any real problems - surprising because I work for a very large, fairly conservative insurance company. MeFi has been blocked before by the big daddy firewall, but it comes back through in time.

Best of luck though. If anything, it doesn't sound like a place you'd want to stay for too long.
posted by tr33hggr at 2:38 PM on August 26, 2003


Wow. My guess is that they'd be able to hide behind the "no web surfing" policy if you tried to do anything, but it is still sad that the word "pedophilia" is enough to get someone fired.

I got fired for being white once. The place I worked for changed ownership, and the new owners weren't pro-honky (it was a black nationalist coffee shop, so I didn't feel too shocked), so I soon began paying the bills by [this section deleted]
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:39 PM on August 26, 2003


Beth, this is awful, but after all, probably not the people you would want to work for. I hate to try to put a optimistic cast on this, but maybe it's better coming at this point than some time later, after you've invested more of yourself into the job? I mean. Idiots.

and, in preview: "this section deleted"? Wow. Ignatius J. Reilly, you've outdone yourself!
posted by taz at 2:47 PM on August 26, 2003


how do *I* get hired on by [this section deleted]?
posted by quonsar at 2:50 PM on August 26, 2003


Moxie.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:54 PM on August 26, 2003


beth, I do hope you get a much better job soon.
posted by 111 at 2:54 PM on August 26, 2003


Actually, I would think the thread title had something to do with it. That title on a minimized window would get almost any employer's attention.
posted by anildash at 2:56 PM on August 26, 2003


That sucks Beth, sorry to hear it.

It does tie into the thread itself ... paranoia on this topic has reached amazing heights. Even a discussion of the crime is somehow suspect... the thought police don't need to exist... people are doing it to each other just fine.

Hell, someone online the other day said that anyone over 30 who found anyone under 26 attractive was a "pedophile waiting to happen".

26? Please.
posted by soulhuntre at 3:00 PM on August 26, 2003


So what? Now just staying away from the bad-bad sites is not enough; people have to start being careful to stay away from any sites that might even think about -talking- about the bad, bad sites. Like CNN? And etc. et al.?
posted by taz at 3:07 PM on August 26, 2003


Hey quonsar! Does that mean if we find anyone under 46 attractive we're suspect?
posted by timeistight at 3:10 PM on August 26, 2003


That's a great big pile of crap, beth. Sucks to have the rug pulled out from under like that, but yer better off in the long run.

People are jackholes.
posted by cortex at 3:15 PM on August 26, 2003


that's awful, beth....they sucked anyway if this is how they react...e me
posted by amberglow at 3:19 PM on August 26, 2003


Sympathies, Beth.
posted by JanetLand at 3:24 PM on August 26, 2003


Second the "you-dinna-wanna-work-there-anyway" sentiments, unhelpful as I know they are. That sucks, beth.

And Anil is probably right.
posted by gleuschk at 3:35 PM on August 26, 2003


I'm really surprised that a discussion of a serious issue is considered illegal

yes and no. I skipped the thread when it was posted because I considered it supremely uninteresting -- vigilante justice + child molestation, not good fpp material I'd say (with all due respect to the poster). burt now I checked it out and I have to say that I was surprised at how the Perverted Justice site the fpp linked to felt it necessary to republish the text of the actual exchanges, sex talk and all. It was a NSFW link (and the poster mentioned it), but really, the fpp linked to a very scary, very illegal, X-rated conversation.
as I said, it wasn't simply a discussion of a serious issue. what if the Perverted Justice site had actual pedophiliacvisual content (i.e., "here's the pics that pervert sent us by e-mail"). where's the "collecting evidence" part ends and the being tasteless begins?

of course it sucks that beth got fired for it, it is a very unwise, cynical move on her former employer's part. but really, the link takes you to an appalling website. NSFW, indeed

ps I just wish I lived in Texas to try and help you out find something better, beth.
posted by matteo at 3:36 PM on August 26, 2003


That really sucks beth. Is there no requirement in the US to provide warnings or similar before firing someone? If you had not been given a written policy or a clear verbal advice that accessing web sites was not allowed, how can they justify this, particularly if other employees were visibly not complying with the policy?

Despite the fact that you are probably better off working for an organisation with some decency, it is hard being fired for any reason. It may be a cliche, but I believe that anything that doesn't kill us only makes us stronger. Unless you can find a way to sue their arse, all you can do is move on and remember next time to close MeFi when you leave your desk (as I do). I wish I could help you find a better job.
posted by dg at 3:36 PM on August 26, 2003


I'm so sorry, beth :(
posted by tittergrrl at 3:48 PM on August 26, 2003


*ponders black nationalist coffee shop*

Do they sell coffee farmed by poor opressed whites, perhaps?
posted by Space Coyote at 3:50 PM on August 26, 2003


My sympathies as well.
posted by adrianhon at 3:50 PM on August 26, 2003


26? Shit, there's this cute checkout girl at the supermarket. Arrest me!
posted by angry modem at 3:51 PM on August 26, 2003


dg - I dunno about Texas itself, but Canada has pretty similar employment laws, and the first 3 months are considered a time when an employee can quit or be dismissed without having to give notice or reason. So I doubt the employer needed to supply any reason at all.
posted by Salmonberry at 3:54 PM on August 26, 2003


Similar to the US, I mean.

I hate it when I leave out sentence fragments.
posted by Salmonberry at 3:57 PM on August 26, 2003


Beth, go into real estate.

One of the realtors (a woman) who had front desk duty on the weekend had been looking at porn or something and forgot to delete the minimized window. I don't even think anything was said directly to her, but it did definitely lend itself to water cooler hilarity.
posted by konolia at 3:57 PM on August 26, 2003


That's terrible Beth. If there was no written policy, you may be able to fight it but I'm not sure you would want the job anyway at this point.

I'm about to take a job with no internet access at all. I may go mad.
posted by JoanArkham at 4:04 PM on August 26, 2003


Is there no requirement in the US to provide warnings or similar before firing someone?

Not unless your contract specifies it. Some union contracts might, government employees are fairly well protected in most places. But for the most part, employment is at the mutual whim of the employer and employee, and they don't normally have to give a cause. 2 weeks notice/pay or similar, maybe, but not cause.

But if they do give a cause, and it's a bogus one, that would presumably be actionable in some circumstances (ie, if the employer actually states that you're being fired because of your race instead of just firing you with no reason given). IANAL, but I would hope that a downright defamatory "cause" such as "YPOUR A PEDOHPILEA!!!1!" might be in there. When it's false, anyway.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:18 PM on August 26, 2003


I kind of doubt that there's anything to fight. The subject matter of the thread aside, a company can always get you for doing non-work-related stuff on company time. I know it's nonsense, because it's not a case of the work not getting done, but nevertheless they can nail you for it.
posted by JanetLand at 4:21 PM on August 26, 2003


Is there no requirement in the US to provide warnings or similar before firing someone?

Nope. It depends on the employer (and whether the job is union, which the vast majority aren't)...the only recourse is to sue, which most people can't afford/don't bother to do.

(and on preview, what ROU said)
posted by amberglow at 4:23 PM on August 26, 2003


amberglow why are you avoiding #?
posted by quonsar at 4:24 PM on August 26, 2003


Yeah, what quonsar said!
posted by JanetLand at 4:31 PM on August 26, 2003


...because i'm tired of people i like being banned, and having to fight about it, and the lack of any guidelines which could guide people's behavior--leading to the people not being banned, or at least not being surprised by bans...

that's why : >
posted by amberglow at 4:33 PM on August 26, 2003


I'm sorry beth! That sucks. I hope you can find something that will pay better and be less repressive.

It's a buyer's market right now, employers are letting it go to their heads. Just wait til the worm turns.

In the short term, you may have lost your income, but in the long term, you may have saved your soul.
posted by madamjujujive at 4:38 PM on August 26, 2003


Is there no requirement in the US to provide warnings or similar before firing someone?

Also, most contracts say something to the effect of: 'Employer or employee may sever contract within first 30(or so) days without reason or repercussion."
posted by rhapsodie at 4:39 PM on August 26, 2003


I just moved from Austin last week. Not to be a stick in the mud, but the job situation there was terrible. As it is everywhere. I suggest you set up a lemonade stand in front of your former employers. Wear rags and sell juice with dirt in it. Scream a lot. Set things on fire. You might not get rehired, but you'll have fun in the process.
posted by item at 4:39 PM on August 26, 2003


That you were in a probationary period would have (maybe) allowed your employer to do this here in Australia, but you would have had to be warned that your behaviour was unacceptable at least once. Once you are over the probatrionary period, it is almost impossible to sack someone here unless they do something really nasty. Even if someone is completely useless, the employer is required to provide them with training, counselling or whatever is needed to turn them into a productive employee.
posted by dg at 4:47 PM on August 26, 2003


...I checked it out and I have to say that I was surprised at how the Perverted Justice site the fpp linked to felt it necessary to republish the text of the actual exchanges, sex talk and all. It was a NSFW link (and the poster mentioned it), but really, the fpp linked to a very scary, very illegal, X-rated conversation.

*Pffft* Most pedopornbabble sites have it both ways--the juice and the vengeance. Every excruciating detail possible and then grab the torches and pitchforks and off to Frankenstein's Castle.
All part of America's love affair with children.
Well, love affair with telling and hearing tales of sex with children.
posted by y2karl at 5:01 PM on August 26, 2003


[OT]
well, ambie, that sux0rs. i didn't know about that. and i have made my displeasure known to the ops. riffy seems to think it was justified and i generally trust riffy absolutely, but it sure makes me sad.
[/OT]
posted by quonsar at 5:02 PM on August 26, 2003


beth, you're better off w/o the assholes. of all the many bizarre (possibly dangerous) sites out there, i've never heard of anyone at work even getting reprimanded for reading mefi. what's so damn ironic is that the 'offending' post, linked to a site whose entire purpose was to expose pedophiles, and the comments within the post were thoughtful and provocative.
posted by poopy at 5:13 PM on August 26, 2003


[ot, too] thanks q--I'm just really not comfortable with a situation where people are, essentially, banned because of their personalities..it happened before the most recent instance as well, and it's bound to reoccur[/ot]
posted by amberglow at 5:14 PM on August 26, 2003


Any other hot IRC gossip we've missed out on hanging around MetaFilter?
posted by timeistight at 5:16 PM on August 26, 2003


well, if there WAS, don't you think we would already have posted it in big [OT] tags, timeistight?
posted by quonsar at 5:19 PM on August 26, 2003


[OT] I hear quonsar is a big meanie-head. [/OT]
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:21 PM on August 26, 2003


[OT] only on the web site. [/OT]
posted by quonsar at 5:22 PM on August 26, 2003


[OT] asshole. [/OT]
posted by quonsar at 5:23 PM on August 26, 2003


I just wanted to say thanks again to everyone who expressed their sympathies. It really does make me feel better, and I am actually holding up pretty well, considering. (three cheers for being on the right medication!)

I'm going to hit the ground running tomorrow on the new job search.

I keep replaying fantasies in my head of what I *should* have said - stuff like "You can't fire me! I QUIT!" or severe admonishments with a clue-by-four that talking about pedophilia is not the same as pedophilia. But one only comes up with these things after the stressful encounter, it seems.
posted by beth at 5:24 PM on August 26, 2003


where's the "collecting evidence" part ends and the being tasteless begins?

It began, for me, when I noticed that one could VOTE on the sliminess of the conversation. Ridiculous.

Beth... Ctrl-Alt-Delete - Enter (assuming you're working on a windows box).

You mentioned being concerned with giving out the name of the company that fired you. Is there really anything she would have to worry about [asking the group]?
posted by Witty at 5:48 PM on August 26, 2003


"Aw, you've done grand, laddie! Now you know what you have to do; Burn the house down. Burn 'em all!!!"

NOTE: not a burn on you beth, it just reminded me of that certain simpson episode and some not-so-nice fantasies of my own :).
posted by poopy at 5:50 PM on August 26, 2003


Ctrl-Alt-Delete - Enter (assuming you're working on a windows box).

not win98, which is what she was using, which says something about that "major insurance brokerage company".
posted by quonsar at 6:07 PM on August 26, 2003


Texas has really, really loose laws about hiring and firing. It's a no-cause state, which means that employers can fire employees for any reason or for no reason at all. The only thing that's illegal is if you specifically tell someone that they're being fired for being a member of a protected group (ethnic minority, gender, age, etc.). Even then, you usually have to have pretty unassailable proof that that was the reason.

Doesn't mean it don't suck.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 6:16 PM on August 26, 2003


I'm going to hit the ground running tomorrow on the new job search.

beth, if you have no problem compromising your professional ethics and personal integrity to cover the asses of weasels who have little interest in taking responsibility for their asinine decisions which undermine everything you've ever tried to do in your career whilst simultaneously making sure you don't have any clean drinking water and get to enjoy the lovely aroma of raw sewage and plaster dust from construction and construction-related "mistakes" ... I can put in a good word for ya at my old place. They don't care if you surf the web or not, that's for sure.
posted by WolfDaddy at 6:32 PM on August 26, 2003


[OT] asshole. [/OT]

Give us a kiss, quonsar. You know you want to.
posted by timeistight at 6:37 PM on August 26, 2003


Sounds like the perfect job, WolfDaddy ;-)
posted by dg at 6:40 PM on August 26, 2003


beth - Sorry. I've worried a lot about my employer getting upset over me reading a discussion forum all day at work. Getting screwed for just one thread is chilling.

I've been considering writing a cloaking script that would suck in MetaFilter and then send it back out in a different look and feel. Like maybe have it look like CNN, or a Microsoft support page or something. Of course then I'd have a hard time arguing I wasn't doing something unprofessional at work.
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:49 PM on August 26, 2003


suck in MetaFilter and then send it back out in a different look and feel

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"

posted by yerfatma at 7:04 PM on August 26, 2003


beth - what everyone else said. Just consider yourself lucky (as far as being fired is lucky) for finding this out in the first couple of weeks, rather than a year or two down the road.

(/me also in Austin, also looking for work, also sucking.)
posted by majcher at 7:11 PM on August 26, 2003


Good luck with your job search Beth.
posted by Tarrama at 7:43 PM on August 26, 2003


You too Majcher, I hope you both end up with jobs you love.
posted by Tarrama at 7:53 PM on August 26, 2003


Sounds like the perfect job, WolfDaddy ;-)

You're a fluffer too?
posted by WolfDaddy at 8:09 PM on August 26, 2003


In this economy, that really sucks....I'm sorry to hear it Beth.
posted by dejah420 at 8:17 PM on August 26, 2003


Crazy idea coming:

How about instead of people just writing NSFW, Matt can implement a NSFW check box. If someone posts something that might go against work policies then that post is filtered if that person is in "work mode." I guess that could be toggled on your userpage.

Kind of like google's Safe Search.
posted by skallas at 8:47 PM on August 26, 2003


The trouble is that it wasn't the link that got her fired, but the discussion, so a NSFW warning on the link doesn't help.

This is all just too stupid.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:53 PM on August 26, 2003


And let us never speak of it again :P.

Sorry Beth. My boss has caught me on metafilter too, but I told him it was for my glaucoma.
posted by dgaicun at 9:57 PM on August 26, 2003


legalize medical metafilter.
posted by quonsar at 10:25 PM on August 26, 2003


Beth, the next time you see the shit coming down yell: Get your hands off my ass you goddam pervert! Especially if you know you've really been nailed you must get them on the defensive immediatly. Good luck, Girl.
posted by Mack Twain at 10:38 PM on August 26, 2003


>The trouble is that it wasn't the link that got her fired, but the discussion, so a NSFW warning on the link doesn't help.

No, no. The work safe front page would filter the post and access to the comments. It would be like it wasn't even there. So mefites can happily use it at work and come home for the "blue" material.
posted by skallas at 12:09 AM on August 27, 2003


Sorry to hear about this beth!
posted by plep at 12:52 AM on August 27, 2003


You should have laughed at them and made cutting remarks about their intellectual vacuity, then responded to everything they said with a thick sarcasm that allows no room for them to misinterpret your contempt for them.

People seem to get very angry when you laugh at them and accompany it with much belittling.
posted by The God Complex at 1:39 AM on August 27, 2003


My sympathies beth.
I spend most time here during work hours and try to avoid
posts that hint at any sexual reference.
Some of the titles are worse than the content.
Still getting over the warning for Essex cricket scores.Never mind that hysterical Onion article of years ago concerning anal.Try explaining irony to the internet police.
posted by johnny7 at 2:48 AM on August 27, 2003


Beth, wish I could help. . .

You might want to try and make sure this doesn't follow you around as you search for another job.
You'll probably not want to use them as a reference.
posted by DBAPaul at 4:33 AM on August 27, 2003


.....and haggis play the bagpipes on a tuesday.
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:44 AM on August 27, 2003


the thought police don't need to exist... people are doing it to each other just fine.

Indeed. I would hope that everyone here would support the free exchange of information and ideas, even (especially) in cases regarding disturbing or aberrant behavior. One cannot combat that which he doesn't understand. Please challenge at every opportunity those around you who would squelch knowledge and understanding—it's a real and serious threat to the democratic social model.

Good luck, beth.
posted by rushmc at 5:02 AM on August 27, 2003


My sympathies, beth, and the best of luck to your job search. I don't know a lot about Austin, but when I was job hunting, I went through a temp agency and managed to land a really nice job.

You might want to give that a shot.
posted by rocketman at 6:46 AM on August 27, 2003


That's outrageous and sucks the big one. I hope you feel that you're better off in the long run. Agree w/rocketman re the above - always managed to find something decent through temp agencies. Best of luck w/the jobhunt - we've all been there and you have our sympathies.
posted by widdershins at 7:02 AM on August 27, 2003


I talked to my friend at dinner about this last night. She also worked in the Insurance industry and said that where she had worked, they had some kind of keyword recognition software filter thing on there that had certain words flagged if they came up on the system/screen. She said if they did, then that user would be out the door.
If there is that type of software out there, maybe they had that and that was what the dismissal was mostly about - not just the discussion aspect, but having the forbidden "secret word" come up.
posted by thatothrgirl at 7:51 AM on August 27, 2003


Jesus, if I ever got Internet-audited here at work, they'd probably crucify me. One nice thing about having your own office and no (I think, knock on wood, genuflect) filters.

*shudders, looks over shoulder*
posted by gottabefunky at 7:55 AM on August 27, 2003


The God Complex... I'm still laughing.
posted by Witty at 8:09 AM on August 27, 2003


Considering thatothrgirl's post, when voice recognition software improves, I think we can all look forward to a workplace where conversations are subjected to the same policy. People who speak clearly will be at a career disadvantage.
posted by rcade at 8:15 AM on August 27, 2003


Watch out for pimp temp agencies. You do some work, they pay the agency, and you get your cut. And all the while no one gets any health insurance.

It's good that rocketman got the hookup from one of them, but there is no worse feeling than finding out that you discovered a position through a temp agency that you could have found on your own, and that it means that you will make significantly less money than you would otherwise with no benefits.

oh, and beth: if you ever see your old bosses again, tell them politely to remove the panopticons that are wedged in their assholes.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 8:17 AM on August 27, 2003


Let's all go to Austin and picket Beth's employer. Or maybe just TP the place or something mature like that.
I've been looking for an excuse to visit Austin forever now...
posted by Shane at 9:27 AM on August 27, 2003


Ignatius, some companies will only hire people that they first used as temps. In my previous job we had a woman who had started out temping and then landed a permanent position whereby she got the (excellent) benefits.
posted by konolia at 10:08 AM on August 27, 2003


What's a panopticon?
What's a nubian?
posted by angry modem at 10:31 AM on August 27, 2003


It's good that rocketman got the hookup from one of them,

Actually, I kind of misrepresented myself. What I did was apply at the temp agency, and they presented me with a position that they felt was a good fit and gave me some details about it. I went home to think about it, skimmed the classifieds for the position in question, and applied directly to the company.

In the end, my cleverness paid off.
posted by rocketman at 10:43 AM on August 27, 2003


konolia:
I've seen that happen, too. But would that company stop hiring if they couldn't use temps? I doubt it. I currently work for a place that (IMO) uses temps raterh ethically, but they are really in the minority here. Temping can become this sort of addict lifestyle, where you work full-time, but don't have any security or time to look for a real job. THen you can only move from low-paying temp job to low-paying temp job.

Panopticon: First theorized by Jeremy Bentham, made famous by Michel Foucault. It describes the basic function of a prison tower (making the prisoners think that they're always watched, though they can't see the watchers, who thus needn't be there all the time), and then proceeds to explain how the notion symplized by the tower (or panopticon) underlies the excercise of power in society.

And it was the name of my buddies' heavy metal band in college.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:45 AM on August 27, 2003


What I did was apply at the temp agency, and they presented me with a position that they felt was a good fit and gave me some details about it. I went home to think about it, skimmed the classifieds for the position in question, and applied directly to the company.

Not that I wouldn't do that myself in an instant, but that is a violation of the contract with the agency. I think you did the "right" thing, but certainly you recognize that if you had gotten the job formally through the agency you'd be making less money and no benes. That's why you circumvented, right?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:47 AM on August 27, 2003


Thank you Ignatius. If you'd like me to cook dinner for you tonight, I'd be happy to do so.
posted by angry modem at 11:43 AM on August 27, 2003


That's part of the reason. But keep in mind that where you make less as a temp, part of that is because of money that the contracting company is paying to the temp agency. My direct application was a message that said "I know the game, and I want to save you money."

It didn't violate the contract because the temp agency never actually revealed the company's name to me. But they were a bit too liberal with details, and in a smallish city (Madison), it wasn't too hard to figure out what company it was. I applied, and since the temp agency hadn't officially "placed" me, all was fair.
posted by rocketman at 11:43 AM on August 27, 2003


Personally I have had excellent experiences temping, and I've usually been offered the job permanently (when there was one available). Many companies will only hire temp-to-perm these days. I've always enjoyed the fact that I also get to try out the company before I commit. And don't forget you can/should renegotiate your salary when you're hired on permanently. Yes, you forego benefits and health insurance as a temp, and for some people that's not a desirable option. But for those who are childless and in good health, I think it's an excellent foot in the door. Just my 2 cents' worth.
posted by widdershins at 12:00 PM on August 27, 2003


Saying that someone who discusses pedophilia is a pedophile is as flawed as saying someone who looks at pictures of pedophilia is a pedophile. That does not, however, give you the right to download child porn at work.
posted by wackybrit at 12:35 PM on August 27, 2003


Well, you can get benefits as a temp, but you have to pay out the wazoo for them. I'm a contractor through an agency (so kind of a temp, but a permanent one--well, as permanent as anything can be), and while the PTO policy is okay once you get into the swing of things (which took about 4 months--mostly due to *them* sitting on the contract for 3 of those months), their health insurance is extremely expensive. I'd have to pay as much to cover only myself as employees at my company pay to cover their entire families. If I had a family, I would be paying nearly 30% of my pre-tax pay on heath insurance. That's too much.
posted by eilatan at 1:06 PM on August 27, 2003


Very sorry to hear, Beth.

For all else reading MeFi at work, here are a few keystrokes that will get you out of some jams in Windows:

Alt-Tab: Allows you to switch to other window. Handy if you can detect boss coming around corner and s/he needs to see that you're working on something. (Better than any boss key from the 80s.)

Alt-F4: Allows you to immediately close window and avoid detection.

Also, be sure to clear out your history and your cache at the end of the day, in the event someone else logs onto your computer and finds out where you've logged into. Ascertain if there are any programs registering your key strokes.

And above all, close all extraneous windows when you go away for lunch or a break.

Practice these techniques (which can be mastered in a mere week) and you will avoid all workplace-related retaliations.

And in the meantime, does anyone have any job leads for beth?
posted by ed at 2:09 PM on August 27, 2003


First of all, I am so sorry Beth. I wish you all the best in finding a new (and hopefully much better) job somewhere where folks have common sense. If there is such a job. ;-)

Watch out for pimp temp agencies. You do some work, they pay the agency, and you get your cut. And all the while no one gets any health insurance.

I've got to also say that temp agencies really helped me out. I couldn't get a job right out of college, so I worked for a temp agency. The company I was temping for (a major company) hired me on full time after a month, along with the other temp. It didn't violate any contract with the temp agency - the company had to pay a fee to the temp agency, but that was part of the contract the two companies had.

Also, most major temp agencies do offer nice insurance packages and other benefits for long-term tempers. And many temp agencies offer temp-to-perm placement, like the agency I used to find my job. It's not a bad gig at all when you're in between jobs.
posted by catfood at 3:36 PM on August 27, 2003


Ed - You forgot to tell people to also ensure that they break into the room which holds the router / proxy server and (using the password gleaned from running ethereal over the company network) to log onto the aforementioned machine and clear out all access logs pertaining to their internet usage.

Just to be sure you understand.
posted by seanyboy at 4:11 PM on August 27, 2003


There's only one rule: Don't get noticed.
posted by timeistight at 4:31 PM on August 27, 2003


wackybrit: "...is as flawed as saying someone who looks at pictures of pedophilia is a pedophile."

They're not?

Unless one is a member of a legitimate law enforcement agency and tasked with the investigation of child pornography, I'd say looking at the pictures is a pretty damn good indication. Overt physical action is not a prerequisite for the diagnosis.
posted by cedar at 5:05 PM on August 27, 2003


Yeah, because as we all know, viewing a pictorial representation is just the same as committing an actual, physical act; but you know, that already, being a psychiatrist and all...

We're do you get these generalizations from, the Andrea Dworkin Foundation?
posted by JollyWanker at 6:09 PM on August 27, 2003


angry modem:
I am out of food. Your offer is accepted.

Everyone else: I'm glad to hear that poeple have good experiences with temp agencies. I have always been worried by the idea of my experiences becoming the norm in employment, but it sounds like that's not happening. Maybe the reason I hate temping is just that I'm an asshole...
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 6:34 PM on August 27, 2003


log onto the aforementioned machine and clear out all access logs pertaining to their internet usage.

Which employers actually look at their logs, anyway? Doesn't it seem like a monumental waste of time to do this for an employee who isn't under any suspicion in the first place of looking at pr0n at work?
posted by PrinceValium at 6:39 PM on August 27, 2003


I can't help but post this 49 meg movie and wonder if we have crossed the line into some sort of Twilight Zone.
posted by DBAPaul at 7:39 PM on August 27, 2003


Remember the last episode of Seinfeld where they got arrested because they watched a crime take place and didn't bother to intervene? It meant they were all muggers too.
posted by wackybrit at 7:59 PM on August 27, 2003


jollywanker: "We're do you get these generalizations from, the Andrea Dworkin Foundation?"

Well, no. Actually it came from the dictionary. See, I have this funny idea that there is something wrong with adults being aroused by sexual imagery of children. I also have this concept that people who view such images, images that rational people find incredibly revolting, just may have a kink or two. Call me a prude, what can I say.

I'm no psychiatrist, but I do happen to have DSM-IV lieing around and trust me on this, pedophilia has little to do with physical contact. That would be rape, assault or molestation. Also, as someone working in the field (corrections, not medical), I do have a measure of first hand expierience that I find somewhat more compelling than your knee twitching rush to defend some sick individuals right to view images that not only are offensive but are illegal.

On preview: wackybrit: As well they should have been. You certainly can't be expected to jeopardize your personal safety, but I see nothing wrong with expecting people to act like human beings and show a little, just a wee bit, of compassion for those around them. It's called responsibility and acceptance of the social compact that makes daily life bearable. Most people with any sense outgrow nihilism shortly after puberty, some never get it and sit around like sheep while others are being hurt.

They tend to be the same people who don't have a problem with kiddie porn. After all, they didn't do it. Hell, the pictures were already taken, what's the harm in just looking? On that note, I'll be leaving this alone. I'm not big on personal disclosure and this hits a little too close to home, I have three young children and spend the bulk of my day dealing with those who would harm them if given half a chance... yeah, I know, I need a new job.
posted by cedar at 8:24 PM on August 27, 2003


DBAPaul: Thank-you for that. It was hysterical, poor Larry.
posted by cedar at 8:44 PM on August 27, 2003


Beth, that is horrible. You have all my sympathies. I hope you find a much better gig really soon.

I have been dicked over by a temp agency. Back in '95 I left a job out of utter frustration at the lack of opportunity and I picked up a gig while I was looking for something permanent.
I'd made it quite clear that it would not be a temp to perm situation for me and I was still looking. The place I was working at was fine with that. The temp agency insisted that they had hired me permanently sub rosa (No. I hate doing
PC tech support, which is what it was) and started demanding huge cash, resulting in my having to leave the gig. Sucked.

It may have partly been the lack of professionalism of the small place I was working for, but the temp agency pretty much fucked me over.

Head hunters have done me few favors either.
posted by ursus_comiter at 8:56 PM on August 27, 2003


Ehhh, employers are assholes.

In my experience, anyway.
(And it's even worse when you're your own boss.)
posted by Shane at 7:34 AM on August 28, 2003


they had some kind of keyword recognition software filter thing on there that had certain words flagged if they came up on the system/screen. She said if they did, then that user would be out the door.

All attempts to automate judgement are misguided and doomed to fail.
posted by rushmc at 5:09 AM on August 29, 2003


Late to the thread as ever, but beth, I'm so sorry to hear about your situation. Best of luck to you!
posted by Vidiot at 5:13 AM on August 29, 2003


On a side note, I got the following e-mail yesterday:

Received: from pacbell.net [67.114.109.90] by cafemain.CAPITOLHILL.local
(SMTPD32-7.03) id A95259E00FE; Thu, 28 Aug 2003 10:18:10 -0700
Received: from adsl-67-114-109-90.dsl.frsn02.pacbell.net (adsl-67-114-109-90.dsl.frsn02.pacbell.net [67.114.109.90])
by pacbell.net (8.12.8p1/8.12.8) with ESMTP id tprih032106
for ; Thu, 28 Aug 2003 17:23:28 -0400 (EST)
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2003 17:23:26 -0400 (EST)
From: Hunter Caroline
X-Mailer: The Bat! (v1.61) Personal
Reply-To: Idt_Ky@1-base.com
X-Priority: 3 (Normal)
Message-ID: <2 86150182.9974445157599@1-base.com>
To:
Subject: Buy drugs, Heroin, Tomohawk rockets, cocaine and other shit
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary="----------063985748469582"
X-RCPT-TO:
Status: R
X-UIDL: 345340279

Subject: Buy drugs, Heroin, Tomohawk rockets, cocaine and other shit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Welcome to the site http://www.darkprofits.com , it's us again, now we extended our offerings, here is a list:

1. Heroin, in liquid and crystal form.

2. Rocket fuel and Tomohawk rockets (serious enquiries only).

3. Other rockets (Air-to-Air), orders in batches of 10.

4. New shipment of cocaine has arrived, buy 9 grams and get 10th for free.

5. We also offer gay-slaves for sale, we offer only such service on the NET, you can choose the one you like, then get straight to business.

6. Fake currencies, such as Euros and US dollars, prices would match competition.

7. Also, as always, we offer widest range of child pornography and exclusive lolita galleries, to keep out clients busy.

Everyone is welcome, be it in States or any other place worldwide.

ATTENTION. Clearance offer. Buy 30 grams of heroin, get 5 free. Prepay your batch of rockets (air-to-air) and recieve a portable rocket-lacuncher for free.

http://www.darkprofits.com

This offer won't last! Only until 20th of August all our clients will also recieve a pack of 2 CDs, with best selection of child pornography.


Imagine checking your email at work and finding that. I don't understand how to read headers but I sure hope it's not a prank from someone here. It looks like something that could really screw someone if they opened it at work where they filtered for keywords, does it not? I've never seen anything like this before. Have any of you gotten something like this?
posted by y2karl at 11:56 AM on August 29, 2003


y2karl, I got the same email (at a home account, so no work worries) and laughed my ass off. I actually posted the text to the front page of my blog and for teh first time ever got some feedback. I guess whoever wrote that thing is way funnier than I'll ever be.

I just assumed it was weird spam, not any particular sort of prank...
posted by COBRA! at 12:17 PM on August 29, 2003


Message-ID: <2 86150182.9974445157599@1-base.com>

oh, that's just jonson.
posted by quonsar at 3:08 PM on August 29, 2003


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