Thank you!

This entry was published at least two years ago (originally posted on October 28, 2003). Since that time the information may have become outdated or my beliefs may have changed (in general, assume a more open and liberal current viewpoint). A fuller disclaimer is available.

First things first — many, many thanks to the many people who have passed on words of encouragement to me in my time of trial. With a normal readership of about ten people that I know of, I wasn’t expecting to get much response beyond my family and a few friends. The ‘net being what it is, though, tales of my trials and tribulations seem to be spreading, and I’ve gotten many nice comments, e-mails, and phone calls, not to mention links on a growing number of sites.

Mentions that I’ve found as of 10/29/03 @ 0234:

I’ve spent part of the day updating my resumé (a task that I have to admit I always dread), and have polished it up to the best of my ability and posted it here. With any luck, between the temp agency, my own efforts, and what little notoriety I may gain in my fifteen minutes of fame, this stretch of unemployment won’t last too long. In any case, I’m certainly keeping my fingers crossed (though it does make it a bit harder to type, I can use all the luck I can get right now).

To address some of the concerns and questions I’ve received:

Legal recourses

A couple people have inquired about possible legal recourses. This is an avenue that I don’t particularly want to investigate, for a few reasons. First, I don’t think that the time and trouble is worth it, and second, I’d be willing to bet that somewhere in the labyrinthine red tape of contracts among my temp agency, the vendor, and Microsoft, this situation is probably covered in one form or another.

In the end, what it boils down to was a slight misjudgment on my part. While I (and many other people) may find Microsoft’s reaction to be extreme and unnecessary, chances are they had every legal right to make the decision that they did. I would certainly have preferred that they simply request that I take the offending post down (which I would have done in a heartbeat), but for whatever reasons, they chose not to take that route.

Future plans and possibilities

Thankfully, this appears to be solely an issue between Microsoft and myself. While I got the news from my supervisor, it was made clear to me that there was nothing he could do about the situation, and he was sorry to see me go. As I’d been a valuable member of the team in the print shop, able to cover nearly any position outside of administrative duties, losing me will be a bit of a blow to the shop (now, I’m not so amazingly egotistical to claim that the place is going to go down in flames just because lil’ ol’ me isn’t chipping in anymore, mind you — I just know that I was able to help out wherever I was needed, and I enjoyed doing it).

Seeing as how he was also caught off guard by this situation, he’s said that he’ll ask around and see if there might be any other open positions outside of Microsoft that I might be able to be shuffled into. This is no guarantee, of course, but it’s certainly nice to know that he thought highly enough of me to at least take a few minutes to ask around about possibilities.

I’ve also received a couple of requests for my resumé via e-mail, which have been sent out to everyone who asked for them.

In the end, though, I’m still crossing my fingers, waiting to see what may come down the pike.


A few people have inquired about how I’m doing financially. I have to admit — things are a little dicey here. Rent is due in a week, and while I’ll be able to dip into some emergency money to get me through this round, I will need to have stable income by the time November 5th rolls around or I’ll be in very dire straits. It’s quite typical, in a Murphy’s Law kind of way, that this would happen just a few weeks after I blew my savings on a new computer. Ah, well — there was certainly no way to plan for it.

Now, I’ve never been much of one for asking for money — I’m quite stubborn by nature (according to my parents, one of my first words as a child was “self!”), and generally, if I can’t handle something on my own, well, that’s just the way it goes. Besides, I can more easily see a website/weblog requesting donations when they focus on a specific topic, rather than being the essentially random collection of technical babble, political indignation, personal musings, and occasional bad humor that this site tends towards. ;)

That said, however…(oh, sure, first the disclaimers, then the heart rending plea for help, complete with a John Williams score — oh, can I get Steven Spielberg to direct the TV spot?)…I have had a PayPal donation button in my about page for months now, as well as the Amazon links at the bottom of each page. To date, these have netted me all of — hold on, let me check — approximately $12 from my Amazon Associates account, and absolutely nothing from the PayPal button.

Now, that’s about exactly what I’d expect to see, and I certainly don’t expect it to change. Heck, with the economy the way it is, there’s not a lot of people out there who have the spare change to help support some anonymous bloke whose sob story they just stumbled into while wandering around the ‘net. But — and there’s always a but, isn’t there? — should anyone feel moved to make small donation, whether through the PayPal link or by using the Amazon banner on my site to go shopping, I certainly wouldn’t complain in the least.

And I believe that brings us up to date. Once again, thanks to all of you for the kind words. Often, those are worth far more to me than anything else.

53 thoughts on “Thank you!”

  1. Microsoft….listen up
    You cannot begin to understand how much this kind of stupid stunt can cost you.
    Your public image is damaged far more by this kind of thing. You are in fact only hurting your self.
    You could have pulled Michael aside and asked him to pull the post for no reason other than you were uncomfortable with it.
    And he would have, and everything would have quietly past by.
    Instead you pull this? Now this only makes it go around more.
    More blogs pick it up!
    Everybody starts talking about it.
    Far more damage is done to MicroSoft by its own actions than anything Michael ever did?
    This helps you how?
    Oh I get it. It stops people from doing it in the future?
    Kicking my dog stops her from barking, but that doesn’t make it the right thing to do.
    I don’t know who decided that Michael needed to be fired but your WRONG…You hear me? WRONG.
    Now be a man and call him up and say your sorry.
    Tell him to come back to work but leave his camera at home.
    I’m sure you have his number.

  2. I liked the Halloween layout just fine…no matter what some crazy f*** on Metafilter says…

    Woody, check yer PayPal.

    Hugs and Kisses,

  3. I was going to buy a PC but now that I read this, forget it. I am getting a G5 :) After all, even Microsoft wants them :D Go Apple!

  4. Somebody @ Apple needs to see this and hire the guy! Think of the positive PR it would generate for them! This is much better than the “why I switched” campaign!

  5. I can’t believe MS… seriously. WTF is wrong w/ those people? So you posted some shit on a blog about them buying some G5s. Who cares? My opinion of MS has just gone completely down the tubes.

    Good luck to you bro – go find yourself a job at a company that actually cares about its employees, rather than this money-hungry corporate monopoly.

    Look at it this way – even though the nutsuckers who fired you meant it to do you harm, God means it to do you good. Something better will come of this for you – guaranteed.

  6. Damn shame…… Wish you all the best from the UK for finding a job soon! Cool website….. now added to my Safari bookmarks…….

  7. Well, after having watched “Pirates of the Silicone Valley” as well as “Hackers 2” recently, I certainly think that Microsoft is playing with fire here. I would highly recommend both movies, not necessarily as accurate documentaries, but at least giving you some idea as to the nature behind the relationship between Microsoft and Apple, plus the fine lines between hackers and crackers. What my point is here is that Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are no angels, they got thier start basically doing what hackers do back in the 70’s. They just turned professional, while some of the rest, like Kevin Mitnick were forced to run from the people that were after them, even though they knew they could have owned anything they wanted to. What’s interesting to note is that computer crimes that are punished illustrate that it’s possible to take down the internet. Knowledge is power, it’s key in anything you do. I agree that Michael did a technical “goof” in mentioning a potential security problem in his post. I further agree that Microsoft blew it when they fired him. What was first just a potential problem has now escalated into a security issue for them. They failed to contain the situation, and in so doing, proved that thier security problems do not stop at thier software. As a company, Microsoft seriously needs to investigate thier security practices, both from a software standpoint, and from a informational standpoint. Recently, I have seen that Microsoft seems to be moving in that direction from the software side, however, I think they still have a few very rough years ahead of them here. It has been lax for so long, that they will have to back up and start over from the beginning of the code to make sure everything is tight. At this point, I’m stuck with Microsoft, becuase I don’t have the time to learn the ins and outs of a new OS from the ground up. I am really concerned about my security because of this gaping breach called Windows. Perhaps I am voicing the concerns of millions of customers and I know it’s time that Microsoft sat up and paid attention.

  8. Let’s see, you most likely signed how many NDA’s to get the job? You then had a camera on site. And I gather you are a temp employee, not a regular salaried employee. That sounds like firing material to me. Maybe I’m being harsh but temp employee who’s already shown himself to be a security risk (albiet minor) seems to be a big enough risk that I’d want to let you go. If you were a salaried employee (are you?) then it may be different, there should be more company loyalty there and the company asking you to take it down might be enough.

  9. Count me another slashdotter. I’m shocked that MS would keep such tabs on their employees (maybe I’m showing naiveté??) to find this and be offended so quickly. I’m looking at being laid off myself this coming Monday (from an unrelated company), and with the job marking so bad in this area, every little bit helps. I think that Tim Who? has it right – this has made the front page of /., so millions who are already MS-phobic are going to hear about this. But you know what they say, “even bad press is good press”.

  10. I am sorry, but there will be no sympathy from me. You made a mistake, and you were only a contractor. It’s not Microsft’s fault – they most likely put in these policies when some other 10-D1-OT was malicious. MS is protecting their company. That’s it.

  11. I’m sorry you are jobless now, but most companies have a policy against taking pictures in their campus. Being that you were a “temp” employee, that makes it even worse. If you had your own company, would you like a contractor to be taking pictures inside your place of business, and posting them on their personal blog? What if you didn’t want the whole world you ordered a batch of G5 for whatever reasons. What if the buy a bunch of iPods to research for their competing iPod like product? Do you want a temp employee to be the person announcing that to the world?

    I hope this just serves as a lesson to apply better judment in the future. To be quite honest, I’m surprised your temp agency hasn’t let you go as well. What are they going to tell the next employer, this is the guy that got canned because he was posting pictures of his employers campus?

    Good luck finding a new job.

  12. Hey bill my very compliments: this sure IS an example of correctness and freedom of thoughts and speech!!
    Uh, George, seems like there’s another dictator ’round this planet… ;))))

    Remember man, Linux community’ll never fire you, so think ’bout it…

  13. Re: the post 6-up.
    “Pirates of Silicone Valley?” Is that a geeky pr0n flick?

    /. is cool. Good luck in the job market.

  14. I’m sorry you are jobless now, but most companies have a policy against taking pictures in their campus. Being that you were a “temp” employee, that makes it even worse. If you had your own company, would you like a contractor to be taking pictures inside your place of business, and posting them on their personal blog? What if you didn’t want the whole world you ordered a batch of G5 for whatever reasons. What if the buy a bunch of iPods to research for their competing iPod like product? Do you want a temp employee to be the person announcing that to the world?

    I hope this just serves as a lesson to apply better judment in the future. To be quite honest, I’m surprised your temp agency hasn’t let you go as well. What are they going to tell the next employer, this is the guy that got canned because he was posting pictures of his employers campus?

    Good luck finding a new job.

  15. Let’s see, you released info MS didn’t want public. Even if that wasn’t made clear to you,
    you’re a contractor, not a spokesperson for MS. I’d fire you too.

  16. Crazyness!!
    First off, great site, stumbled upon it via Slashdot. I can only imagine the traffic you are getting on this site now.
    Second, its totally tragic what Microsoft did. I do not agree with the people who’ve commented that.. “you were a temp” or whatnot, but I’m not going to debate and get all fiesty on them.
    Good luck with the job hunt. I know what an exhausting and overwhelming experience it can be, having just been there myself.
    And ya.. where is the Apple HR department..they need to read about this.
    Take care.

  17. Could I walk into the MS campus and see something like this, not being a MS employee? If so, then i don’t see why MS made such a big deal out of this. If not, then what are you doing posting a picture that may contain priveleged information to the internet? If I ever wanted to post a picture or otherwise give out information that I have access to because of where I work, I would definitely make sure to check with the company that it was okay to make it publically available.

  18. here from slashdot. Hilarious set of posters who don’t realize that the original post was a joke!

    Of course MS is buying G5 macs. They would be negligent not to be testing their competitors’ products. They have a huge farm of linux boxes too. And it’s not like it’s some giant secret: they bought a huge stash of G5s, presumably from apple.

    Now they got more critical coverage for this post than they ever possibly could have by taking a non-nuclear option. (hint to president bush…)

  19. I can just see the ad now..

    I used to work on the Microsoft campus. Then one day, I saw that they were buying a bunch of Macs. I thought “gee. That’s strange”. Well, one thing led to another and now — I not only own a Mac. I work for Apple.
    I couldn’t be happier!

  20. Sorry to hear about getting canned for something as innocuous as this. I can’t see how any reasonable argument can be made for this being either

    • A breach of confidentiality. It’s no secret that Microsoft develops software for othe Mac: they’re certainly not developing it in Wintel hardware.
    • A security breach. A large office park having loading docks is no secret.

    I don’t know what your contract status with Microsoft was, or you status with the contracting agency: whether salaried or per-contract. Obviously, if you were a regular W-2 employee of the contracting agency, they’re still paying you (or should be—as a contractee, all Microsoft can really do to you is terminate your contract and put you on their ‘do not hire’ list. You might check with your old manager and find out if that’s the case or not). However, assuming you’ve found yourself on the street sans paycheck…

    A good friend of mine, a network administrator, was recently let go for similarly ridiculous reasons—basically, one of the people he supported took a real dislike to him personally and made his boss fire him with no real cause.

    What he learned from this experience was this, and my advice to you:

    File for unemployment. Do it today. If you were discharged for cause (as it appears you were), you’re not automatically eligible for unemployment. However, you can contest your status. If the unemployment people decide that you were unjustly discharged, they can still award you your unemployment. So file for unemployment, call the unemployment people up and explain the situation and they’ll tell you how to go about filing an appeal. Here’s the url for the State of Washington’s Unemployment Insurance:, or you can contact them via phone at +01:206.766.6000, M-F, 7am–5pm local time.

    Assuming you’ll win the appeal—as I suspect you will…Microsoft will have a hard time arguing the lame case they have, assuming they do—you should receive unemployment retroactive to your filing date. It’s your benefit, you pay for it, and you deserve it.

    Good luck.

  21. “And ya.. where is the Apple HR department..they need to read about this.”

    Are you kidding? Apple is more tight-lipped than MS. They would never hire someone who has a history of disclosing corporate information.

    In this day and age, large corporations aren’t even allowing cell phone cameras on their campuses.

    Posting this information on the Web was a clear violation of the author’s NDA. He’s lucky all that happened was that he was fired.

    Let’s turn the tables: what if someone had posted about Apple receiving a bunch of Dell boxes? Think about the speculation that would prompt on the rumor sites.

    — Not to mention that the image would disclose information related to the company’s loading dock, what is in the building with the loading dock, and a glimpse at the procedures for receiving freight. MS is The Largest American Corporation right now. It’s a symbol of American capitalism and enterprise for many. There are a lot of meanies running around who would love to glean information related to getting freight trucks close to American symbols.

    Moral of the story: Always look at what you do relating to the company you work for from their eyes. Does it benefit them? Could it put them at risk in any way? If there’s any doubt, ask your manager if what you want to do is okay. If they say it is, and later on you find out it is not, guess what? They take the heat, not you.

    Bottom line: Don’t disclose any information unless the CEO or the PR department has already announced it and it’s publick knowledge.

    If you stick by these rules, you will sail smoothly among the clauses of your NDA.

  22. You’re kidding right? Comparing Apple/Dell to M$/Apple is ahem.. apples and oranges. There’s no real
    reason for Apple to be recieving Dells, but you are aware that M$ develops software for the Mac, right?

    M$ is a software company, Dell a hardware company. Apple is both. Get your facts straight.

    There’s no information about the loading dock in that picture. All I see is a truck and some concrete,
    it could be anywhere! No personell are pictured, and nothing with M$’ logo or anything on it.

    How is this a violation of any policy, NDA or not? NDAs are intended to keep you from releasing information
    about the company’s products, and G5s are clearly not an M$ product.

    Good luck in your search, you’re probably better off out of that snakes’ nest.

  23. I am outraged by the firing, but am even more appalled by the chorus of apologists for the firing here.

    Corporatism is clearly out of control. A minor and correctable gaffe by a well-meaning, conscientious worker and suddenly he’s fired. And worse, strangers chime in like apostles, “looking out for” the company’s already well-covered interests.

    How telling of these McCarthyist times that the firing is justified on grounds of ‘security’. Has America lost its mind in commerce…?

  24. Actually, you might consider talking to an attorney. If you’d been using company property and time / resources to post your blog, they would be completely able to do whatever they wanted. Or if you signed some complete, total, body and soul-binding privacy agreement. However, your photo was of an anonymous truck with unvisible signs of any kind as to the origins. Therefore, I’d think First Amendment rights would apply. I’m not sure what the labor laws are in your state, and whether it has a “Termination for no cause” or not, however, they extremism was a bit… out of line and reactionary. Worst-case, consider appealing the termination to someone higher than whomever term’d you. Especially given that your supervisor thought it was out of line, as well. :)

  25. Hang in there mate.
    Personally I can’t see anything wrong with the photo. I took photo’s at my work once (Target), and although they were a little hesitant, they gave me the OK provided there was nothing in the photo to nail down where it was (so no logo’s, and nothing to say which store it was in).
    Since your photo avoided any kind of branding or signage, and was of something clearly visable to the public, i think it’s ridiculous that the company would have issues of that. (maybe it was something to do with the back pallete being poorly stacked, and thus showing an occupational health + safety infringement?)

  26. This is awful…Microsoft is a terrible company to do this to you; I have a son who was unjustly fired from his job also, so this type of thing, unfortunately, is not uncommon. But that doesn’t make it any easier, does it? Good luck to you and God bless! You will find a much better job soon and then you can look back at them and laugh your head off! :)

  27. M$ = baaaaad
    They buy Macs because, as to the best of my knowledge, they are porting certain programs to the OS X platform. I wouldn’t have fired you for posting that picture, so M$ can go f*** themselves :P Now you know why so many people ‘sail the seven seas of piracy’! ;)

  28. Hi, sorry to hear abt this but i think what MS is doing is just bullshit.

    How do they make the MacOffice without even using Macs? How did they make Ie for mac(now stopped) w/o using Macs, its public knowledge that Microsoft uses Macs. I am sure they are using Linux too. So what? u just phtographed the mac boxes, nothing else.

    I think MS is being a nut here.

  29. Sorry to hear what happened. My thoughts are mixed on what happened – while on one hand it sucks, on the other I can understand why they did it.

    I can’t find your paypal logo either – I have mentioned it on my blog, in the hopes that some of my readers will jump over here and send through some $ (as I was, except I can’t find it, doh!)

    Good luck job hunting.


  30. Hey, hope you find a job soon ;) As lots of people have said Microsoft can go f*** themselves to hell.. Im not going to argue any points here because lots of people have already said what u was going to say.

    Wish you good luck :D


  31. I can’t be other than stunned and amazed at how this innocent could have evolved into
    something so unethical and brutal as firing you. I just can’t believe it. In my
    opinion we should all send out emails to show our displeasure at this horrible


  32. Jan-Erik: That’s how business works in America, at least for the employee. Much of America is “right-to-work”, which is a perverted, sadistic euphemism for “we’ll fire you for any reason we want to, or for no reason at all”. Most employees in America have few rights, if any, unless they’re in a union shop. We are “human resources” in the most insulting sense: we’re flesh and blood cogs for the machine. And right now, there are millions of unused cogs who would gladly replace us, should we be determined to be expendable.

  33. Good Luck. I’ve read valid Pro’s and Con’s on MS’ firing you. On the other hand, I’m more than just mildly curious how they found it, how long it took them to find it, and how much time and resources are used to track the activities of their employees and contractors. I mean, during work, yes. But are they also looking into your medicine cabinet, your junk drawer, or your credit information too…?

  34. I stubble upon this sad story but Im going to make sure that everyone that i know
    is going to hear about this. Does apple know anything about this? I will send them a pic.This is a unpayed
    advertisement for them to show the world that they have the best computers on this world
    world. I hope only the best for you, take care , i hope they make laws against using
    blogs against the owner/writer. blog suppossed to be untouchable even for the gov.
    its private. so freedom of speech or pict should be allowed without getting sued.
    Privacy is above everything else even above copyprotection. It
    s for your own use!
    sorry for my english, I can read but my writing is bad. So stay chizel menizel and
    everyting wil be all right!!

  35. Hey..I guess it’s too late for this, but the best thing you could have done is, while carrying out your things in your hands, trip over a chair or table or extension cord. They would have realized that firing you would be a much smaller loss than the lawsuit that would come from you falling and having to get stitches… ;)

  36. Not working at Microspuft, what’s so bad about that!?

    Not dealing with second rate everything, is not so bad.

    Good Luck, the world is cruel, MS rules the world, hmmmmm

  37. Microsoft can have wet dreams when they order G5’s cause they’ll never amount to Apples greatness.
    The end no discussion, i’m never checking back here again anyways.

  38. Good luck with the job hunt. I’m sure the fame will be a good thing. Who knows, maybe Steve Jobs will offer. LOL


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