The Code To Be Paged To Be Fired

, , , , , | Working | March 24, 2018

(In the 1980s, I worked for a marine engineering firm for 11 years, right out of college. I have a computer science degree, and my job basically evolves into dealing with all things technological: PCs, phone PBX, electrical, and electronic. This also includes changing the security code for the electronic door locks to our office suites. I do this on a yearly, scheduled basis, as well as sometimes when a staff member leaves our employ, willingly or not. On my last day at the office before moving on to a better-paying job, I get called to our office manager’s office.)

Me: “[Manager], you wanted to see me?”

Manager: “Yes. Could you please change the office suite door’s code to this?”

(My manager hands me a post-it note with a new four-digit code. It’s not the time of year that we usually change codes, so my curiosity is piqued.)

Me: “I understand changing the codes when someone who’s been here a while leaves, but you don’t usually ask that person to change it. That defeats the purpose.”

Manager: “Oh, it’s not because it’s your last day. It’s because it’s the last day for two of our on-site employees. But they don’t know yet, so, shhh.”

(It turned out that those employees told our manager that their customer didn’t like calls for them coming through their office phones, so they would need pagers; we could page them when we needed them to contact our office. What they were doing was telling their customer they were needed at the office; we at the office thought they were at the customer’s place. They would then spend the day goofing off — golfing, playing at the arcade, drinking, etc. Then, whenever either the office or the customer really needed them, they’d get paged. They could then call in to see where they were needed, with no one the wiser…. Until, obviously, they were caught and fired, the same day I left.)

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