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OT: You all’s thoughts on a work ethics situation.

Hi all
This is OT but I would like a poll of opinions on a situation I encountered recently.

I work with another woman (we will call her B) who is basically my equal in position.

Recently, I attended an out of town planning meeting with my boss. B did not attend, because invitations had been issued before she was on staff (I preceded her by a month where we work). However, I emailed back and forth with her over the few days that I was away, keeping her appraised of how it was going and what was being discussed. I took lots of notes in my notebook that I take with me everywhere.

A week or two after coming back from the workshop, I was making photocopies and was really surprised when a photocopied page of my notebook with notes from the meeting fell out of the machine. I asked my boss if she had borrowed my notes from the meeting. She said no. So I figured that B must have photocopied the notes one day when I was working at home. I later found out this was the case, because my boss confronted B about the matter. I had decided it probably was B, already, but had elected to not confront her because the whole situation was so awkward. I totally would have given her the notes, if she had asked – I had tried by emailing her during the meeting to make her feel included and “in the loop”. But for her to go into my office, take my notebook, make the copies and never tell me struck me as somehow pathetic – as if she feels like she has to sneak around.

I am still upset about the incident. B told my boss that she was “too scared” to tell me she’d made the copies. I thought, yeah, I’d be scared too, if I’d violated someone’s privacy like that. In a million years it would not occur to me to go take something off a colleague’s desk. So now you know how *I* feel… But am I overreacting?

Thanks for your input.

Sun. Jan 14, 1:10am

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Well, there's a part of me that thinks, "Yikes! goodness knows what ELSE she might feel comfortable helping herself to on your desk!" I used to share an office with someone who had no boundaries in this regard, and I had to get a keyboard lock -- not one with a password, but one with a key! -- for my computer. At least it sounds as if your boss is taking this seriously.

But let's assume for a moment she's not transgressive all the time. If it were me, my question to myself might be, "Why didn't she ask me? Did she just remember that she wanted it after i'd left for the day? Or is she scared of me?" Not to imply that in either case taking things from someone else's desk is an acceptable thing to do, but from the point of view of preventing it in the future.

Sunday, January 14, 2007, 7:45 AM

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I would tell her, in the nicest way possibe, if you need anything of mine you need to ask.

Sunday, January 14, 2007, 9:32 AM

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I would be ecstatic - it would mean one of my co-workers was actually going to READ them. I would have to carefully rein in my optimism that it might ever happen again.

(but yeah a simple 'hey, I made some copies of your notes while you were out' would have been in order if she really couldn't wait to ask you in person)

Sunday, January 14, 2007, 11:20 AM

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a whole other thing to be annoyed about is the fact that she didn't put the notes back either!! what if it was something she asked to borrow and she either lost it or forgotten where it was? so she stole the notes, but she also was careless with them when she did have them.

Sunday, January 14, 2007, 7:44 PM

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