Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day 65 - No "I" in Team

The more I learn about computers the more I'm convinced my theory is right.  I believe that a co-worker was spying on me via my computer.  I had returned from a vacation to one of my work stations.  For this particular job I had multiple roles so I needed to use three computers on the network.  At the station was a piece of paper laying beside the computer with my social security number on it.  This scared me because it wasn't my writing, it was actually my managers.  I had suspected some back door dealings between my manager and a co-worker prior to this but couldn't explain why.


As I started to look through the hard drives of computers I found a chain of the network and how all the computers were routed through one in the back room.  This computer had the side of the case off of it with a box of software sitting beside it.  The guts were exposed and an additional hard drive was mounted inside of it. I started eliminating possibilities of my paranoia one by one and noticed that I couldn't eliminate any computers from this process. For example, Macs are not known for being computers that people can easily install and execute spyware on.  But as I  looked I noticed a program on all the macs that showed every single screen shot of each mouse click throughout the entire day.  Essentially the co-worker, Mike, could see anything I did on this machine all day long.

I then started digging into my computer and my e-mail.  I thought at least my e-mail is safe.  I found that my inbox had been cloned and that there was an unnamed additional user who had access to my e-mail.  I deleted all the users except myself.  Well at least I thought I had deleted all the other users until I noticed that every time I received an e-mail that a beep went off on my co-workers phone who sat in the cubicle beside me.  I must be imagining things, I will do a test and send myself an e-mail I thought.  As soon as the e-mail came in I heard the co-workers phone beep again.  I'M RIGHT, I'm not imagining this. 

I started to panic, how am I going to prove this?  I don't know enough about computers.  I drew up a schematic of how the computers were all tied together.  At lunch, I searched Mike's desk and found receipts that were laying out in the open of purchases of software that could be used to set up VPNs.  A Virtual Private Network essentially allows anyone to access the network at the office from their home or cell phone.  I asked my co-worker Mike after returning from lunch if he could access the computers at night from home. He proudly boasted, "Yes, I do it all the time." I asked how he could do that and he told me I would need permission from the manager to do this.  I asked the manager if I could do this too.  He told me, "I don't think you have any need to do this from home. So not right now."  As an assistant manager who was usually called in the night to solve a problem, I of all people would be the ONE person who would need this.  I asked him, "Are you able to log on at night?"  He said, "Yes."  I asked, "Can Mike do it?"  He said, "Yes."  I asked the obvious, why would Mike have the permission to do so and not me?  I was given the excuse, "He needs access to the mainframe as he is our pseudo network guy at this offsite facility."

Are you kidding me? I knew something wasn't right.  I felt like the manger was in on it and I couldn't send any e-mails to HR as they had my e-mail cloned and would see what I sent.  Doing the right thing was to gather the evidence and make an appointment to go to HR.  I resigned as the Assistant Manager while building my case as I felt at the time this would show that I didn't want any part of this.  I wanted to go back to just being an average worker as the stress of having a co-worker undermine me for a position that I deserved and he undeservedly wanted, was not worth my health.  I have learned throughout my career stress can do bad things to one's body. By the time I got to HR and told them the story, they accused me of doing this for spite because I didn't do it while I was the Asst. Manager.  Wait a minute, what about checking the computers first before listening to me about something an INSURANCE company would be liable for?

I could see that I was being railroaded. I invited the IT people to come and look at the history of the computers.  They showed up one day and Mike was clearly nervous.  They interviewed he and I independently of each other.  I explained that he had switched out my computer with another one and I knew this because I had different desktops on each one and the desktop was the one from the other room.  Why would someone want to exchange computers from another room in the first place? Mine wasn't broken. They looked at the User group and said no additional user was granted permissions. I explained that I deleted him as a user because I didn't want him to see my e-mails.  They told me I should not have done that.  I lost the proof.  I was just trying to save my sanity. I didn't think about having to prove this as I was just trying to alleviate the espionage. They told me they couldn't find any evidence and left.

The next day I took a photo of the additional hard drive on the computer that Mike had all apart in the back room and was gaining access to at night.  I waited until lunch time and sent an e-mail to IT and HR with the attached photo and explained that this is how he was doing it.  When I returned from lunch, the computer case was put back together and the hard drive and additional software removed from the computer.  So the computer had been like this for over sixty days and just miraculously within one hour of me sending photos and an e-mail proving the hardware and software existed enabling him to do what I had accused him of doing, the hardware and software suddenly disappeared?

Within two weeks, they notified us that the offsite facility was being closed. We were losing our jobs.  I'm sure this was already in the works, I just moved the decision along a little faster.  I now know that going to HR in big corporations will not make a difference unless you have a Mentor who can help you outside the department. Preferably it would be your manager but as you see, it is not always possible. When you don't have the support of your manager, you might as well find another job.  This I learned through experience.  Going around the manager only makes it look like you are not a "team" player.  The false logic is that there is a real "team" at all in the beginning.  I know there is no I in team but there is not I in "sabotage" either.

Sometimes knowing you are right is the only right thing to happen in this situation. The more you try to explain, the crazier you begin to sound.  People who don't understand computers start to think the person bringing attention to the issue is somewhat paranoid. This is a big reason why I'm currently studying computers and networking security.  I'll be able to explain how Mike tried to sabotage me when I'm done as I have kept all the documentation.  I may not be able to do anything about that particular situation, but eventually I'll be in a position that I can protect someone else from the same victimization.  There may be no "I" in team but there are two "I's" in "victim" and three "I's" in "liability".

Login: yes
Password: i dont have one
password is incorrect

Login: yes
Password: incorrect

No comments:

Post a Comment