Telling your wife why you were fired is the only punishment

Smut caches move management to find health and safety solution

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On-Call Welcome again to On-Call, our weekly feature in which readers share stories of being asked to do stupid things at stupid times. And frequently for stupid people.

Last week's tale of the smut stash in a hidden directory produced a few similar stories.

Reader “BY” wrote to tell of a friend we'll call “Terry” who did IT support at an organisation that had do a total wipe and reload of a server. The machine wasn't critical, so the restore dredged up its state from a few months back in time.

Restoring the machine revealed rather less free hard drive space than had been present before the wipe. In fact “about a third of the drive space was used by only one directory.”

It didn't take much probing to figure out that Terry had filled that directory with his smut stash. Terry had removed his material, but forgot about the backup.

“Needless to say,” BY says, “the conversation management had with him was an interesting one”. Some of the images were call-the-Police grade filth.

Management cut Terry a break: because he'd been a good worker they deleted the files and kept the police out of it. Their logic? By says “having to tell his wife he was fired and why would be enough punishment.”

Smut as a health and safety issue

Reader “Marco” told us he was “working in a mobile phone repair company in 2000 and 2001, just as camera phones came onto the market.”

Marco says that once broken camera-equipped phones started to appear in the workshop, the team took the saying “"If you can imagine it, someones done it" and modified it to add “...and taken a picture of it on their shiny new camera phone."

Things got so bad that management had to intervene on occupational health and safety grounds after “the third engineer of the morning reeled back from their work station looking for something to erase the images from their memory.”

Self-medication became the order of the day: Marco says “That was the year a lot of us discovered Scotch.”

What stupid things have you been asked to do at stupid times for stupid people? Write to me with your stories and you might find your very own pseudonym in a future On-Call. ®

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