On-Call Welcome to Friday, readers, and therefore to another edition of On-Call, where we share readers' stories of things they get asked to do in the name of keeping computers up and running.
This week, reader “Shane” brings us the story of a difficult moment in both his personal and private lives. The personal first: things weren't weren't going well with his spouse and he found himself looking for consolation online.
“I did something I never thought I would do and signed up to a websites for people in the same situation, looking for a shoulder and someone to talk with who knew what I was going through.”
Shane says once he saw through the scammers – people claiming to live in the UK but photographed in rooms full of US-style power points – he was able to make a genuine connection.
But his newfound personal happiness then created a work problem, because one of Shane's managers cited a need to converse with clients as the reason the site needed to be whitelisted in the office.
Shane reckoned the manager would fall for the scams in no time, so had to find a way to deny the request without risking his own job.
The manager ratcheted up the pressure, with “don't you know who I am” emails. Shane responded with a request for the name of the board member who was allowed to sign off on whitelist changes.
“That won't be necessary,” was the manager's response.
Shane's new friend thought the situation was funny and suggested setting up a fake profile as a honey trap for the manager, who now uses the site in his own time.
Shane decided that would be a bit mean, but occasionally regrets it: he can see the manager's activities on the forums and knows he's fallen for plenty of scams including handing over financial details to an obviously fake temptress. But no company information has leaked, so Shane doesn't need to act and indeed appears to have done his job admirably.
Do you have a boss-saving story to rival Shane's? If so, write to me and you could appear in a future edition of On-Call. ®