The Bitter  Network Administrator

A Website Dedicated to Computer Professional...and some not so Professional

Has Monitoring your Network Given you a God Complex? 
By Douglas Chick

From your desk you can see who and when someone logs in, who and what e-mail they send and what websites that they frequently attend. Knowing this information can sometimes place you in difficult situations. You often ask yourself if you should interfere to help someone that you like, or don't like. See an e-mail that you know is damaging and wonder if you should stop or remove it completely. It's a very difficult position to be in and almost no one, short of other computer people know about it. So what do you do? I am now of the philosophy that, "Unless someone is in danger of being hurt--Stay out of it!" And I've never seen anyone in danger of being hurt yet.  

Every single time that I've ever interfered, thinking I was helping someone--I became the bad guy or my interference made the situation worse. This is a very strange position to be in, and so very new to the world that there's no where to refer to for help. 

It's not easy, but if you can't mind your business and allow nature to take it course, you'll be wrapped up into one melodrama after another until you're fired. It's also best not to let your superiors know that you have this power. Otherwise you'll find yourself in another awkward situation of having to report everything that you know to the President of the company, or configuring all your systems so that your superiors, (and I use that term loosely.) can monitor all the employees. I've done both, and it's not a good position to be in because most CEO's know little or nothing about the internet or computers and people lose their jobs. Before letting the CEO monitor e-mail, I've sat them down and told them this;

Most people use the boss as the bad guy because they don't want confrontation. So they will say no using the owner, or President or CEO as the fall guy and criticizing him while they are doing it. You have to tell that CEO that it is harmless and if they are going to read the company e-mail they are going to have to be thick skinned. I've seen more than one or two references to myself that has been less than flattering. Okay, more than one or two, a lot. (Look for more on that in my article, "Using your powers for only good." :-)