Let This Be A Lesson For All Of You When It Comes To Instant Messaging At Work

I came across this post the other day and it immediately reminded me of a similar situation that I witnessed in one of my previous jobs.  But before I get into that, let’s take a look at the post.

By Redditor, -_-Nope

So, it’s week #2 on my new job. My SO, who got me the job, works here too. I go and message her through the company IM tool something like that:

OMG “xx” is so annoying. She always comes downstairs and chats with people here. I can’t focus!

Because if you’re so bothered to the point where you can’t work, make sure to bother someone else who is working to tell them about it.

Her answer is pretty normal though…

I am in a meeting

…until it makes my heart jump:

Everyone can see what you’re writing.

So apparently, half a dozen people, probably higher up in the hiearchy, watched me bitch about the receptionist/office manager who everyone knows. I’m screwed.

2 minutes later she got a call and had to go back to her desk. Unrelated? I think not.

And now back to my story.  I was in a meeting with a bunch of senior managers and managing directors. The meeting wasn’t going well as people were not agreeing over the newly established process.  The meeting ended with more questions than answers.  Most of the the attendees left once the hour was up.  I hung around with a few others to ask the presenter questions.  As I was waiting my turn to ask, I noticed an instant message pop up on the projector screen.  The presenter’s laptop was still connected to the projector!


The messages are as close to what I can remember, and there were no asterisks used in the original message.  It’s not something that I will soon forget.  I was the only one that saw the instant message pop up and I leaned towards the presenter and told her that she should disconnect her laptop from the projector.  She glanced briefly at her screen and her eyes popped out.  Sort of like below. (By the way, don’t Google ‘eyes popping out.’)


I can’t imagine what would have happened if others in the room had seen the message

What lesson did we learn?

Don’t complain about others or how much you hate the company you work for, especially in writing.  Also, if you’re sharing your computer screen, assume what you see is also what others will see.  So it’s a good idea to turn off applications that have pop up notifications, such as instant messengers and email before showing your screen to others.

One thought on “Let This Be A Lesson For All Of You When It Comes To Instant Messaging At Work”

  1. Erin Musko says:

    Binfer instant messaging is encrypted. Also, it is free. The site is http://www.binfer.com

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