Redoing work with less time and fewer resources, on his own time. Should he do it?
March 8, 2011 7:39 PM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend: He is a security manager. The client told him to document post orders, but they wouldn't provide him with the resources to do them. He did them on his own computer. Then, his hard drive failed. (A bit of a long story inside.)

Neither the client nor his employer would provide him with a computer to do the work (the one he normally uses for his daily work is dedicated to other things), so he used his personal laptop. The post orders template he used needed heavy revision aside from the actual data entry (areas were written entirely in caps lock, etc.) and he spent about 1.5 weeks on the documentation. But then his computer died, and, no...he did not make a backup.

So the client told him to get it done (again), and the deadline is this week. There is no way he can get it done in time--not even if he does it on his own time. His commute takes 2 hours out of the day, and he has a son to take care of. He has no working computer, aside from an older desktop which only has Wordpad on it.

The issue is that contractually the client really doesn't have a 'right' to ask for the documents, and when the contract ends, the post orders stay with the employer. (The client can buy them though.) But when the client told the employer that they wanted the post orders re-done, the employer okayed it, believing that the docs were < 100 pages long. (In fact, they're 1,000 pages or so.) However, what they're telling my friend is 'get it done anyway' on his own computer and time if needed.

A relevant piece of information--the contract with this client is going to end in about a month.

These are the only things my friend seems to be pondering:
  • Do a half-assed project (e.g., as much as he can, without making too big a deal about the random caps lock-type stuff) which will be nowhere near 1,000 pages.
  • Do nothing, because he shouldn't be forced to do it on his own time (and resources, yet again), especially because the contract is going to end soon.
What should he do? His job is not on the line or anything like that. What can he do to a) make the best of this situation, and b) prevent something like this from happening again? Is it a question of approaching higher management? Any input would be great, thanks!
posted by methroach to Work & Money (5 answers total)
What should he do?

Nothing. He should do nothing. The client is asking him to provide a document that his employer would normally charge the client for, that is not expected to be the client's property? I think perhaps no. People who tell you to do a job for free, without providing you with the resources to do it should expect it not to get done.

MeMail me if your friend would like help with data recovery.
posted by mhoye at 7:46 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

If I were in his position, I would provide the clients a summary of the work involved, what I did, what I had to use and the resources I required to accomplish what the client was requesting (which I was denied). This would put the responsibility for having this data back on them on them, NOT me.

Sounds like the employer and client was excepting professional results without providing the necessary resources. The fact that he used his personal equipment could prove potentially problematic if the client or his employer wants to pursue data recovery options.

This should never have happened. The client and his employer should bear the responsibility, not him.
posted by loquat at 8:19 PM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Does he have a job description? Is creating Post Orders a part of it? If not screw it. If yes, don't do it without being given company gear.

Alternatively, scrawl it on a few pages of legal pad.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:21 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Your friend is directly responsible to his employer, and only indirectly responsible to the client. It's up to his employer to decide how to best resolve this conflict, using company resources, on company time. More generally, your friend ought to stand up for himself more than he is evidently in the habit of doing. Agreeing to use his own computer for work purposes was a mistake that has muddied the waters. These sorts of requests really require a polite but firm "No."
posted by jon1270 at 4:51 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Thank you all for the advice! I am forwarding these responses to my friend.

Thanks again! :)
posted by methroach at 7:35 AM on March 9, 2011

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