“When two people know a secret, it’s not a secret” — Unknown
As a Scout leader I’ve taken a lot of kids to camp. On the first night they’re excited and have a hard time getting to sleep. They’re with their friends, away from home, some for the first time. They get to stay up late and poke sticks into the fire, and there’s a big day of outdoor fun planned for tomorrow. So they sit up and talk. Usually this is means nothing more than they’ll have a hard time getting up in the morning.
They talk about friends, and school, and eventually drift off to sleep. Sometimes, however, things drift into inappropriate topics. This is when they learn that tent walls are thin. They also learn that Scouter Bernie can still slither out of an 18 inch gap in his tent door and silently stalk through woods in the dark, not turning on his flashlight until he’s standing beside their tent.
A mistake that some people make is using their work e-mail account as their personal e-mail. If you think your company can’t or won’t check your e-mails you’re wrong. It is perfectly within your employer’s rights. It’s their equipment, their network, and presumably you’re doing it on their time. This goes for your web-browsing habits as well. Being up for promotion increases the chance that you’ll come under increased scrutiny.
Many of us have learnt not to do this. With e-mail enabled smart-phones, texting, and other personal means of communications there’s no reason to use the company controlled equipment.
Nobody will turn on the flash-light for you when you get busted either. When the next round of lay-offs, re-organization, or business rationalization comes, you’ll already be on the list.