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Employees Would Steal Data When Leaving a Job 457

An anonymous reader writes "Employees openly admit they would take company data, including customer data and product plans, when leaving a job. In response to a recent survey, 49% of US workers and 52% of British workers admitted they would take some form of company property with them when leaving a position: 29% (US) and 23% (UK) would take customer data, including contact information; 23% (US) and 22% (UK) would take electronic files; 15% (US) and 17% (UK) would take product information, including designs and plans; and 13% (US) and 22% (UK) would take small office supplies."
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Employees Would Steal Data When Leaving a Job

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  • So. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Securityemo ( 1407943 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @10:33AM (#33288122) Journal
    Escorting people out of the building and revoking their access privileges the second they get fired is actually warranted?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by swilver ( 617741 )

      That's pointless. Better to confiscate all their personal digital equipment.

    • Re:So. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @10:41AM (#33288264)

      This is why I just keep an up to date private encrypted copy of any software files I produce. So in the event of being escorted out I'm not without work I've produced so I can reference it down the road. Yeah the company owns the copyright, but sometimes I like to see how I did something (even if I have to do it a different way the next time).

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Exactly. I've spent periods of a couple weeks developing some algorithm or in a seldom-used programming language and taking a quick look at my old code helps jog the memory and save lots of time. I've done this several times- taking bits of code and other developed knowledge from an employer I've left, including some very places which some consider "security-minded".

        But here's the difference between this and the actual topic in TFA.

        The intention is to maintain my gained knowledge, not to harm the employer,

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by adolf ( 21054 )

          I think this is fine, but I'm not a lawyer.

          If I were, I might say that the academic value of the code you've written on company time is the company's, as well. I might suggest that you are, therefore, stealing. The cleverness of the code that you're reviewing was bought and paid for by the company that employed you at the time.

          Now, again, I don't personally feel that it should be a problem. I've even taken software (quick scripts and the like -- I generally suck at coding proper) from job to job for the

      • Re:So. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sortadan ( 786274 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @02:22PM (#33291668)
        You should also keep a copy of your email when exiting if possible.

        True story time: A friend of mine was fired from a small cash-strapped company in Arizona. They had promised him bonus money for working nights and weekends for several months strait (amounting to nearly 50k). Instead of coming up with the money, the owner of the company decided it would be more advantageous to fire him (without true cause) and not pay up so the balance sheet of the company would look better for his board of directors meeting. The owner even tried to block my friends unemployment claim and invented reasons for dismissing him (lied in court).

        Fortunately for my friend, he backed up his work email before leaving. With the email record, he was able to show in court that his boss was a lying scumbag by producing contradicting documentation to his boss's sworn statements and get unemployment. Using the court record from the unemployment hearing showing that his employer fired hims without just cause, he was then able to sue his former employer and get recompensed for the promised bonus money (again producing the email record where his boss stated how he would be compensated and how they needed him to work like a dog for several months).

        Had he not backed up his work email it would have been his word against his former employer. He most likely would not have been able to get unemployment and definitely would have never seen a dime of the money that was promised to him.

        The moral of the story is that you need to weigh your employers security policy that's there to protect them, against what is required to protect yourself.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by galego ( 110613 )

        ... Or you could just anonymously hand it over to wikileaks ... They'll be sure to redact the names of your variables so they don't get hurt. ;-)

    • I actually support removing access privileges instantly in all cases where the employee is leaving: even if they're working out their final two weeks or something, it's better to have them having to do their work through someone who needs to learn how to do their job, than it is to have them "writing documentation" or "doing training" or any of a number of other stupid transition methods.

      As far as preventing someone from stealing, I don't see how it would work for a tech industry. If your industry has tight

      • Re:So. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by WankersRevenge ( 452399 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @11:07AM (#33288726)
        Honestly ... if my employer starts treating me like a thief during my last two weeks then I'm out of the building then and there. As far as I'm concerned, giving two weeks notice is a courtesy that I am extending. Besides, if I were so unethical as to take company secrets to my next gig then the pilfering would occur well before any notice given.
        • Re:So. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @11:18AM (#33288902)

          Indeed. I care about my work. If I give 2 weeks notice them I'm available for 2 weeks to help them get their shit together so that someone else can take care of what I was doing and I can wrap up any lose ends. If the treatment though is basically to lock me out of everything though, then I'm not even going to bother.

          What's the sense in it anyways? If you do that dance every time someone decided to leave then anyone who actually wants to sneak out information is going to do it the day BEFORE they turn in their 2 week notice anyways.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            The reason I don't like leaving people with access is because they don't train people if they can fix the problem themselves. Period. It's not about being worried that someone is going to steal something, it's about being worried that something breaks on a regular basis that no one else knows how to fix.

          • Re:So. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @11:56AM (#33289542)

            If the treatment though is basically to lock me out of everything though, then I'm not even going to bother.

            *laugh* My last job basically gave me 6 weeks until my last day, and a rather generous severance package, for which I was grateful. They did, however, get rid of my co-workers almost immediately and left me in a caretaker position to wind down operations of the product. (The ones who were gone right away got essentially the same package as me, but had no further obligations.)

            The problem was, as we got closer to the date I was to be done, they were having some issues related to some new business -- a pretty big dollar customer and some deficiencies in the software. The sales people were getting increasingly shrill that we needed to implement certain features which they sold (but didn't exist) or we'd lose the business. There was no way in hell to implement the features in the time line with the remaining resources.

            Eventually, I had to tell them that I care 50% less with each passing day, and if this business was so damned critical, why had they let go of the entire development team?

            At some point, it becomes something of an abuse of my good will to tell me how vital the product is to quarterly revenues while at the same time telling me they don't need me to do it any more. I don't care if the salesmen/executives aren't getting their bonus any more, that's not my problem.

            Sometimes, companies just develop a very screwed up sense of what they should be expecting from the employees they're in the middle of laying off.

      • by al0ha ( 1262684 )
        >> If your industry has tight data integrity, then they can't steal anyway

        s/can\'t/will have a harder time stealing it/

        Never say never.
    • Re:So. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @10:58AM (#33288582) Homepage
      Depends on what their definitions are. Businesses tend to do these studies using excessively strict standards. Things their own CEO do, (or far worse) are considered wrong.

      For example, it mentions 'contacts'. Now, if you are a salesman AND the company introduced you to those contacts, then that would be company product. But if you are a computer programmer, copying your contacts is NOT stealing from the company. Furthermore, the courts have also ruled that even if you ARE a salesman, that taking contacts with you that you developed without aid from your company is again, NOT stealing (this is despite the stock brokerage firms repeatedly trying to ignore this law.)

      These kind of stories are kind of like the shmucks that complain about IT people using their work PC, during work hours, to check their email. Then they want you to check answer your work emails at home via blackberry, even after working hours.

      You need to take this kind of crap with boulder of skepticism

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dgatwood ( 11270 )

        For example, it mentions 'contacts'. Now, if you are a salesman AND the company introduced you to those contacts, then that would be company product. But if you are a computer programmer, copying your contacts is NOT stealing from the company. Furthermore, the courts have also ruled that even if you ARE a salesman, that taking contacts with you that you developed without aid from your company is again, NOT stealing (this is despite the stock brokerage firms repeatedly trying to ignore this law.)

        Exactly. Th

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      That depends. Taking data is not the same as stealing it.

      A lot depends upon the intellectual property clauses in the contract (often restrictive), but sometimes the IP is shared by the company and the individual. What if you work in research and the project was funded by a federal grant? That could very well be public information. What's better: letting your x-staff have a few minutes with a thumb drive and intimate knowledge of the directory information or dealing with the headache of freedom of inform

    • That's why you should do weekly offsite backups. Also, I've found it easier to restore an accidentally deleted file from personal backups than trying to get IT to restore from an "official" backup.
  • Sad Clown:( (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jimktrains ( 838227 ) * on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @10:34AM (#33288134) Homepage

    That's actually pretty saddening. I would have hoped that people were more honest and trustworthy than that:(

    • Re:Sad Clown:( (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ArsenneLupin ( 766289 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @10:43AM (#33288302)

      I would have hoped that people were more honest and trustworthy than that:(

      Well, at least they were honest with the survey taker...

    • Re:Sad Clown:( (Score:5, Insightful)

      by davev2.0 ( 1873518 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @10:45AM (#33288332)
      Why should people be trustworthy to a company they can't trust and would fire them with no notice for trumped up reasons all so some manager can get better office furniture or an executive can get a bigger bonus?
      • Re:Sad Clown:( (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jimktrains ( 838227 ) * on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @11:15AM (#33288852) Homepage

        Because stealing is wrong?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Thnurg ( 457568 )

          Sure stealing is wrong, but copying data is not stealing. If I take code written in house for in-house use from one employer to another how has the old one lost anything if the new one starts using it in house?

          My own fall back is that some useful software that I have written for my current employer is now GPLed because I asked them if it could be. If I ever lose this job I'll be hawking my skills in setting up that software from one end of the country to the other.

        • Re:Sad Clown:( (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TooMuchToDo ( 882796 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @12:08PM (#33289722)

          Your morals =! other's morals. I'm sure folks out there who work 80 hours a week for months on end and then get shitcanned see it a tad bit differently (although I'm not defending stealing in any form, just the perspective)

        • Re:Sad Clown:( (Score:4, Insightful)

          by CharlyFoxtrot ( 1607527 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @12:24PM (#33289974)

          Because stealing is wrong?

          So is most of the shit they pull on their employees but as they keep reminding us "It's just business." Morality doesn't come in to it.

    • Re:Sad Clown:( (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <> on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @10:48AM (#33288366) Journal

      So working for a company that treats you like shit, cuts your pay, bullies you to work long hours, and then fires you is fine, but walking with a couple of boxes of pens is sacrilege?

      I don't put myself in that sort of position: I don't usually have much trouble finding work, so I walk before I get stressed to that point. But I can certainly understand why a basically honest person might feel entitled to rip off a dishonest employer.

      Honesty is a two way street.

      • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @11:25AM (#33289032) Journal

        Yep, exactly .... What these surveys DON'T collect is information on WHY individuals felt entitled to, or at least ok with walking out with company information or property.

        You don't see 49% of American workers openly stealing property from their neighbors or other people they do business with, right? (If you did, you'd have practically every other person in line at the store getting arrested for shoplifting!)

        In my current job position, I'm privy to quite a bit of company "proprietary information" and I have no interest in taking/keeping a bit of it. (Among other things, I wouldn't even really know what to do with it if I had it. I don't work for an I.T. related firm, though I'm in I.T. Their information and customer data is worthless to me, personally.) But I do remember working for a PC service place once before where I *did* hang onto a bunch of customer records. Why? Because after making every effort to work with the owner and his struggling business, he turned on me, falsely deciding I was "out to get him/sabotage his business", and quit sending me service calls with no warning or explanation. (To this day, I never really got a satisfactory answer to what was going on ... I was able to put together some of the pieces, though. I *think* what happened is his receptionist/office assistant decided she needed references or leads for a new job, so she started going through his customer lists to find contact info for people she knew would say positive things about her. The owner came in that night and saw his stuff had been gone through, so he assumed it was me, planning on stealing all of his customers.)

        At that point? I realized I still had the opportunity to hang onto a lot of his customer data because he had left it up on a web site calendar/scheduler application and not locked me out or deleted it yet - so I downloaded it and started soliciting the people directly. He threatened a lawsuit with a boilerplate letter from his attorney, but they didn't have a leg to stand on, because I never even signed a non-disclosure or non-compete agreement with them when I worked there! In the end, he decided to ditch his business and get a full-time job elsewhere, and many of his former customers were very pleased to know I was still around, because I was the one doing 90% of the service calls to them in the first place.

      • So working for a company that treats you like shit, cuts your pay, bullies you to work long hours, and then fires you is fine, but walking with a couple of boxes of pens is sacrilege?

        No one called it sacrilege, they called it dishonest, because those actions are considered to be theft. And yes, even if your employer is very, VERY mean to you, stealing things from him/her is still theft. It may or may not be justified, but there is no way to argue that it is not theft.

        Also, the survey didn't ask people if they would steal a couple boxes of pens from an employer that treated them like shit, cut their pay, bullied them into long hours, and fired them. Rather, the survey asked if people wou

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drsmithy ( 35869 )

      That's actually pretty saddening. I would have hoped that people were more honest and trustworthy than that:(

      Makes sense to me. Companies generally don't show any loyalty to their employees[0], so obviously employees are going to start behaving the same way.

      As ye sow, so shall ye reap, etc, etc. These organisations have no-one to blame but themselves.

      [0] The only exception to this I've seen in the last ~10 years is small, family run businesses where the employee knows the family socially.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by BattleApple ( 956701 )
      This just in.... people are douchebags!
      but seriously, I was also a bit surprised at the high numbers. I guess I'd be tempted to take some code I've written though.
    • Re:Sad Clown:( (Score:4, Informative)

      by CharlyFoxtrot ( 1607527 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @12:04PM (#33289660)

      Employee loyalty died when "personnel" became "human resources". When you treat people like a resource to be mined for your own gain why would they treat the company differently ?

  • Code? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <> on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @10:34AM (#33288148) Journal

    I've got a number of code libraries that migrate with me, but that's about it. Most of it I've opensourced at various times anyway. Far as I'm concerned, that sort of thing belongs to me in the first place.

    Usually works out to their advantage: I had a guy contact me about some python code (my name is always in the header, along with my permanent email), and it turned out I was still using it, and had updated it enough to fix the problems that he was having with it. I was trying to figure out how he'd gotten his hands on such an old version when the email address registered.

    • Wow, I'd love to maintain code you've worked on. Sometimes you're lucky just to find the name of the author, if only to know who to curse under your breath (or out loud if it gets bad enough).
    • by Yvanhoe ( 564877 )
      IT works out to everyone's advantage and I agree this is a good practice. You can still be sued however.
  • I think it would greatly depend upon the circumstances in which one is leaving.
  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @10:34AM (#33288160) Journal

    Leaving on my own? I'd take nothing except my paycheck.

    Fired and I deserved it? A few pens. Pack of paper.

    Fired and I didn't deserve it? I'd GIVE them a lawsuit.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Shakrai ( 717556 ) *

      Fired and I didn't deserve it? I'd GIVE them a lawsuit.

      Good luck with that, most US jurisdictions have "at-will" employment. Unless they fired you because you are a member of some protected class (female, minority, gay, etc.) you are most likely SOL. Even if they fired you because of that you are SOL unless you can prove it, which is no easy task. In my state they don't even have to give you a reason for letting you go.

    • This is where working in IS has its perks. A lot of companies boil down to either dealing with data or providing a service, and most that provide services hang onto their customer data, so all in all - there is a lot of data to be had. Working IT, you generally have more access and privileges than other members of the company. I mean, I have access to active directory to add and remove and edit people's accounts. There is nothing stopping me from giving my own account full admin rights to everything (which

    • by SirGeek ( 120712 )

      Leaving on my own? I'd take nothing except my paycheck.

      Fired and I deserved it? A few pens. Pack of paper.

      Fired and I didn't deserve it? I'd GIVE them a lawsuit.

      Unfortunately for most people (and I'm betting you too) we live in "At Will" [] work environments. So you'd have no law suit unless they REALLY trumped up charges (i.e. theft, assault, etc.).

  • by joeflies ( 529536 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @10:35AM (#33288168)

    Arrest 49% of the employees that leave the company?

  • by drachenfyre ( 550754 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @10:35AM (#33288176) Homepage

    I just want my stapler back... The new ones aren't as good as the swinglines.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )
      When I left Boeing, I packed 'my' stapler in my personal belongings. When a cow-orker spotted me doing that, I informed him that I had originally acquired it when another employee was about to pitch it in the garbage (they had loaded the wrong size staples in it, jammed it, and were too lazy to try to fix it). I told him I'd be more than happy to return it from whence it came.
  • Would they use it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @10:37AM (#33288192)

    The obvious, interesting follow-up question is, how many of them would sell, share, or otherwise exploit that data? Would they take measures to protect it, or simply misplace it? I figure at least some of that's got to be people who don't see the point in deleting that sly backup they made so they could work on their reports at home, or whatever, and those are people who don't represent a threat to company security. "Stealing" data itself causes the company no harm. Using the customer list to set up one's own business, losing that data on the bus, or selling on some trade secrets, is where the concern lies.

  • Great (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DWMorse ( 1816016 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @10:37AM (#33288204) Homepage

    Just what we need, more ammo to put multi-year non-competition agreements on employees.

    I live where that one really big business used to be, what was it called... Apple hated them... IBM or something I think. =P I've seen thousands of jobs slashed here in my time, and a lot of those people walked out the door with a clause behind them stating they couldn't even begin to work in the industry again for at least a year.

    A year is a long, long, long time for your typical family to drop from working wages to unemployment.

    • I live where that one really big business used to be, what was it called... Apple hated them... IBM or something I think. =P I've seen thousands of jobs slashed here in my time, and a lot of those people walked out the door with a clause behind them stating they couldn't even begin to work in the industry again for at least a year.

      this is just another reason why California is one of the best places to be a tech employee, if you can find a job anyway. You can't enforce a noncompetition clause against a person in this state, only against a business.

    • by tacokill ( 531275 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @11:08AM (#33288736)
      If you are laid off from your employer, how are non-compete agreements enforceable at all? I am suspicious of your claim that people who had their "jobs slashed" would still be under a non-compete of anykind.

      It's like unemployment. You don't just automatically get unemployment if you are out of work. If you are terminated for cause, then you get no unemployment. If you quit on your own, you get no unemployment. However, if you are laid off, then you will qualify for unemployment.

      Non-compete agreements have the same basic legal structure. You can't be held to a non-compete if your employer lays you off as a normal part of downsizing. You may very well be held to a non-compete if you are fired for cause and/or quit on your own.

      The distinction is subtle, but important in the eyes of the law.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by fandingo ( 1541045 )

        My girlfriend is an HR recruiter, and we've spent some time talking about non-competes. In several states, they are specific laws that make them illegal to enforce. Employers can scare you with them, but they can't back them up. California is the most prominent state that does not honor non-competes. Furthermore, in most other states, non-competes are unenforcible.
        Non-competes are a scare tactic that employers may use against former employees; however, the courts are smart enough to realize that people have

    • If my employment contract is no longer in force, then the non-compete clause which was part of that contract is no longer in force. If you would like me to not work for the competition, then you need to keep my contract in force. I will happily do that for my previous salary for the length of the desired non-compete period. Don't expect me to show up for work though.
  • 'Steal' (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MonsterTrimble ( 1205334 ) <> on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @10:41AM (#33288258)

    How do you steal data if you copied it? Goes back to the whole MPAA thing with music.

    I think it's all about what you can use in the future. If I do a number of excel sheets which are used for layout optimization, and take copies for reference later, is that wrong? How about my outlook contacts which might come in handy later? I think if it's purely business between you and the company, then keep it clean (with the exceptions I used above). If it's ugly, still keep it clean as possible, but don't do them any favors.

    • While making a (potentially) illegal copy of a public work is "copyright infringement", I readily call taking trade secrets "stealing". There's a big difference between taking a published work and an unpublished one.

  • That proportion seems a little high for say, IT workers, who'd probably have little use for customer data outside the job they're in, but I could imagine sales staff however being more likely to do such a thing because having a good network of contacts can be a major benefit when moving into other jobs as a salesman- especially if you're on performance related pay and need to hit sales targets, there is quite high financial motive there for it.

    Also from another point of view, it's possibly a good indicator

    • How many IT workers might "steal" code or complicated scripts they wrote while working as a programmer or sysadmin, even if it's just via memorization?
      • by Xest ( 935314 )

        I agree that's likely, or even employees stealing code that they simply think is obvious and might be useful for home projects copying it with a completely innocent mindset. I'm just suprised at the customer data figures more than anything!

    • > That proportion seems a little high for say, IT workers, who'd probably have little use for customer data

      Imagine you were downsized in an economy that has ~10% unemployment, and you had good reason not to relocate from a high-unemployment area. IT is one area where it is really easy to start your own company with very little startup cost. It is also common due to office politics to have a really good idea ignored. You are now free to go to the customers directly and say, "I can save you $$$ over my old

  • by davev2.0 ( 1873518 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @10:43AM (#33288300)
    This is what happens when companies are disloyal to their employees. The employees become disloyal to the company. If the executives would stop being greedy, arrogant shithead; stop fattening their pockets at the expense of the company, the shareholders, and the employees; and treating employees like expendable resources instead of people, this would not be a problem. But, they are psychopathic assholes, so it is going to continue.
    • That's an excellent point, and I wonder about the scale of the comparative damage. I doubt some employee taking home some pens and pencils begins to compare to how much some executives or owners can drain from companies with their bonuses, compensation packages, stock plans, etc. Sorry, but if fired employees are taking some $10-20 worth of stuff, who cares? I'd like to see a survey about business owners/execs and how much they like to underpay the staff to pad their own pockets.
  • by EmagGeek ( 574360 ) <(gterich) (at) (> on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @10:44AM (#33288314) Journal

    "according to Harris Interactive."

    If this is the same "Harris Interactive" that spams me 100x per week with polls to gather personally identifiable information from me for marketing purposes, then I'd say the "study" is probably bunk.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @10:46AM (#33288344)

    At my severance interview, the boss told me that the really good pens were on the top shelf.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Culture20 ( 968837 )

      At my severance interview, the boss told me that the really good pens were on the top shelf.

      And when Joseph's brothers left Egypt, he planted a goblet in one of Benjamin's sacks. Make sure you're not accidentally taking anything if you don't want a psycho higher-up to stir up trouble should they find out.

  • I only wish I had taken more when my previous employer closed its doors. I wrote some really amazingly cool little shell scripts for various systems administration and code deployment tasks that I neglected to grab copies of. I had to re-invent a few wheels over the past four years due to that short-sightedness.

    Samples of my own code - heck yeah, company secrets or customer data? no way!

    Office stuff? Only the crap I brought in with me: my 24" monitor, a couple mice and keyboards and my hella sweet phone hea

  • by eclectus ( 209883 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @10:49AM (#33288394) Homepage

    I knew a man who played the system quite well when leaving a job. He gave three months notice on his resignation letter, and they immediately revoked his access and escorted him from the building, but had to keep paying him for the three months.

    • by tacokill ( 531275 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @11:23AM (#33288988)
      I know a guy who did the same thing and was fired on the spot. He was escorted out and paid only through the end of the day. I was the one who fired him.

      I don't know why that company would have to keep paying your friend. Once you offer up the fact that you plan to resign, the company is under no obligation to do anything else for you. In fact, they could have just as easily said "no" and fired him right there and then (like most employers will do).

      Please, please, please do not follow the parent's advice on this. In almost all cases, it will not turn out well for you. I speak with authority because I am an employer and have dealt with this very issue recently. Attorneys were involved, counsel was sought, etc, etc. I am not talking out of my ass on this one.
    • by mbone ( 558574 )

      Whenever I have given extended notice (and I always have), I have always had to train my successor, and do my regular work, which is harder, not easier, than normal.

  • In other news (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @10:49AM (#33288398)

    Bosses admit that they expect employees to do more work for the same amount of pay.

  • by kungfugleek ( 1314949 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @10:56AM (#33288532)
    If I were a tech company owner I'd worry more about off-shored employees taking code/secrets with them. I know a contractor company that is now developing a competing product to something our vendor hired them to write in the first place. So our vendor basically paid them to develop the skills and domain knowledge they would need to build this thing, got a so-so quality product from them, and soon they will have a new competitor. Note: I don't know any of the legal issues involved. Seems like there should have been a non-compete clause in there somewhere, but either it's being ignored or it was never there in the first place.
  • by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @10:56AM (#33288534) Homepage

    Does this imply that people are rotten, or that the relationship between employer and employee is adversarial?

    Maybe things have changed, or maybe I am coming to realize the reality that has always been. My perception is that there used to be a non-adversarial relationship between employer and employee. I think that has changed. I think you see it in every annual review, which resembles little so much as pulling teeth. The middle manager is pitted against the employee by the upper management basing the middle manager's compensation on how little he can get the employees to stick around for.

    Smaller businesses have been getting driven out by the efficiencies-of-scale corps, so there are fewer and fewer jobs where the top guy is the one who talks directly to employees. I would wager it is easier to tell a middle manager to be adversarial than it is to be adversarial yourself. (hmm, tangent; which also hints at one of the natural forces of wealth concentration)

    Anyway -- are people rotten, or are they responding to what I see as a shift in corporate culture? Corporate culture is bringing adversarial behavior within its walls. Perhaps it is only natural for that training to affect people's behavioral patterns. Or at least their sense of loyalty.

  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @11:01AM (#33288626)

    It's because companies frequently let their normal employees treat IT staff in ways that are fireable offenses if done to the rest of the company. Call them up, foaming at the mouth screaming because the email server is down, for example. Or God forbid that an in-house developer has a few bugs in their app.

    My wife is an in-house developer at a large company. I can't even begin to count the number of times she and her group have been savagely attacked by users who are so fucking stupid that they literally freeze up if a single new button appears in the UI.

    The dirty little trend I've noticed is that 9 times out of 10, the people who attack her are non-technical female employees. Most men don't dare attack a female developer at that level, especially not one who is competent (the second worst fury, aside from a scorned woman, is HR coming to the aid of a woman like that against a bombastic man). Male developers also often don't hesitate to humiliate users who treat them like that.

  • If a business treats its employees as human beings with respect, it will (generally) get respect in return.

    If a business shows its employees that they are worthless, replaceable drones who may be dumped at any convenient time, then no, the business won't get any courtesy or respect in return.

    It's not the sort of thing that shows up on a goddamn balance sheet, and I'm sick of so many larger firms moving ever more toward 'management by accountant' than actually making human decisions based on the long range v

  • by lwriemen ( 763666 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @11:06AM (#33288710)

    How could you leave a company and not take a lot of the data with you? ???

  • by multipartmixed ( 163409 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @11:06AM (#33288722) Homepage

    He's too boring. I might steal Lore, though.

    Or maybe Tasha Yar. MmMmmMmMMmmmmmm Tasha Yar.... auuruhghglglglgllll

  • I would be cautious about this survey. The headline says "steal" but the article says "take," and those are different things. I get the feeling that this survey might be intended to find a particular result.

    Here is a real world example from my experience.

    I leave a company position at company X after some years, in a friendly fashion. I have a good friend who is an executive at one of company X's channel partners. Is his work contact information company X property ? What about his home contact info

  • I've gigabytes of code, specifications and test data on my personal machine at home. Why? Because I often do work at night in my home office. When I leave, I'm not going to go out of my way to delete all that... There are confidentiality agreements and intellectual property agreements in place, which I signed. I wouldn't be an asshat and publish all their stuff, and risk the lawsuit that would likely follow, even if they fired me. But, as I said, I'm not going to go out of my way to delete the code.

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant