22 Jan 2013
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Watch cat videos all day. Earn megabucks & outsource. A cautionary tale to employers?

By Alistair Ross

This really is like one of those stories that we would dream up after a few too many sweet sherries, but what you are about to hear is all true. A 'software developer' for an unnamed US firm was found out recently having spent years on a six-figure sum salary surfing the web. He was characterised as a fairly typical software developer in his mid-forties. The sort of person that easily flies under the radar in a large corporation.

The unnamed corporation enlisted the services of their ISP, Verizon to find out the cause of a rogue VPN connection from China, where it is believed the company had no offices. The connection was using all of the correct RSA tokens (yes, those physical RSA tokens that change number every few minutes). The connection had been active for at least six months and literally seemed to be consoled into the terminal of said software developer. It took some forensic digging through the web browsing history of the employee, as well as what the mystery Chinese VPN connection to get to the bottom of the story, but when all unravelled, it would appear that our 'Developer' would start his day the same way, and end it every day with a sign-off email saying he had completed his work. He was awarded for being the best developer in the office: always delivering his code on-time and with clean results. Little did his employer know that his day really consisted of surfing Reddit, including a particular penchant for guffawing over cat videos, as well as catching up on Ebay for over an hour, not to mention Facebook and Linked in for over 2 and a half hours, before going home at 5pm.

What the employer didn't know until they got to the bottom of the VPN matter, was that said employee was in fact paying (effectively an outsource agreement) a developer in China one fifth of his six-figure salary to do all of his work (roughly $50,000 USD). Apparently, it didn't stop there either: he had other 'small jobs' on the side, which haven't been detailed yet, however, it's believed that he did exactly the same thing there: outsourcing them to china and reaping a financial gain.

Some people have hailed the guy as a genius, or at least a triumph of delegation and outsourcing. Chatting about this casually to a colleague today I was told, "If this guy was the CEO, he would be awarded for efficiency, but he ended up getting fired for providing above par work". I guess it really depends on which side of the goldfish bowl you look into, huh?

Love to hear your comments on this one, especially on our snazzy new Facebook comments box below which is fully integrated into the site. Was this guy a hero or a villain?

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