Work / Life Balance

And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.  And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:   But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

— Genesis II:15-18

Last week in the Change Management Board meeting, I found out that we were going to begin restricting access to internet dating sites, like Lavalife.  The attendees were all uniformly shocked, as it was generally assumed that these sites were blocked to begin with.  Many companies do not even like you to read personal e-mail on company time, let alone look for a new mate.  Companies tend to fret about liability and so on should anything unpleasant arise from you using the company’s infrastructure and time to do something so clearly unrelated to actual work.

But partners of The Firm, in their infinite wisdom, had looked down from on high and worried about all us urbanite tower dwellers having appropriate work/life balance.  And they decided, way back when, not to block dating sites as this might negatively affect our ability to keep equilibrium in our professional and social spheres.  Until, presumably, some poor lovelorn sods started surfing the dating sites a little too often and the bandwidth usage crept up enough to be detected and analysed by our monitoring tools.

What really makes this comedic gold is that access to dating sites is blocked only during business hours.  Yes, that’s right — there is a specific, intentional filtering exemption for after hours use.  I guess the logic is that if you’re here after hours and surfing for a date, your social life needs more help than hindrance from us.   The sad part is that I.T. departments are generally so conditioned to overreaction and zero-tolerance, the proportionate response of permitting non-business network use after business hours seems like sheer lunacy or high comedy.  I find it funny as hell, but then I have spent ten years in environments where, generally, people get fired (or at least an HR notation in their file) for the infraction of inappropriate network use.  It is downright hard to fathom this sort of thing being condoned.

In the abstract it is kind of entertaining to ponder a global corporation intentionally letting its employees surf dating sites, only reluctantly rescinding that capability — but only during business hours.  The real tragedy is that most IT professionals (and I include myself here) look at this example and shake their heads, laughing — instead of asking "Why aren’t more companies doing things this way — sensibly, proportionately?"

Category: Industria, Web/Tech
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