toxic jobs

Personal stories about toxic jobs and workplace woes.

January 13, 2007

job hunting at work

Courtney is looking for a better job than the one she has now and like a lot of people she uses the Internet at work for this purpose. She is worried about being tracked and possibly losing her job because of it.

"I'm not so worried about my boss catching me as getting trapped at some of those nasty sites that necessitate a reboot to escape from," says Courtney. "It's not called the 'web' for nothing and what's far more annoying - and possibly more dangerous - than the occasional hacker, cracker or spider getting into my work's system is the constant tracking we're subjected to when we check out job sites."

She concedes that in real life cameras are similarly tracking us wherever we go, but she maintains that real life tracking is okay because it protects us and the owners of the establishments we enter.

"Internet tracking is dangerous because it is garnering information about us -- what site we visited previously, what ad we clicked on, what we bought and how long we stayed at a site for marketing purposes," explains Courtney, "and I'm not on a home computer, I'm using the one at work!"

"I'm terrified my boss is going to get spammed from my job surfing on his system!"

"Luckily, I'm not a shopaholic -- I never buy anything I see on the Net when I'm job surfing at work," says Courtney, "but I'd imagine a lot of women might be tempted. If I see something that interests me, I am more likely to seek a retail outlet to purchase the item than do the transaction electronically.

"I'm a touchy-feely shopper and I'm also a touchy-feely job hunter in that I use the Net to find the jobs I like but I'd never leave my personal details on the sites. I use the telephone to ask for more information."

"I'm glad I don't have the Internet at home," laughs Courtney, "because it's such a huge catalog of jobs, things to buy and a wonderful things to read that I'd never have a life!

"But I can appreciate that I am taking a big risk doing my job hunting at work," says Courtney. "I'd prefer that my Internet use is private -- as it would be in a real life situation -- but as it can't be like that at work I have to be careful about trackers and leaving too much clues about where I've been online just in case my boss checks up on me.

"I'm really annoyed by pop-up ads on some of the job sites demanding my personal details," says Courtney. "I only give my personal details to recruiters or employers directly and face to face when they have a job that interests me. Not before!"

"Can you imagine reading a book and the author jumping out and demanding to know everything about you, or bombarding you with advertisements? Or being in a library and having a librarian tracking every book or magazine you glance at? Or being in a department store and having a sales clerk wanting to know your name, address and telephone number when you enter the store? It's as crazy at that."

"The UK is one country that is planning to stop this tracking nonsense before it gets really out of hand," says Courtney, "and I do hope that the rest of the world follows suit soon. It’s not much good to ban the Internet trackers in one part of the world, and let them roam free elsewhere. The Internet is global! "

"In attempting to break the boundary between real life and cyberspace, I feel that all the Internet nasties -- the hackers, crackers and trackers -- are upsetting something really special about the Internet," says Courtney. "And when cyberspace loses its fantasy aspect, its facility for us to move around unnoticed and unchallenged, I feel that more and more Net users will decide to unplug and return to more traditional sources of information."

"There are not very many job ads in the newspapers any more," sighs Courtney, "so I have to use Internet to do my job hunting. Sure, I could use a library rather than my boss's internet connection to find a new job but, come on -- everyone does it."

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