I work in a public place that is run by several government agencies. We provide all kinds of services for the public that are related to the workforce. We have staff from various agencies who work with different populations that come in depending on their needs.
I work in a room that is here for job search purposes only. All the activity and equipment is only to be used for looking for and finding a job. This is posted on every computer monitor, on signs on the walls and on the papers they fill out when they sign up. It’s not a secret.
We have computers with internet access, a printer, fax machine and a phone that are all free to use. We provide nice resume paper, envelopes and folders to keep them in. We provide disks to save their work on, again, all at no cost to them.
The computers can be used to look up jobs, create and post resumes, print resumes and to file for unemployment. There is a state run website that provides a resume builder, job search engine and job matching. The internet can be used to look for work, send work related email such as a resume and check email to see if they have any job news waiting for them.
All that being said, my coworkers and I spend an inordinate amount of time telling people that the equipment is strictly for job search purposes. i.e.:
No, you can’t go online and shop for barbeque grills at Target.
No checking your bank balance is not job related.
You can’t post personal ads on Craig’s list from these computers.
No, I can’t do anything about the filters that are on the computers.
Um, you can’t download music onto these computers or you mp3 player here.
No, looking up dog breeds and their care is not job related.
Just like 5 year olds, they try to argue their points. “But I want to be a dog groomer.” Do you have a job offer that shows this? “No but it’s what I’d like to do”. Well, you can go to the public library and do that there.
“Something’s wrong with your computers”. What’s it doing? “It won’t let me open my MySpace page”. Yeah, the filters don’t allow that site to load here and anyway, that’s not job search related. You can go and do that at the public library, they don’t have any filters.
I’m sorry; you can’t do any shopping on these computers. “But I wasn’t.” I can see that you are looking at Target’s website and you are not in the Careers section. “Well, I am thinking of going around the country and selling these as a career and so I need to research them.”
Well, you can’t do that here but you can go to the library and do it there. “You are keeping me from being able to get a job by not letting me do comparisons of these grills. This is research, man.” Well, you’ll have to do that at the library.
I ended up having to call the security guard and having the person escorted off the property because he escalated and became threatening. (note my handy-dandy government speak)
Occasionally we get “oh, sorry” response when told nicely, “everything done on these computers has to be job search related”. Those are happy times… mostly we get the arguments and justifications and rationalizations for why we should make an exception for them.
This is the reason I made a label with the security guard’s phone number and put it on my name badge, it does double duty in covering up my last name. (I asked for it to be left off but was overruled by people who don’t in an environment that requires the presence of a security guard.)
So, I just want to say to these people when they start with the rationalizations, excuse and arguments, no, you can’t do that. Why? Because I said so…