Getting fired for playing solitaire?

New York mayor fires man for playing computer gameNew York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has fired a city employee after seeing the man play solitaire on his computer at work. … The man was fired last Tuesday after six years on the job with no warning or severance pay.

I had hope this story was taken out of context, but there was no context to take it out from. The new mayor was greeting his fellow workers when he noticed an employee playing solitaire. *Snap*, like that, he was fired. 6 years working for a job in New York that only paid $27,000 a year. Sigh…

I, along with many others, believe people need to take random breaks (doesn’t really matter what they do, as long as it doesn’t break any laws or company policies) to be more productive. I visit random websites (such as /. and bargain hunting sites) while others play Texas Holdem (yep, it’s going to be included in Windows Vista). But no matter what you decide to do for you break, always take one when you’re stressed or can’t focus anymore. It’d be terrible to burn yourself out. That’s when both the company and you lose out.

But it did get these interesting quotes from /. :

We were in the process of replacing our beloved VAXstations with high-end (60 MHz!) Pentium PCs running Windows 3.1. One of the big wigs was walking through the data center, and noticed a programmer playing Solotaire. He asks, “What is she doing?”. A co-worker in the neighboring cube notices the situation and defuses the crisis by spewing a load of BS: “She’s doing mouse calibration; they have you use this program, so the pointer on the screen can be aligned with the roller ball inside the mouse. It only takes a few minutes and it lines up the pointer for you.”

Back in 1998 I was working in a helpdesk and a user who was known to be a chronic complainer called saying that she couldn’t do her work as there was something wrong with MS Word. We were able to remote control workstations without users having to give permission so I connected to her workstation and what did I see?? Solitaire. Rather than let her know I could see what she was doing I kept asking her about her screen and what she could see on it – all she was doing was giving me ficticious error messages and she was actually continuing her game while she was talking to me. How I resolved the problem was to move her cards around for her and then open MS Office. Once it was open I asked her if there were any other problems she wanted to talk about. After a long silence she said “No- thank you for helping me” and hung up the phone. Needless to say we didn’t hear anything from her for a while.

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