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"Please don't sit in my chair"

"Please don't sit in my chair"

"Please don't sit in my chair"


My job is to take care of the computers, all of them. I now have one major pain use who gets upset every time I touch his computer. Yesterday, he had turned it off. I turned it back on after he had left to check to make sure that his backups were working.

This morning, I get an e-mail: "What were you doing on my computer?" Then, I got for the second time: "Please don't sit in my chair." Actually, I had not sat in his chair. I simply turned on his computer.

I'm not too worried because my supervisor once commented to me that he "complains about everything." At the same time, I don't need some pain-in-... user who complains every time I touch his computer. That's my job.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

RE: "Please don't sit in my chair"

>user who complains every time I touch his computer. That's my job

You could politely point out that it isn't his computer.  It actually is an asset of the company that employs you both.  It is within you job role to require access to the computer hardware that has been assigned to him.

As for the chair - apply the same logic (assuming that you aren't wearing filthy overalls or similar)

Take Care

I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone.
My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.

RE: "Please don't sit in my chair"

Do you tell him ahead of time that you're going to be doing something on his computer?

I've come across similar people. These users tend to be controllers or OCD. If you or your boss sends an email ahead of time explaining the reason for the visit it can take the edge off. This allows the user to "set his mind right" about you touching the machine. Set the machine, chair, and desk ask close as possible to the condition it was before you made your visit. OCD personalities have an uncanny ability to know that you moved the mouse an inch to the left.

Another thing to do is to push as many software updates and patches as possible to cut down on the visits. Sometimes you just have to something in person, though.  

RE: "Please don't sit in my chair"

Honestly, I would just ignore it if I were you.  One irritating user isn't worth making an issue.

RE: "Please don't sit in my chair"

He may be getting bent out of shape because it's happening and he's not being informed.  I'd send an email (either before or after) to the user, with just a quick line that "On (date), I checked/updated your PC in order to comply/check on (whatever)."

"Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.
Then, when you criticize them, you are a mile away ...
and you have their shoes."

RE: "Please don't sit in my chair"

You could legitimately ignore him - he's clearly a pain!  

But, personally, I'd go the friendly route - visit him, explain why you were on his PC and what you did - it's part of your job to check everything is working OK.  Ask him to contact you if he's got any problems with his PC. And let him know you may have to make further visits.

With luck, this'll make him appreciate you, and stop the complaints.

"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." Richard Feynman

RE: "Please don't sit in my chair"

I would (and have frequently) take Matt's stance.  It's not their computer, it's not their desk and it's not their chair.

"We can categorically state that we have not released man-eating badgers into the area" - Major Mike Shearer

RE: "Please don't sit in my chair"

I have a few thoughts on this, from benign to worst-case.

1) They're OCD (but you can usually tell this if they've labeled their paperclip and thumbtack drawers.... true story)
2) They're germ-freaks
3) They're unaware of why you are working on their computer.
4) They're concerned (un-necessarily) that you will find something in/on their desk/computer
5) They're concerned (with good cause) that you will find something in/on their desk/computer

Honesty is always the best approach, however.  Humans can be territorial, and even though they know (in the back of their minds) that it's not THEIR computer and THEIR chair, they still feel threatened by having their private area invaded.

Sometimes the best approach is to talk to them (using "I" language if necessary and a smile) and point out that you're not there to snoop on them, but for the safety of the entire network / company assets / bla bla you needed to make sure that backups are running correctly.  Remind them that they would lose THEIR data in the event of a failure if their machine wasn't backed up.

Reminding a person that it's not "Their" stuff or "Their" cubicle is never a good route.  They know that; and reminding them of that weakens their comfort level with their job.

If it *does* escalate to a supervisor or whatever, please PLEASE remember that the goal of any kind of "corrective action" or "redirection" should be a better employee; and not to "put someone in their place".

Just my 2¢

"What the captain doesn't realize is that we've secretly replaced his Dilithium Crystals with new Folger's Crystals."

--Greg  http://parallel.tzo.com

RE: "Please don't sit in my chair"

i agree with gbaughma.

i have found that more often then not, its that the user is parinoid.  
Ive had several that were insecure about their job anyhow, then you put an IT person on their PC after they are gone and they tend to spaz.

word to the wise though, be sure you always document what your doing regardless of how mundane it is.  its a good practice and cya.  yeah in the event of a complaint or other issue, its your word agains theirs but now you have proof that you always record what work was being done.

happy 4th everyone.

RE: "Please don't sit in my chair"

One thing I forgot to mention that I started with this company in March 2008. This don't-sit-in-my-chair garbage only started recently. What his reasoning is, I have no idea.

On the second incident, I could have turned off the PC. He never would have known I was there.

RE: "Please don't sit in my chair"


if you don't go the official route you will set a dangerous precedent for the individual concerned, and do them a disservice.

First of all, by pointing out via email (never do it verbally, as there is no record) that you were carrying out your appointed duties, you make it plain to the individual that you will not tolerate any of their nonsense for any reason.  someone being a controller or OCD does not excuse rude and or inappropriate behaviour.  If they have gotten away with this in the past, the sooner they are pulled up short - the better.  If you do nothing, they will assume that they can continue with this irritating behaviour, and it may escalate to something more.  Nip this in the bud.  OCD types benefit from knowing hard rules and boundaries, because, after all, it's the way their minds work.  If the rule is made plain "The computer techies can come and do maintenance when the have to" then they will be happier with this than without.  Just as children benefit from clear cut rules and boundaries, OCD's do too.

Second, by sticking to the facts, you eliminate the personal part of the issue.  Such folk need to be reminded of their complete and total insignificance in the universe, as do we all.  You are there to do your job in a professional, efficient and objective manner, nothing more or less.

Normally I'd agree with Rosie, and go the friendly route - I always give folks the benefit of the doubt.  However, if this is the only individual to give you such trouble, what does it indicate about that person?

Finally, I suggest that you respond (via email - for the record) that you were carrying out your duties.  Suggest that if they have a problem with you doing your job that they raise it with their boss.  That will usually make even the most anally retentive buffoon on the planet take notice.

Unfortunately I speak from experience.  My failing to give such a bully a right good kicking (metaphorically speaking of course) has led to no end of subsequent difficulty.

Please don't repeat my mistake and allow this to go unchallenged.




RE: "Please don't sit in my chair"

This only started recently. Maybe the individual has some personal issues and this is how it manifests at work. I would document the incident and see if it happens again. This could be temporary.

RE: "Please don't sit in my chair"

I'd also try first the friendly route, explain what yoy're doing and empatize by telling him it's your job, your boss want you to do it ...

If it doesn't work, and here begin a very very particular opinion, I'd go the rude way: PC scanning and desktop backgroung image change to make him understand it's not his property


RE: "Please don't sit in my chair"

Although you could turn this question on its head and ask why is the user so concerned about his PC being updated/checked by an IT person.  Has he got something to hide or been doing something he shouldn't !!   

RE: "Please don't sit in my chair"

I would have to agree with with mattKnight, that the computer and most likely his chair (some people buy their own for work) belong to the company. It is not his stuff and cannot tell you if you can/cannot be on it.

I would also recommend, along with many other people, to send him an email ahead of time to inform him of what you need to do, but BCC your manager. If this started happening recently, then something has changed with his work (or non-work) related tasks at work. He may be worried you will find something. But by BCC'ing your manager, you cover your rear at the same time. If this behavior is new, what is to stop him from changing again and complaining right to your boss?

RE: "Please don't sit in my chair"

gbaughma and rosie speak words of wisdom!

You might be within your rights to escalate things, to start PC scanning, to send defensive e-mails pointing out the chair isn't his, but what's going to happen?

This person is going to get upset and defensive. They're going to start making trouble. They'll promptly complain that they're missing deadlines because your interference with the PC is making it too slow and stopping them from doing their work. They'll probably make vague complaints about your attitude, which will be impossible to confirm or refute. Their supervisor will complain to your supervisor. It'll be down to who gets the biggest name on their side first, and everything will get nasty and unproductive. It won't really matter who's right, and no one will emerge any happier at the end.

I feel very strongly that those of us who are "big" enough to walk away from conflict frequently have an ethical duty to do so. Too many fights about trivial things happen because no one will just forget it.

You've done the right thing: let off steam at a sensible message board, and in future e-mail in advance stating what you intend to do, why it's necessary/helpful, and asking if there are any issues that you need to take into consideration. This way is friendly, professional, and documented if it does eventually come to a fight.

RE: "Please don't sit in my chair"

What has always worked for me is giving the person a heads-up... e-mail works well for this:

From: Me
To: ThatsMyChair

Hi there.  I need to get to your computer sometime soon to update your antivirus (or whatever) and was wondering when would be the most convenient time.  Let me know!  I need to do this within the next couple of days.....

Your friendly, customer-focused IT guy.



Just my 2¢

"What the captain doesn't realize is that we've secretly replaced his Dilithium Crystals with new Folger's Crystals."

--Greg  http://parallel.tzo.com

RE: "Please don't sit in my chair"

Never show weakness

From: Me
To: ItsNotYourChair
CC: MyBoss, HisBoss, ITBoss, SecurityBoss, CEO

There will be a daily maintenance process on your computer, as stated by company policies and federal laws.

Any resistance is futile. Transgressors will be shooted. Survivors will be shooted again.

Kind regards,
The one who makes sure your PC works


RE: "Please don't sit in my chair"


thanks for the chortle - it brightened up an otherwise dreary Wednesday Morning.



RE: "Please don't sit in my chair"



"If to err is human, then I must be some kind of human!" -Me

RE: "Please don't sit in my chair"

I don't work in the IT department at my full time job, but I can tell you what we have in place as far as what I see at least.

1. Policies which are determined by the top management - IT, Executive...
2. Logon notice which reminds every user that the computer, etc, is company property and for company use only.  You cannot logon to any computer without "agreeing" that you understand this.
3. Annual review of company policies such as data safeguarding.
4. One such policy is to always leave your machine turned on (with info stating why: so IT can push updates when/if needed).

If this person has acted this way more than once, I'd suggest that regardless of the reason, that person needs to be dealt with.  In our day, people are going off the deep-end for seemingly sillier and sillier things.  If nothing else, you may very well need to notify your manager, that person's manager and/or someone in HR.  Whatever you do, don't get into a I said/he said type situation.  If you contact the person back, it'd probably be best via a polite email, which you cc or even bcc your manager at the least.

You can nip this in the bud while still being nice and polite.  If you just ignore it, and it's happened already before, well, things may very well get worse.  And what's bad is that the worse part may not involve you.  If he got to "run over" one person, the worse might come when he does the same with someone else... perhaps a nearby coworker.

If nothing else, do be particularly mindful of that user, and keep a close eye out for any even seemingly disturbing looks, acts, etc.  Don't act suspicious or anything silly, but just be mindful that this person has already exhibited SOME signs of aggression, even if it was just via an email.


"If to err is human, then I must be some kind of human!" -Me

RE: "Please don't sit in my chair"

Quote (kjv1611):

4. One such policy is to always leave your machine turned on (with info stating why: so IT can push updates when/if needed).

Very environmentally friendly!!


RE: "Please don't sit in my chair"

You can use the wake on lan utility to power up PCs remotely, no need for wasting energy  


RE: "Please don't sit in my chair"

Good point, Diancecht.  I don't personally agree with such a policy of leaving hundreds of computers running around the clock, being the WOL function has been around for ages anyhow.

Just curious on that point, though.  Is it possible to run the necessary WOL commands from a remote PC as part of a script that would also run the system updates?  I would venture to say yes, but I've no clue, myself, as I've never messed with it.


"If to err is human, then I must be some kind of human!" -Me

RE: "Please don't sit in my chair"

Not sure, but once started you can run a remote session or configure some kind of local service to do that


RE: "Please don't sit in my chair"


It's all very simple really - if you isolate personal emotion from company policy.

My view is much in line with KVC, except mine is much more clinical:

Forward such emails on to your manager stating:

"I have 37 hours per week to perform preset tasks in my job-role. My job / task spec is quite efficient in that it DOES take approximately 37 hours.
If I am to respond to employee emails and enter into dialog with them - I will become inefficient in my job-role (responding could take 37 hours per week).
Can you please respond to this (and any other future emails) via whatever means you see fit".
I would suggest that a policy be put in place whereby employee comments, complaints be forwarded to a central IT email - managed by whomever".

Done, dusted.

winky smile



RE: "Please don't sit in my chair"

I guess the only time I get annoyed when someone messes with my computer is when they shut it off and I can't remote in, they are running performance software on it interfering with what I am doing. Just stuff like that. Otherwise I don't care.

It is annoying when someone takes your chair and you come in and it is way down on the floor or up so high your feet are dangling.

What is more annoying when you come back to your desk from the toilet and someone is sitting in your chair and they won't get up so you can sit back down at your desk.

So this person is going overboard when you are just doing updates. I would just consider the source and ignore their whinging.

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