30 Stories in 30 Days #10 – “Job Security”

Job Security

“And that is five minutes ladies and gentlemen.  If you’ll say your goodbyes – for now at least if sparks flew – the gentlemen can then move on to the next lady on their list.”

Elaine smiled as Jon left her table, both on the outside as courtesy and on the inside for seeing the last of him.  She had dated guys who lived for football or video games before, but she’d never dated someone as dumb as a brick and she had no desire to start.

The next man to join her was rather average looking.  Not that Elaine expected a Brad Pitt double to stoop to speed dating, but the night was still young.

As he sat down she smiled and held her hand out.  “Hi, I’m Elaine.”

Shaking her hand he said, “I’m David.”

“So David, what do you do?”

“I work in HR.”

“Doing what?”

His smile faltered for a moment, but he replied, “I monitor the interplay between employees and the public.”

Elaine frown.  “What?”

David sighed and sank down into his chair.  “I hoped you wouldn’t ask that because it is a bit of a relationship killer.” After a pause he added, “Basically, I’m a cyber stalker.”

Elaine leaned back from him.  “You definitely need to explain that.”

Again, David sighed.  “The company I work for is very concerned with public image.  As such, I spend my days reading the public blogs, tweets, Facebook postings, whatever, of our employees to see if they are giving the company a bad name.”

“That’s-”

David cut her off by explaining, “It’s not all bad.  I check over applicants as well and there was one who failed to put one of his previous jobs on his application because, from reading his posting at the time, he had been fired for punching a coworker.  That’s knowledge most employers think is necessary.  And a few months ago a woman tweeted about some actions of her boss which were borderline sexual harassment.  She hadn’t brought them to the attention of HR so I did.  It was looked into, people were talked to, and actually there are some things still going on with that, but my job isn’t as Orwellian as it sounds.”

“But you do describe yourself as cyber stalker.”

“A lot of people don’t agree with what I do, so I try to play it off as a bad joke.” He gave a toothy smile, but when she didn’t reply he continued, “We don’t ask employees what social networks they are on, so I have to search for them.  It’s like, have you ever Googled someone you were dating?”

Elaine tried to say “No” but ended up answering, “Yes.  But that’s different.  That’s private life instead of … work life.”

“But the two have been blended in the case of celebrities and politicians.”

“But they choose to be in the public spotlight.”

“Just like people choose to publicly post that they’re stealing from their company.”

Elaine furrowed her brows.  “Has that happened?”

David shrugged.  “The worst I’ve caught was someone calling in ‘sick’ so they could go to a ballgame.  But I have heard of a case where a mechanic posted on Craigslist about a good deal on some car parts and his manager stumbled upon it and realized those were the same parts missing from his storeroom.”

Elaine sat up.  “But you’re basically looking for your coworkers to do something wrong.”

“It’s not like I have a quota to fill.  It’s like, if you overheard a couple coworkers – wherever you work – talking at the water cooler about taking money from the company, would you report it.”

“Well, yes.”

“The internet is the new water cooler, and there are plenty of people dumb enough to post about taking money.”

They sat in silence for a few seconds, then David asked, “Should we just sit quietly and let the time run out?”

After a moment, Elaine answered, “On one hand I am bothered by what you do, but on the other hand you have gotten me thinking about it which means you’re not a complete idiot.  And I will admit, not being a complete idiot is attractive.”

David nodded.  “Enough for you to tell me about yourself?”

Elaine thought for a moment.  “Not now.” She smiled and added, “But maybe over a cup of coffee sometime.”

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2 Responses to “30 Stories in 30 Days #10 – “Job Security””

  1. I heard a report about companies asking for people’s Facebook passwords, which I think is insane. On one hand I can sorta understand a company showing a good face to the public, but that seemed too Big Brotherly. That idea festered for a couple of days and then the phrase “Cyber stalking, the job of the future!” came to mind. So I just played with it, and this is what I came up with.

  2. I heard the same report. And had the same initial reaction as well. Enjoyed your exploration into the concept. Well done.

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