How are your morals: An Awkward Work Dilemma

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Let me start by saying that the following work dilemma is based on an actual event.

Just imagine you are in the following scenario:

You are a computer administrator for a very large company. You have worked there eight years and enjoy your work. Of course you’ve also made quite a few good friends. You work to pay the mortgage and support your family.

One day your boss comes to you and asks you to restore some data from a backup. He requests that this is done on the quiet. To be more precise you are not to discuss it or inform any of your colleagues. You are told that one of your colleagues is under scrutiny. You are to recover all of the files in their home drive from a couple of weeks ago.

The first dilemma:

You realise that this could put you in an awkward position. Do you say to your boss NO I am not comfortable with this. Please ask somebody else?

Do you say?

    Let us just say that you agree to carry out the work. Your boss tells you the name of the person. From now on I will refer to them as Miss X.

    As it is sensitive you are asked to do this from your boss’s office. It doesn’t take long for you to find out which backup tape the data is on. Since it’s only a couple of gigabytes it won’t take too long to restore the data.

    Of course, you do not restore it back to its original place. It must be restored to a place that only your manager can see. Obviously, you also need access to the files so you can restore it. You leave the restore going and go to the canteen for dinner.

    As per normal, you sit with your colleagues during dinner. The subject of Miss X’s impending wedding is mentioned. Everybody is looking forward to a good knees up. Twenty minutes later everybody has finished their lunch and is heading back to their departments. At one point there is only you and Miss X.

    So the second dilemma is:

    Miss X is a good friend that you have known for a couple of years. Do you give her a heads up on the situation?

    Lunchtime is over and you head back to your managers’ office. The screen indicates that the restore has finished. To test the success of the restore you need to open a few of the files. To your surprise, they are intimate images of Miss X. She is in a passionate clinch with an unknown male. It certainly isn’t her fiancé. You know him quite well as he works in the finance office.

    The final dilemma is:

    You could have a word with Miss X to say “look this is out of order you are getting married soon”.
    You could have a word with her fiancé to say “look she isn’t the one for you she’s a bad one”.
    Alternatively, you could do nothing and keep your mouth shut.

    So tell us, What would you do in this awkward work dilemma?

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    2 thoughts on “How are your morals: An Awkward Work Dilemma

    • First off, ask for the restore request to be put through in writing/email/etc. rather than just verbally. Always create a papertrial, even if you don’t like papertrails.

      If I say anything then its a sackable offense if found out, and we now know that Miss X is not one for discrection.

      As you “know nothing” you have no need to get involved in personal relationships – yes you could send an email to the fiance, CC’d to Miss X, from the managers account containing copies of the pics but that would be unprofessional and unethical.

      Reply
    • You raise some very good points!
      These days a system to log support requests is a must have. There is then a clear trail of who requested and who implemented tasks.
      It reduces finger-pointing should anything go belly up.

      Reply

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