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Design pattern: Office politics

I often see a pattern in office politics where a solution would be:
1) Keep webcam on desk
2) ???
3) Profit!

The usefulness of this pattern would imply it's commonly done.  Does anyone know if there are any legal obstacles to this in some regions?  I'm not interested in doing this, but it surprises me not to encounter it.  Perhaps people use webcams as deterrents, so there's nothing active for people to talk about?

Tayssir John Gabbour
Friday, March 26, 2004

What the hell are you talking about?

Dorko
Friday, March 26, 2004

Yeah I have no idea what the hell you're talking about either.

Mr. Fancypants
Friday, March 26, 2004

What is blackmail, Alex?

Greg Hurlman
Friday, March 26, 2004

All right.  In my professional life, I think a good strategy is to say nothing to others that I wouldn't say if a witness were present.  That insulates me from a lot of politics and I believe it keeps one fairminded.  However, that imaginary witness does not really exist, and people take liberties in what they say -- coworkers of mine have been asked to participate in some form of embezzlement, harassed, etc.  And in some good orgs, managers would have liked to get rid of these malicious people, if only a witness could corroborate.

I've worked with people who've had webcams, and looking back on it, I assume they may have had ulterior motives for having them -- perhaps they were invisible witnesses.  I've never quite understood why people had webcams, and maybe it's because they actually have rather interesting reasons.

For example, in the recent thread about code theft, the person in question might have thought twice about blatantly begging a person to steal their code and ideas.

And since webcams are prevalent in some workplaces, I would like to understand their context, because the thought does disturb me.  Do people act strangely when they fear they're watched?  Are there workplaces which ban them because of morale effects?

Tayssir John Gabbour
Friday, March 26, 2004

Ah..are you are thinking of checking on whether the office drones sleep at their desk :-)  Why not just call the person and check if they answer!

Or is it more for net meetings?  I find it too distracting...somehow I think that person to person meetings are much more useful and productive

Code Monkey
Friday, March 26, 2004

Wouldn't a microphone have much of the same effect? Why a webcam?

curious
Friday, March 26, 2004

Or a microphone.  Sometimes the thought amuses me that someone's taping my conversation, so I make sure that I'm saying something interesting enough for an audience. ;)

Tayssir John Gabbour
Friday, March 26, 2004

Dude, you are way out there :)

Anon
Friday, March 26, 2004

This is old news:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0679417397/

Philo

Philo
Friday, March 26, 2004

I think he means more to prevent the "You said X" / "No I didn't" essence of most office politics.

I've learned to just always document these conversations with a follow-up email, e.g. "Just to confirm, I will adding [the new feature], which will extend the completion date to Y". Then when the program manager pulls the "you committed to date X at the start of the project, why isn't it done" shtick,  you politely forward the appropriate emails.

It's certainly less awkward than recording with a webcam or wearing a wire to meetings...

Ron
Friday, March 26, 2004

When are you going to learn that being on the side of the truth doesn't help with office politics. If you prove to the boss that he really told you X when he told you Y, you will still take the fall.

pdq
Friday, March 26, 2004

In the words of George Carlin, referring to school:
"Detention was what you got when you thought you were smarter than the teacher. Office detention was what you got when you *were* smarter than the teacher."

Philo

Philo
Friday, March 26, 2004

I think Richard Nixon was the pioneer of recording conversations for posterity.  Worked great for him.... <g>

Robert Jacobson
Friday, March 26, 2004

I always thought the webcams were for live porn sessions during the lunchbreak.

Stephen Jones
Friday, March 26, 2004

If this happens. I'm out of here.  I'd rather shovel dirt.

christopher baus (www.baus.net)
Friday, March 26, 2004

Christopher's obviously never shoveled dirt for a living.

Jim
Friday, March 26, 2004

I'd rather enjoy shoveling dirt for a living. Brings back memories of long lost youth.

Homer
Wednesday, March 31, 2004

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