Writing about pornography is a risky proposition. I don’t want to sound Puritanical nor do I want to sound cavalier about Internet usage. Individuals can and should exercise their own discretion and judgment about what is appropriate behavior given any circumstance.
However, I witnessed an incident and learned of another that made me pause to write about the forbidden subject. Recognize, too, that I have built a writing career suggesting that people should always exercise good judgment and stop doing stupid stuff. The well never runs dry.
The first incident in question happened on a shuttle bus at an airport. I was a weary traveler finally reaching my destination and catching a shuttle bus was not something I wanted to do. Nonetheless, I joined the parade to the loading area. As the bus was loading, the bus driver sat behind the steering wheel waiting nonchalantly and looking at his phone. The bus was jammed and several of us were shoved to the front, right behind the driver. As I inadvertently looked over his shoulder I couldn’t help but notice that he was looking at pornography. It was difficult to miss the action. Several other customers who caught the glimpse of the show rolled their eyes.When the bus was finally full, he turned off his phone, put the bus in gear and took off and we all wondered how distracted the driver was.
The second incident happened in a sea of cubicles late one night. A young analyst for a consulting firm was bored and needed a break. Rather than get up to a get a soda, he went to the Internet to explore the world of on-line sex. He should have gone to the vending machine area for that soda. Every organization monitors Internet usage and who visits certain sites will get a lot of attention. The analyst was terminated the next day. His claim that he was just doing “research” didn’t fly.
Yikes. How you spend time outside of work is your business. How you spend your time while at work is the business of lots of others including co-workers, customers, clients and your employer. If you need a reminder, the on-line monitoring and video cameras all around the office are a good place to start.
Employee manuals that I have seen don’t always have sections on viewing pornography. But all manuals have sections on exercising judgment and doing what is right for the customer and viewing pornography while at work is never a good thing. The sentence, “DON’T WATCH PORNOGRAPHY WHILE AT WORK” is in the white space of the employee manual in all caps.
It is not my intent to be judgmental about pornography. It is my intent to coach you into using good judgment so that you keep your job.
Setting and meeting goals is your friend. Flawless execution is your friend. Developing healthy relationships with colleagues is your friend. There are lots of friends to make at work.
Pornography is not your friend.