It is impractical to be both an employee and a customer

Well, now I've gone and done it. At the beginning of what is being called the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930's I have put my job in jeopardy.

My employer sells a product. I purchased said product used, and out of warranty. The company also has a policy regarding a product being dangerous, outside of it's warranty. My purchase developed a problem that fit within the policies of the organization. If I was not employed at the company, I would not know of this policy or how it is managed.

Yes, you guessed it, I called into the support line. I got the very team I support. But that was to be expected, because I was calling in when I was awake, the middle of my 'day'. I work 3rd shift, so calling in the early hours of the morning I was put in touch with my own team.

Surprisingly enough, upon reflection, that was not my most grievous mistake.

The greater mistake was in thinking I could be both a customer and an employee. This is not practical, because I know how things work on the inside. I know what the policies are.

The impractical component is that my interests are not in line with the interests of my employer, when I am calling in, as a customer. The customer wants the get the most value out of whatever they have purchased. The company (also the employer) wants to make the most profit it can off of a sale.

It is because of this conflict of interest, I should not have called in for support. If a member of my team had processed the issue per policy, it probably would have been seen as undue or inappropriate pressure, therefore that would put me in the light of being unethical. Any member of a team would naturally feel some level of pressure (as is human nature) to want to do the most they can to help their colleague. This could put the co-worker into a position of apparent complicity, though innocent.

On tomorrow's shift, I will learn my fate for this stupid error in judgement. This is in no way the fault of my employer or of my colleagues, but mine and mine alone. Because of my own greed and wants I have jeopardized one of the best jobs I have ever had. This could have gotten much worse, and jeopardized not only the employ of my team mate and colleague, but also of our managers.

As I see it, there are three options. The lowest being an informal 'write-up', or a basic slap on the wrist and being on 'high alert' for other stupidity. Next would be a serious level write-up, involving HR. This one is considerably more serious. It is much like being out of jail on probation. If you screw up while on probation, you go back to jail. If I am formally written up with HR, then I can not afford to make even the most human of mistakes. Not that HR is that severe, but because one should not tempt fate. And lastly is termination. I certainly hope to not be terminated, but that is an option I must recognize as being possible.

No matter the decision of the managers involved, I will respect it, and quietly accept it as righteous.

Everything in life has the opportunity of being a learning experience. I will certainly be chalking this one up as such an experience.

P. Blacksmith

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