Here Today Gone Today

I didn’t know TA well, but she seemed like the kind of co-worker that it would be good to be around – energetic, efficient, fun-loving and appreciative. Yesterday, the news started leaking out through post-it notes from people who had been asked to remove her access from various systems. Now. Rumors started flying, and were quickly confirmed but the only real information was “TA is no longer with the company.”

I don’t know what happened, and there is a sense in which I’d really rather not know. Given the circumstances, the departure hardly seems likely to be a happy story.

Some things seem so stable, so constant that we can take it for granted, and even grumble about “having” to go to work in the morning. But when you see that shift suddenly, and for someone whose work performance (at least to a relative outsider) seemed perfectly adequate, you lose that sense of certainty.

It’s the milder professional version of losing someone unexpectedly, and feeling like more than ever you need to take advantage of the time you have left, and maybe also stop eating quite some many french fries.

For me the professional version of cutting out junk food is sliding into using my work computer and work phone for personal tasks, because, hey, it’s MY computer. But it’s not my computer. It belongs to the company that bought it for me, and it can be gone as quickly as TA.

In fact, this is the second warning I’ve had along these lines.

When my company lost an important contract, and it looked like several employees were going to get let go, the company disabled all of the USB ports, drives, card readers etc. that would allow you to easily pull files off the computer. Of course, you could always DropBox or email it to yourself, but in fact they were monitoring those channels for suspicious activity as well. One person was caught and fired for emailing “company secrets” to herself after this policy was instituted.

Your co-workers are not your family. My VIP reminded me of something he’d read once… “The problem with loving your job is that a job can’t love you back.”

PS. The irony of this post following a post called “I Quit.” is not lost on me. Emotions change quickly.