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Getting Rid of Staff With High Access?

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the could-just-stop-showing-up dept.

Businesses 730

HikingStick writes "I've been in the tech field for over 15 years. After more than nine years with the same company, I've been asked to step in and establish an IT department for a regional manufacturing firm. I approached my company early, providing four weeks notice (including a week of pre-scheduled [and pre-approved] vacation time). I have a number of projects to complete, and had planned to document some of the obscure bits of knowledge I've gleaned over the past nine years for the benefit of my peers, so I figured that would give me plenty of time. That was on a Friday. The following Monday, word came down from above that all of my privileged access was to be removed — immediately. So, here I sit, stripped of power with weeks ahead of me. From discussions with my peers in other companies, I know that cutting off high-privilege users is common, but usually in conjunction with a severance offer (to keep their hands off the network during those final weeks, especially if there is any ill-will). Should I argue for restored access, highlight the fact that I am currently a human paperweight, request a severance package, or simply become the most prolific Slashdot poster over the next few weeks? Does your company have a policy/process for dealing with high-privilege users who give notice? What is it, and do you make exceptions?"

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730 comments

It's really the company's decision (5, Insightful)

xmas2003 (739875) | more than 5 years ago | (#23516962)

Your situation kinda sucks as it sounds like you are a diligent worker who wants to help the company. But as long as they are paying you, it's really their choice how they want to use your services. All you can do is when your co-workers ask for your help in passing the torch, mention that you are hand-cuffed by the lack of access and have them request it for you.

P.S. Some activities to pass the time would include Watching Grass Grow [watching-grass-grow.com] and/or Watching Paint Dry. [watching-paint-dry.com]

Re:It's really the company's decision (5, Insightful)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517170)

What the organization really needs is some time to find out what sorts of things break when you aren't around to poke at them. For the next month they have the benefit of your knowledge, should they need it, but you won't be able to do stuff. This will allow existing staff members to learn to cover gaps while you are still around in case of an emergency.

You are leaving. The company is far less interested in what you can do for them in your last few weeks than they are in learning how to live without you. That basically requires that they cut you out of the loop as soon as possible.

Re:It's really the company's decision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23517334)

Mod parent insightful. This stuff is true!

Re:It's really the company's decision (5, Interesting)

Amouth (879122) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517398)

very true.. where i work it is policy that when you give your notice your login is turned of completely - your are then paired with someone else in the office - your e-mail box is forwardedto them with an auto reply to mailers of the contact change.

that pairing allows you to cover and discuss what you where doing and what needs to be picked up.

instead of spending your last weeks finishing your job you spend the last weeks as a source of information as someone else is trained to cover your job.

so far it has worked really well for us

Re:It's really the company's decision (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517292)

I agree. If you haven't done anything that would suggest ill-will, then the policies of your company are no longer your concern. As for your fellow employees who might need your help, you should get them to constructively petition on your behalf when the need arises. If enough of the complain that they can't get their work done without your assistance, the company may restore privileges.

Re:It's really the company's decision (5, Funny)

ari_j (90255) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517320)

I'd get way more creative than that. Misuse all the office supplies you can. For instance, write a lengthy daily report and print it in as many formats as you can (Babelfish it into every language, print it in landscape, use funny fonts, etc.), and then use at least 20 or 30 paperclips to hold it together.

Waste others' time the way they are wasting yours. Request frequent meetings with superiors to go over your daily reports. Hold very frequent meetings with random groups of underlings to discuss strange topics. For example, you could have an 8:15 meeting with the receptionist, an entry-level programmer, and a sock puppet regarding the situation in Myanmar, followed by a 9:00 meeting with the same entry-level programmer, a different sock puppet, and the janitor regarding your detailed synopsis of the new Indiana Jones movie.

Make loud phone calls about your internal organs. Bring cake every day and insist that it's someone's birthday. Mix cat food in with Chex Mix and leave a bowl of it in the break room - see how much is gone at the end of the day. Etc.

Just because you aren't allowed to do any work doesn't mean you have to be bored or watch grass grow to pass the time.

Re:It's really the company's decision (5, Funny)

ari_j (90255) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517358)

I almost forgot one. Give seminars/lessons/tutorials on various, purely trivial topics. Teach the history of the ampersand or the origins of the Gin and Tonic.

Re:It's really the company's decision (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23517368)

I would talk to both the boss at the old job and the boss at the new job and see if you can't start the new job earlier. When you present to your old boss the "I'm an extremely overpaid paperweight" argument, he'll probably be happy to let you go a few weeks early since it will save the company money and you're not really helping him anymore. If he's hesitant to let you go for fear that some piece of knowledge will leave with you that he may need in the near future, offer to answer emails from the old company for the next few weeks...that way they get the best of both worlds...they don't pay you and they basically get what they're likely to get if you "become the world's most prolific Slashdot poster."

And your new employer would probably be happy to have you come on sooner rather than later. This shouldn't be a hard sell on either side. The old company yanked your access rendering your willingness to stay on to make the transition as painless as possible somewhat moot. If you no longer want to be there and they no longer want you there, I see no reason why you can't find some way to make that happen.

Re:It's really the company's decision (1)

Julie188 (991243) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517522)

Agree completely ... if they want to pay for someone to do nothing, that is their choice. But there must be better things to do than Watching Grass Grow or Paint Dry ... doesn't everybody have an unfinished novel waiting for attention? It's the perfect time for that. You can be typing away looking busy and productive -- no questions asked.

Back pain (4, Funny)

jolyonr (560227) | more than 5 years ago | (#23516964)

I would imagine those sorts of working conditions might be enough to flare up your old back pain condition, making it difficult to attend work on a daily basis.

Nice to know (5, Funny)

nizo (81281) | more than 5 years ago | (#23516972)

Wow, I will have to remember to give four weeks notice next time instead of two.

Thanks for the heads up!

Re:Nice to know (4, Interesting)

houghi (78078) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517364)

In Belgium the first 5 years is officialy 3 weeks notice and 6 weeks for the company. Then it becomes 6 and 12 and goes up even more after 10 years.

Re:Nice to know (3, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517380)

Wow, I will have to remember to give four weeks notice next time instead of two.

*laugh* That's nothing. One of our tech writers gave his notice two months ago, and has been working on tying up loose ends since.

I've never actually seen anyone give that much notice.

But, yes, giving advance notice and having them lock you out doesn't sound so bad. I've known instances in my company where someone gives notice and gets told "OK, you're on paid leave until you are done" because they don't want people who are leaving poking around in systems.

I guess to some employers, once you say you're leaving, you're persona non grata. If they don't want to use your time any more, it's their dime.

Cheers

Re:Nice to know (1, Interesting)

y86 (111726) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517478)

Wow, I will have to remember to give four weeks notice next time instead of two.

Thanks for the heads up!
Notice is for sallies, real men just quit. After all -- do they give you notice when your going to be let go? No.

My family owns a couple of businesses, when an employee gives notice -- we say -- thanks, the good news is you can start your new job early. Security escorts them out, problem solved.

It's a waste of money to pay someone who doesn't even want to be working for you. Obviously their output is going to be nill so their pay should be nill.

If your management is piss poor and you don't have proper documentation and SOPs then you place yourself at the mercy of your employees -- which is a very bad place to be.

Screw 'em. (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#23516980)

They don't want to let you do your job? Okay, well, sit around, get paid for doing nothing. Screw 'em. Compile your "obscure bits of knowledge" send it off to your co-workers and sit around and do nothing for the next three weeks. What are they going to do? Fire you?

Are you crazy (4, Funny)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 5 years ago | (#23516982)

You're possibly getting paid to surf the Internet all day, the best job there every was, and you're wanting to go back to working hard for the Man?

Re:Are you crazy (5, Insightful)

shawnmchorse (442605) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517120)

Have you ever had nothing to do at work for that long? I can handle surfing the Internet at work for maybe a week. After that, the boredom is excruciating. Believe me, being completely ignored by your company can sometimes be almost as bad as other things.

Re:Are you crazy (5, Insightful)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517272)

Good time to pick up a new skill/programming language or refresh your knowledge, etc.

Re:Are you crazy (4, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517314)

There's just so much to learn on the Internet. You could take foreign language courses, read geeky stuff from MIT OpenCourseware, or follow world affairs more deeply on Google News. If someone got bored with that, they might just some simple job they could do at a distance and draw two salaries at the same time.

Re:Are you crazy (1)

wampus (1932) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517318)

You just described my last job to a tee. All my friends give me grief because I complain about sitting home alone, browsing the web all day. It got old after the first year, and was destroying anything resembling a work ethic I once had.

Re:Are you crazy (4, Interesting)

JimDaGeek (983925) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517346)

I will second this. I had a nice job with a state department as the highest paid person (I was a consultant at the time). I was supposed to be converted to an employee with benefits, but they had a hard time getting the state to actually pay a _decent_ wage (I have 12 years as a programmer).

So, I spent 3 months or so picking my nose with little tiny things to do here or there. I was going nuts. I personally don't know how anyone can be at work for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week and just "browse the web". I set up a proxy server at home and use FoxyProxy so I could get to any site that was blocked (youtube, fark, but not /.). Still, it was not good enough.

I brought in a USB HD with GB's of stuff on it, like... games. I still wanted to slam my face on a fork. Daily.

As a programmer I actually want and need to ... Program! It engages my brain and makes me feel warm and cozy.

So, during my many, many of hours of downtime, I just started looking for a new job on monster, etc. Then I would just leave without even needing to tell anyone, and go on interviews.

Found a new job. Now happy. ;-)

Though to be honest, with a state job, once you have about 1 year under you belt, it almost takes an amendment to the state constitution to get you fired. Which was nice from a security point-of-view. Though it also allowed a lot of under-skilled "programmers" to be permanent fixtures.

Wow (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 5 years ago | (#23516990)

So you have a new job lined up in 4 weeks & they are going to let you soak up cash until then? Sounds like you are working for a bunch of morons.

Slashdot FTW.

Also, you could do a lot of mental planning for your new job in 4 weeks time.

It's even surprising you must stay. (5, Interesting)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 5 years ago | (#23516998)

In the early nineties, my dad was a high-privilege employee at a bank. Anyway, due to office politics, he pretty much got the boot because one of the higher ups didn't like him. (You know, how easy it is to fire someone if you really want). He had been working there for nearly 20 years, and according to local law he had 6 months notice. He was disallowed to go to the bank during those 6 months: from one day to another he sat at home.

I heard this is pretty much the rule with high-privilege employees. So, I'd suggest, sit back, enjoy yourself and troll on slashdot as if there were no tomorrow.

Re:It's even surprising you must stay. (4, Interesting)

deniable (76198) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517102)

If you're high enough in the company, it's called gardening leave. It's like a paid non-compete period. It prevents effective poaching of executives and allows the company time to deal with whatever the guy was working on.

Re:It's even surprising you must stay. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23517434)

You can also mention to many, many others over the years to come that they are an employer to avoid at all costs. And if you do happen to have information that would hurt them carefully leak it all over the world.

personally (1)

greebowarrior (961561) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517012)

I'd argue for restored privileges, if that fails, ask for severance, and if that fails, fall back on option C.
Should it result in option C, make sure you turn up for work late, drunk, and unshaven (assuming this is de rigueur in your workplace anyway)

Re:personally (2, Insightful)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517446)

Option C will enable the company to fire his ass and show him the door for misconduct, WITHOUT four weeks of pay.

Well... (1)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517024)

Policy is policy. You are no more important then any other "key" personnel. If it were a "key" contracts person or finance person who knows all the in's and out's of that field, why wouldn't they want to minimize their access as well. You have to have a break point and there is never a good time to do it. Better sooner then later IMO.

nope (5, Funny)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517026)

if you think that this will make you the only person taking a pay check to sit around all day and do nothing more than post to slashdot, you are sorely mistaken.

SOX Era (1)

jsnipy (913480) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517042)

I think this is the new norm in the SOX era.

Re:SOX Era (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517306)

Extrapolating from the apparently brief period of time that it was referred to as Sorbox, in a month or two, we will either be calling it the S era, or the X era.

Request "Gardening Leave" (5, Insightful)

Pope (17780) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517052)

a delightful term I learned from my UK counterparts. Essentially you're still under employ by the current company so cannot do work for your new one or any competition, and you relax at home while getting paid. It's like paid vacation, except not, since you could theoretically be called in to work at any point.

AKA. request to work from home if your access is revoked, since you can't do anything at that location now anyway.

Access removal (4, Insightful)

trippd6 (20793) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517068)

I have worked for 3 hosting companies. My experiance has been: If you are not considered a risk, you are allowed to work your final weeks with full access. If you are REMOTELY considered a risk, you are imediately walked out, although you are paid for your final weeks.

Any good admin/manager knows if you have physical access, you might as well have root/admininistrator access.

Re:Access removal (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23517520)

I want to know how he can be considered a risk if *he* filed notice. If he were interested in sabotaging the company, surely he would've done it before tipping his hand. Giving notice is the only way they know his intentions are benign, so risk avoidance can't be the reason for cutting off his access.

I suppose another poster above has a good point regarding needing to know what needs his lack of access creates, and dealing with that while he's still physically around.

Other than that, though... I'm just scratching my head. Maybe HR needs to rethink their policy?

Enjoy the break (5, Informative)

DataBroker (964208) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517070)

It's in the company's interest for you to do nothing. They actually will prefer if you do absolutely nothing because of their own liability. As a regular employee, if you mess something up it's just negligence (oops). On the other hand if the company terminates you and still gives you access, and then you mess something up, they're criminally liable because they should have restricted your access.

For example, I worked on banking software and had god-rights. If I as a regular employee steal all of the customer data and sell it, then I am the criminal. If I have been terminated and do the same, then they are at fault. Now yes, I realize that it's a pedantic difference, but the banks which run the software see a world of difference and will sue the my employer accordingly.

Believe me, it's cheaper to pay me 6 months severance than it is to be sued for my actions.

Re:Enjoy the break (2, Informative)

uigin (985341) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517278)

He's still an employee at present. This isn't a situation where a former employee has data access rights.

Re:Enjoy the break (1)

DataBroker (964208) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517510)

The only real question the client -- and courts -- can and will ask the employer is "Were you aware that the employee with access to the data had reason for vengeance?". If yes, then the employer pays. It's much easier to just cut them off than to even send the lawyers to the depositions.

Re:Enjoy the break (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517524)

right but it is still a know to be termminated employee.. yes it isnt't eh same as someone who left and still has access that is king of no-noes..

but it falls into the gray area of who is at fault for the breach

Most are set out the door immediately (4, Informative)

haplo21112 (184264) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517074)

It really depends on level of access and what they can access. In many cases however they have been escorted out the door with in minutes of giving notice. Typically they get the two weeks notice they gave as paid time (Two weeks is standard).

Re:Most are set out the door immediately (1)

DuctTape (101304) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517490)

I have also heard that you can get walked out immediately and not get paid. Especially in Texas.

DT

As long as they are paying you... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23517078)

It's nice that they didn't walk you to your car. Most employers (at least here in the states) are at-will, and if you're a potential security risk, will say "Goodbye" and have security walk you to your car.

The plus side of this is they pay out your vacation.
I'd take it as a hint to do nothing work related unless explicitly asked and do all that tech-reading and skill development I never get to.

Look at it as 4 weeks of paid training by your old company for your new employer :-D

Nothing new here (5, Insightful)

sjvn (11568) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517084)

It seems to be common now for companies' to strip users of all their privileges ASAP. If you think this was bad, be glad you're not be laid-off. I've often many people tell me that they learned they no longer had a job when their sessions were terminated in the middle of the work day.

Welcome to the work-world of the 21st century.

Steven
http://www.practical-tech.com/ [practical-tech.com]
http://blogs.computerworld.com/sjvn [computerworld.com]

Re:Nothing new here (1)

drew (2081) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517394)

My wife's former employer had this down to a science. An individual's supervisor would approach them and tell them that they needed to talk to them in their office, and by the time he or she got back to their desk, they would be locked out of their computer, and their building access codes, phone extensions and everything else controlled by the IT department would all be disabled. If multiple people with different supervisors were being let go, they would coordinate to do it all at the same time so that word wouldn't have time to spread around the office.

Re:Nothing new here (5, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517488)

I've often many people tell me that they learned they no longer had a job when their sessions were terminated in the middle of the work day.
Yah, I had a similar thing happen to me. Middle of the day, suddenly my whole connection goes down and I can't re-establish it. I get really pissed off because I had just spent the last 3 months working 80 hour weeks getting my manager's stupid pet project out the door on time, just to have it cancelled at the last minute. I storm in to my manager's office and tear into him about "how dare you lay me off" and "this company will die without me" and "your mother sucks so-and-so in etc," and on and on.

He tries to interrupt me with some lame explanation, but I'm having none of it. I pick up his stupid little "certificate of excellence" award he got at the last quarterly meeting and throw it against the wall, shattering it to pieces. He tries to call security, but I rip the phone out of his hand and continue to hurl abuse that would make the paint peel if he didn't keep the office at 60 goddamn degrees all the time, rendering it permanently encased in ice.

Finally, some of my fellow co-workers come in and ask what's going on. I tell them I've been laid off, and so they start in on the boss too. How could you do this to our best employee, who do you think you are, etc. By this time, my boss is in a corner in the fetal position weeping softly. My two co-workers quit on the spot in solidarity, and throw their laptops at my boss, who is knocked unconcious by one of them, while the other smashes into his new 24" wide-screen HD monitor.

At last, my co-workers head off to the bar to continue the rant about the injustice of it all, while I go back to my desk to put my "wall o' tech books" in a box. While, I'm there, I happen to notice the back of my computer. Turns out I had knocked the Ethernet cable out with my foot.

Oops.

Here's a plan: (5, Insightful)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517088)

1. Do nothing. 2. Keep bits of obscure information for yourself unless they come asking for it. 3. Start new job. 4. ??? 5. PROFIT !

Rumor has it that step 4 has something to do with becoming a highly-paid consultant for the old company.

Re:Here's a plan: (1)

8127972 (73495) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517222)

That might be humor, but there's a certain amount of truth to that. Companies frequently bring ex-employees back on contract because they were too short sighted to get any required info/processes out of them before they left. The ex-employee truly does profit from this.

Take the high road (4, Insightful)

8127972 (73495) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517096)

If they want to keep you from doing your job, they're only going to be hurting themselves and their isn't really much that you can do about that. But what you can do is to do what you can to leave on the best of terms. Just because they decide to be dorks doesn't mean that you have to respond in kind. It's really important to not burn bridges as you might need them for a reference some day. Document whatever obscure bits that you need to and do knowledge transfer with those you can work with. Then you can move on with you conscience clear.

Go on gardening leave. (4, Insightful)

Paul Johnson (33553) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517106)

I'd ask for "gardening leave" (i.e. be allowed to go home rather than forced to sit twiddling your thumbs all day). You might also offer to sit down with a co-worker and tell them about all the stuff you were doing so they can take it over.

This is almost certainly not personal. Your senior management has obviously made a policy decision that the risks of leaving you with access to the systems are more important than the costs of locking you out. Obviously *you* know you are honest and safe, but they can't take that risk. If you think about the amount of damage you could have done if so inclined, you might see the point. There are quite a few horror stories about disaffected employees and computer systems.

Obviously we're a buch of lazy mofos (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517114)

...because everyone is saying "go ahead and sit on your ass." Well, you know what? Fuckin' A Right. It's not your fault they're morons. If they don't understand that you could have done any malicious shit you wanted before giving them notice then nothing you can say is going to change their tiny minds. Sit back, collect your money for nothing, and enjoy the slashdot.

If you don't have good bandwidth at home, this is an epic opportunity to catch up on some downloading...

Well, if you can't do anything.... (1)

Seakip18 (1106315) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517122)

Throw your knowledge down on paper/docs first. Then, spend the next 3 weeks getting ready for your new job. It sounds like you already know what the game plan is, but if your current job is not allowing you to do you current work, at least get ready to be rockstar when you land at your new job. It does suck but hey, I, as a state contract employee, only get paperweight days on days like today.....or tuesday....or when my boss takes 3 months leave....say, where is this manufacturing company's IT going to be?

Choices, choices... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23517132)

Should I [...] simply become the most prolific Slashdot poster over the next few weeks?

Why would you want to do that, if you could surf www.kinky.com 8 hours a day???

Going to a competitor (1)

sanjacguy (908392) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517154)

Unless you make it clear that you're not going to a competitor, there's no reason for them to give access back. Document the things you need to, working with other IT people at their stations. Pay attention to whatever "right to work" laws your state has as failing to show up for work can mean that you have voluntarily resigned your position in some states. Bring the paper everyday, put a few novels in your office, etc.

Constructive dismissal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23517156)

In many countries (certainly in the UK) what they have done could be considered constructive dismissal - ie that they have acted in such a manner as to essentially terminate your employment by making it impossible for you to carry out your duties. That you have given notice is irrelevant to this.

If the company feels that it is too great a security risk to continue to employ you they should have the honesty and decency to put you on "gardening leave" until your notice period is completed - ie send you home on full pay (plus the value of any benefits included in your normal remuneration).

Re:Constructive dismissal (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517480)

Constructive dismissal is when they effectively fire you without actually terminating employment, or in some places forcing you to quit. All a claim of constructive dismissal would do is allow him to sue for wrongful termination. Given he's already given notice, how exactly would that help.

You're not supposed to finish your projects (5, Insightful)

notthepainter (759494) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517158)

Really, you aren't.

You should spend the next 3 weeks documenting your projects. That is what the company needs from you. So few companies get this, want you coding until the last minute.

What happens when your stuff breaks? The next folks start at your documentation and go from there. Internal wiki's are great for this.

Re:You're not supposed to finish your projects (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517430)

You should spend the next 3 weeks documenting your projects.
Wow, you are a rare bird: a true Christian. Employer slaps you, you turn around and try to help them despite themselves.

Me, I guess I'm not so saintly. If I were him, I'd honor my nick, "hiking stick".

Re:You're not supposed to finish your projects (2, Interesting)

notthepainter (759494) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517512)

We live in a small community. I've been an engineer since the early 80s. It is difficult for me to think of a company that I've worked for that I not known someone, sometimes coincidentally, that I've worked with before.

So aside from it being the moral thing to do, enlightened self-interest also suggests that you should always treat your employer well, odds are, you'll meet them again in a few years.

Re:You're not supposed to finish your projects (1)

Foxxxy (217437) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517546)

Sometimes it isn't about the company but the clients. In my last job my employeer deserved me walking out and not telling them anything, my clients on the other hand had contracts with them and needed support. Due to a nice flaw in my contract, I gave 6 written notice instead of 6 weeks written notice and walked out. 15 mins prior to that I e-mailed each of my clients with hundreds of support documents so they could keep business moving. My old boss was pissed off royally but all the clients were happy as they had documentation to provide to the next tech that came in the door.

Re:You're not supposed to finish your projects (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517508)

Bravo. As someone who has had to step into other peoples code a number of times, where there was NO documentation, and NO comments, and sometimes very strange ways of doing things, the last few weeks the leavers should not be able to add any more code. And spend the rest of the time documenting, and helping other developers get up to speed.

Surprised at your reaction (1)

uigin (985341) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517178)

I'm surprised at your reaction. I understand you are a diligent employee and don't like to see your talents effectively put out to pasture for 4 weeks but this is standard practice in many industries. Basically in any job that involves 'knowledge'.

It's slightly unusual that you're still required to come in every day but I guess they could ask you to do low level IT tasks for the duration.

If you were in a job where IP is more of an issue you'd be lucky to even get to clear your desk. Your belongings would be shipped to you.

Take the opportunity to enjoy life (one friend of mine took up jogging). And prepare yourself for your new job.

another option (1)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517182)

if it was me then I would immediately work on experimenting with new tech and maybe learning a new language for my CV/Resume.

I find there is never enough time to learn things.

Choose a programming language you do not already know, then try and code up the knights chess board problem, or something similar to test yourself and add more CV space.

As another poster commented this is their choice not yours. Unless they give you work you can do then you owe them nothing. I sympathize with your problem I have always tried a graceful exit and knowledge transfer myself as well.

Start a Political Movement (3, Funny)

techsoldaten (309296) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517190)

Get everyone organized on the way out and leave a lasting impression! Organize the workers in your workplace. Technology workers are the least represented sector in the US and should be able to reap the benefits of collective bargaining.

Highlight unfair labor practices, working conditions, unsavory boss types, gender inequality in pay scales, and anything else that brings pain to people's lives. Gender inequality is a great one, because it exists almost everywhere. Distribute pamphlets, circulate emails, stick things up on whiteboard, announce your demands loudly.

If you can get 75% of the workers there to sign a petition to join a labor union the organization has to deal with the union by law. Offer people a cookie to sign the petition and you will hit that number. An affiliated union can get an organizer in there after you leave to keep things going.

Coders of the world unite!

M

It isn't neccesarily personal... (3, Interesting)

jtshaw (398319) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517200)

I've left two jobs in my life where I had administrative type access to high importance parts of the system. Company A when I gave my notice (three weeks in this case) said thanks, but told me to take the three weeks off with pay and disabled my access immediately. I have had great recommendations from my manager at that company which has helped me get other jobs, so I'm pretty sure it isn't a person issue.

Company B, which I left a couple months ago, let me work my entire 4 weeks notice with full access.

I don't know how big a firm your talking about here, but a lot of companies have a pretty firm HR policy on asset access for short timer employees. Before you get too upset, check into the policy and see if your being singled out or if that is just the way the organization works. It certainly sounds to me based on your snippet the latter is much more likely.

Sit back and relax... (4, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517204)

My last position (in Utah) required a DoD IT-1 clearance, and I'd gotten the offer to work in Oregon at my current position. Funny thing is, when I gave two weeks' notice, they immediately removed my access to the production environment servers and from the datacenter that held 'em (as required). But, they didn't remove them from all the non-DoD-related servers and services.

I spent those two weeks typing documentation on everything I did, and in training one of the junior admins to wrangle SMTP until they found a replacement. The only real benefit I got out of the deal was that I didn't have to carry a pager anymore.

The other benefit? The folks there were okay with me burning off paid sick days to arrange for the U-Haul and to tie up loose ends before the move.

Most companies that I've worked with in the past were similar - you only really lose access to the vital stuff, but there's usually plenty of non-vital stuff that still needs done until you bail.

/P

Consult your replacement. (5, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517206)

That would be the ethical thing to do. At this stage you don't need the high access as your replacement has the access. I would work closely with your replacement explaining things to them that may not be nessarly documented, even if they are documented people most likely don't want to read it. So use the time to give your replacement the upper hand. There is a lot you can do without having root/administrator access.

Go home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23517228)

Ask to be relieved and go home, I'm sure it's standard procedure in a lot of businesses to cut off all access to employees that could potentially steal customers and ideas, but they shouldn't expect you to be able to be productive after that.

Their fault (1)

LockeOnLogic (723968) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517236)

You have already gone out of your way to be mature and helpful, if they refuse your offer you have no more obligation. There is no need to go out of your way to make someone accept kindness from you. New plan: bring some "brownies" to work and enjoy your new paperweight status!

Four weeks??? (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517244)

1) Never, never, never give more than 2 weeks notice.
2) You have your own ass to protect, first and foremost. You owe nothing to your soon-to-be former company.
3) If you want to do a mitzvah and do some documenting before you leave, do it before you resign.

Re:Four weeks??? (3, Interesting)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517414)

I usually give more than two weeks. Usually it's a matter of planning my next job's start date, and then saying "All right, you've got me for a month. Get me a replacement and I'll train him/her." In a small community, this sort of behaviour goes a _long_ ways towards your reputation.
Once, however, it was a defensive move. My manager was maneuvering to fire me (not justified, but I was a resident alien and appealing would have been more or less impossible) so I resigned before he got the chance--and padded my stay to four weeks, until I had my affairs in order.

It is unusual (4, Interesting)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517248)

I have a friend who is an accountant. When he turned in his notice to a Fortune 500 company (2 weeks I believe), they gave him 1 month's pay and told him (fairly politely) that he could leve immediately and good luck on his next job. However, note I said that he's an accountant.

It does seem to me that there's little point in removing access and keeping an IT guy on. If they need to remove access they should just pay you for a month and let you go. The fact that they want you to stay and took away your access says a lot of negative things about them. They don't trust you, but they want to keep you to the bitter end anyway.

Knowledge transfer as much as you wish during this time. If I was being treated this way, it sure wouldn't make me want to seek people out to give knowledge to, but I would probably help anyone who came to me with questions. I do suggest to you that you not ask for your access back. If your company wants to be a jerk about this, let it be a complete inconvenience for them and play by those rules. A company that has already shown that they don't trust you is not going to look favorably on any requests you make for restored access. In fact, they might find it suspicious that you need the access and they might suspect you of planting trojans, etc. Just live with it. In fact, you probably should fight to not get the access back and here's why. If something goes wrong after you leave, your company has shown you that they don't trust you. They might blame you for whatever happens if you get your access restored.

Most companies do not act this way. I've worked in IT for almost 22 years now (since college) and we've either just sent people packing the same day (never for IT staff, but it has happened for sales people and such) or they got to keep their access until they left.

Our's is: (1)

Atriqus (826899) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517256)

People leaving on good terms maintain access through the last day.

Now people we want to get rid of immediately are either fired or promoted, depending on how many systems they could potentially break back into... Yes, our department follows a variation of the Dilbert Principle.

The answer is simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23517260)

Explain your situation to your supervisor. He can either argue for your restored access, or not. He will be the one continuing with the company, and is your spokesman for the companies policies. Abide by whatever he says.

"On Contract" (1)

juuri (7678) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517262)

As far as upper management is concerned you have now gone on floating contract for a prepaid four week period. They absolutely don't care what you do to fill your time. However, during this window they expect you to be available for any knowledge transfer or training that should arise by you no longer doing your day to day or longer term tasks.

Wanna learn something new? Got some books to read? Near a park? Enjoy it!

You're lucky. Go with it. (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517312)

As mentioned upthread, most people are sacked and possibly given severance. Removal of privilege shouldn't be regarded in a negative way. Post a lot. Catch up on your communications. Tell everyone your new email address. If they require you to be in the office, do a good job and get a good reference. If you can be at home and there are no strictures on what you can do there (e.g. employment contract), then do what you want to.

Most IT staff are unceremoniously sacked. They either have high standards or you're there in case you're needed to do something they haven't thought of. In any case, don't be bummed by lack of access. Learn how to beat Freecell in under 60 seconds or something, or do your job search, or whatever you're inclined/motivated to. And enjoy it, as you're luckier than 95% of the IT staff I deal with.

Never be too careful (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517324)

Hacksaw. Meat grinder. Crab pots. You can never be too careful when getting rid of someone...

Document (1)

foobang (945025) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517340)

If you still have access to a word processor, open a new document and write down every thing you could think off that could ease the task of your soon-to-bee-ex coworkers when you're gone. IMHO this is the only morally acceptable behavior in your situation. And hurry up because 9 years of experience is quite a lot, 3 week wont suffice anyway.

Risk (1)

HEbGb (6544) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517344)

Your company sees your access as a huge risk, which is entirely reasonable. That kind of access/power with someone departing imminently is very dangerous for a company. Regardless of your outward intentions, that's too big of a risk for them. It's a ripe situation for theft of company data, trade secrets, or sabotage.

What you can do is explain to them the situation, and maybe they'll have you train someone, who will really be responsible for the final tasks (using their access). That's really the only reasonable solution.

Immediate termination is a best practice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23517352)

is considered to be a security "best practice" and so people should not feel offended or surprised when they encounter it. Now, feeling offended when you encounter the phrase "best practices" is another matter entirely.

They waited until Monday?! (1)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517360)

Policy varies a lot, and depends on the situation. However, typically, I would expect someone to be escorted to their desk to pack up, and then to the door. No bitterness, no mistrust, just the company covering their ass. HOWEVER, keep in mind that if they accept your resignation letter and date, they have to pay you so if it happens, enjoy the paid holiday.

That said, in my last position I was working up until the very very last second of my last day of my notice. I'd been in that role long enough that they had no choice but to trust me--if I was going to do something evil, I'd have done it years ago, when they started making the job so miserable.

The other thing is that what your group/manager/department head knows to be reasonable, HR and the CEO might not accept. Just roll with it, and check your stocks for the next few weeks.

throwing the gauntlet, eh? (2, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517366)

Should I argue for restored access, highlight the fact that I am currently a human paperweight, request a severance package, or simply become the most prolific Slashdot poster over the next few weeks?
Is that a challenge?!

Good lord, man, do you know what you're doing? College just let out...

But if you're serious, I'm willing to take odds -- and willing to see if a challenge like that changes the character of slashdot during the event.

Now we just need sponsors and a catchy name, any suggestions out there?

Nothing new here (1)

claytonjr (1142215) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517370)

I work for an IT vendor, on a Navy site. When someone puts in their two weeks notice, Navy policy dictates that their privileges are taken immediately. You do not get one iota of computer access.

This happened to one of our ex-employees about a year ago. After sitting around for about a day, he just left. He couldn't do anything, but just sit around.

They are protecting their assets (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517382)

How does the company know that you are giving 4 weeks notice so you can train other employees or finish projects? How do they NOT know that you aren't going to spend the next four weeks setting up timebomb scripts or sabotaging equipment? By giving any form of notice, you have told the company that you nolonger have interest in working at this company, and so they have taken the proactive measure of ensuring that you cannot work at this company. Once you give notice (which is a purely optional measure) the company has the option of letting your stay around or not.

In many companies, the day that you 'give notice' they company will then escort you to the door. Why would they want someone on their last 2 weeks (or 4 weeks on your part) hanging around the office. You could be trying to steal information or recruit your coworkers to your new job.

Re:They are protecting their assets (4, Insightful)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517542)

How does the company know that you are giving 4 weeks notice so you can train other employees or finish projects? How do they NOT know that you aren't going to spend the next four weeks setting up timebomb scripts or sabotaging equipment?



Anyone who is malicious and has half a working brain would, of course, do all of that evil stuff before giving any notice. Do they really think that all of their employees are malicious, incompetent, backstabbing morons ?



You could be trying to steal information or recruit your coworkers to your new job.



Yes, the free market is a cool thing, as long as it doesn't impact the bottom line. Then you should fight it tooth and claw. And you should hang on to moronic employees who can't look for better jobs themselves, but need to be recruited by a coworker. Geez. Some people in charge must really, really think that all of their employees are a bunch of dimwitted morons. Maybe they're right, too.

Sit on your a**, but let them know. (1)

hitchhikerjim (152744) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517396)

Don't fight it. Inform them of exactly which tasks you won't be able to do without privileges, and then do the things you can (getting knowledge onto paper and into hands of your co-workers is the primary thing).

Their policy is their problem, and you're no longer responsible for the company's long-term welfare. But if you're as friendly and helpful as they allow you to be over the next few weeks, you maintain relationships that may be helpful in future years.

In the end, most tech companies I've been with have accepted my 2 weeks notice, spent one day with me handing off information, then asked me not to come back (but they pay out those weeks anyway). It's a policy designed to make sure the employee doesn't get bored enough to cause any mischief.

But if they want you to come in anyway once everything you have left to do is off limits, come in to be available for your co-workers questions. A coupe of weeks of letting other people's hands do the work while you just are available for questions is actually a very valuable training period for handing off your gig, and probably should be in your transition plan even if they'd left your access on. And spend the bored time prepping for your new job.

My suggestion... (1)

robbblack (995732) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517426)

Put your feet up on your desk and enjoy the next few weeks. It is unbelievable how companies routinely screw themselves when it comes to termination of employment situations. I can understand an organization's concern about sabotage or espionage, but at the same time there is such a thing as cutting off your nose to spite your face.

I wanted to be shown the door... (1)

gwn (594936) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517458)

I was in a similar position two years ago having given 8 weeks notice (including some holiday time) . I was hoping the company would follow their already established practice of showing IT folks the door after a couple of days. No such luck. I was too trusted and good at my job said HR. They wanted me to work right up to the final day. They even waited until my scheduled last day to bring in the new guy. I found this most annoying. Seems IT is a fickle field to work in. Most management hasn't got a clue and don't want to get a clue. If you are good you get shafted... if you are bad you get bonuses and promoted. This last point is my observation that good IT people who keep everything running smoothly with preventative work get hosed because management thinks they don't do anything. On the other side IT who foster a crisis environment and are often seen fighting great fires (often caused by their own earlier inaction - because they spend to much time posting on "/."?) get positive recognition from management. It is a cruel world working in IT. OK, now flame on people!

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23517468)

Hope your World of Warcraft account is and paid up. Web browsing gets pretty old in a few days.

Internal controls (1)

JeffTL (667728) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517470)

This has to do with internal controls ... call someone, preferably a CPA or CIA, in the accounting department and he or she can probably explain the ins and outs of it.

Time to grind on World of Warcraft. (1)

Phil_at_EvilNET (569379) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517496)

Personally, I'd sit back in my little space and grind toward level 70. You figure 8hrs a day, for the next 20 days you should get pretty far. I mean, you get to play WoW or any other game and you'll paid to do it. No point in worrying about your responsibilities in light of the fact that they stripped your access.

Anonymous Coward blink (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23517502)

Perhaps you should explain to your highest up that you wish to help the company by writing a manual and will need your access returned to assure accuracy? :)

It's their prerogative to waste your time. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517504)

Really, it's no skin off your nose if you can't get any useful work done for your last two weeks because of their policies. Enjoy the lightened workload.

-jcr

Welcome to the real world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23517536)

You shouldn't be surprised that they terminate access early, especially in the SOX-era we live in. Every employee is nothing but a number and a liability, as I have found out early on. You have to look out for yourself, and not for the company. When you find a better offer, move. Company loyalty does NOT EXIST and hasn't for decades. Do what is best for you, not them.

My only question is this:

How on earth did you manage to keep a tech job for more than 5 years? It's nearly impossible to stay employed at one place in these unstable times without getting laid off, outsourced, downsized, and what-not these days. I average about 2 years at each job before I'm laid off in this yucky job market.

Fuck 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23517538)

As it says on the label :)

Straitjacketed & Wheeled to the Door (2, Funny)

tazbert (824165) | more than 5 years ago | (#23517552)

I've got root to all of our group's developement systems, as well as many production systems. I'm also know for my practical jokes and sometimes abilities to by-pass security systems. Though I've never presented myself as a risk to the company where I work (for almost 16 years, now), when I give notice, I expect to be immediately straitjacketed, put in leg irons, and wheeled to the door on a a hand-truck.
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