Friday, April 13, 2007

Answer This!

Question
I share a cubicle with a co-worker who’s constantly surfing online while doing his work. He has a big monitor so he can have a few windows open at the same time.

Now, I’m pretty good at multi-tasking so I sort of get that he can work and play at the same time. But it irks me because it feels unfair, like he’s cheating. It’s against company policy to use our computers for non-work related activities so he’s definitely breaking the rules. On the other hand, he gets his work done on time so why should it matter?

Well, here’s why it bothers me: The sites he goes to are dating and sex sites. Not exactly porn (at least I haven’t seen any of that on his screen). But it’s definitely guy-looking-for-girl stuff, including emails to his Match.com prospects.

What do you think? Should it bother me? Should I say something, do something? Or just let it go?
--“Ms. Irked”

1 comment:

Ronnie Ann said...

A man with a big monitor, huh? Hard to resist. (-; Looks like your eyes are spending a lot of time checking out what he's looking at. Is it possible you like him just a little? (If not, my apologies.)

I think whether you say something depends on your relationship. But it couldn't hurt to make casual conversation about it. Maybe by (quietly) asking him something like "Hey...are those dating sites any good?" you'd at least start to get it out in the open and maybe even help yourself take some of the irk away. I find once I'm in on something, it's not quite as irksome. And unless the company requires you to snitch (I sure hope not), you might as well relax and let him worry about his own behavior.

In fact, the company might already know, since some places have tools to monitor that stuff. And some places even allow a little leeway, as long as the person produces. In companies like this, the policy is often used as a reason to fire or reprimand if the person is NOT doing his work. Your co-worker is taking that risk on himself - I assume knowingly.

So as long as his activity isn't interfering with your own work, my best advice would be find a way to make peace with it - and, depending on how he responds, maybe even a new friend.

One more thought: In case he doesn't respond all that well to your question, at the very least, he might not be so obvious with his diversions from that point on. And meanwhile you'll have gotten the topic off your chest and out in the open - where maybe you can learn to laugh about it (or blog about it as a funny story) and then just write it off as one of those wacky things a cubicle mate does that bug us. At least he's quiet about it. (-;