Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Confession: I'm an X-rated surfer

Or so my new company may think. I’m learning quite quickly just how restricting corporate Internet policy can be. When I had down time at my last job (which happened quite frequently), I could surf the Internet as I pleased. Facebook, Gchat, Hulu, Perez, YouTube—the world wide web was mine for the taking.

When I moved on to the corporate world a few weeks ago, I knew that my carefree Internet surfing days were over. I promised myself I wouldn’t be as obsessed with the Internet as I was in my last job. And if I did feel the need to look something up that wasn’t job-related, I’d keep it very work-friendly. As in, only CNN and Weather Channel. A girl has to keep herself informed, right?

Well, unfortunately, because I started over the holidays, when projects and people were scarce, I found myself with a lot of extra time on my hands. I tried to restrain myself, but pretty soon my fingers were itching to type in my old favorite web addresses.

I started by looking up things I wanted for Christmas. My fingers flew furiously over the keyboard as I typed in the familiar store name. I couldn’t wait to feed in to my online addiction of looking random stuff up. After a quick second of loading, I was met with a blindingly bright white page. It practically screamed, in blazing RED letters, “Site restricted due to SEX.” Under that, in fine print, it plainly stated, “Attempt to access site has been logged.”

Crud. First week on the job and they already caught me trying to look at porn. Because you know me (oh wait, no you don’t), that’s totally my thing. Only, it’s not. At all. I was absolutely mortified. My new employers probably thought I was a pervert! And the offending site was Anthropologie.com. Who knew?!

Not long after, I decided to peruse the entire CNN website. (Yes, I had time on my hands.) I clicked on the Technology tab and immediately got the RESTRICTED website again, blaring at me in amazing technicolor. The reason? Games. On CNN. Really?

So in light of my recent restriction revelations, I now present to you my safe-for-work (thus far) Internet favorites:

CNN (except Technology)—My go-to site. But don’t be fooled. My most clicked-on tab is Entertainment. Oh and Travel, too. I like to plan my escape.

Entertainment Weekly—Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure Perez Hilton’s hand-crafted photo drawings and captions won’t cut it in the corporate world. That’s why I turn to EW.com for my entertainment fix. It’s a great place for watered-down celeb gossip and great TV/movie buzz.

Weather Channel—I’m kind of a weather nut, so I love to check out the forecast in my new city, old city, hometown, places I’ve visited, placed I’d like to visit, places I’ll never visit, etc. Checking the weather in Bora, Bora is kind of fun. Emphasis on kind of. Caution: This practice can cause daydreaming…and climate jealousy.

Real Simple—A superb site for finding simple recipes, amazing advice and helpful hints, tips and tricks for everyday life. I learn something new every time I log on.

Now it's your turn. Do you have any safe-for-work favorites? If so, I’d love to hear them. The more the merrier!


Tia said...

I love real simple!! Lucky for me, I still have the kind of job where I can play online as much as I want. I spend about 80% of my day online looking at random stuff, so I feel your pain, I don't know what I would do if I got restricted!!

sealz said...

Does it allow access to google reader? If you have blogs you like to read, they could all feed in through the RSS you could only check it during "down" time.

Alissa said...

I once visited a University page to look up Continuing Ed classes and got a weird error message - IT called me no faster than 10 minutes later thinking someone was trying to hack into the network.

Oh...and never visit dicks.com or whitehouse.com. They aren't work appropriate. We've all made that mistake when we were trying to get to dickssportinggoods.com and whitehouse.gov.

Chandra said...

When I worked in a medical clinic, we were (at first) allowed to use the internet as long as it didn't interfere with our work. Apparently, some people abused it and they went and blocked certain cites according to your position at work. It went as follows: Nursing Staff- ALL sites blocked, expect the local weather. That's all we got. Doctors and management however, didn't have anything blocked. Now, this isn't becuase it was the nursing staff who was abusing it, but actually everyone was supposed to be totally blocked, but the doctors complained they NEEDED the intenet to look up medical things. OK, that's what medical school was for...And trust me, I walked into many a doctor's office and found youtube or myspace pulled up on the screen...

Anonymous said...

i understand this completely. at my previous job a frequent complaint of my supervisor was that we were too efficient. (not too bad of a complain if you ask me), but because of this, we got our work done quite quickly and had a lot of down town. we would surf the net, facebook, twitter, bored.com; really anything we wanted.

i am starting a new position this week and i will have to remind myself that it's a new position and i do not have the same supervisor, so i don't browse the web continuously. though it's going t be hard. sometimes i just need a 2 minute break to check facebook then get right back to work!

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blaqbird said...

i'm a fan of delish.com. there are some excellent recipes i found while at work. :-)

Let's see...

nytimes.com--mainly the Style, Art, and Travel sections

usatoday.com--definitely gotta keep up with Pop Candy (awesome blog)

msn.com--news, Wonderwall, and the Single in the Suburbs blog

racialicious--if you like discussing all things race-related

Anonymous said...

Lucky for me, I work for myself, so I can check out anything I want. Both good and bad, because sometimes I can get lost in the wonders of the World Wide Web and forget about deadlines. OOPS. Still these are good idea. I love the Real Simple magazine. I will have to check out their site.

иικκι јо♥ said...

When I worked in the corporate world (kinda... it was more like a summer internship) I would get LOST in wikipedia. It sounds kinda weird but you find all types of things to look up and read about. My internet was not restricted however it was monitored and I'd rather have them see me on wiki reading about the continuity errors on Boy Meets World then seeing me stalk on facebook.

~Mary said...

I had this great job awhile back where I was able to look at ANYTHING I wanted on the internet, as long as my work was done. When we were having our office refurbished I was moved into another building(another business), and shared an office with my bosses friends. They weren't allowed to use You Tube, Facebook, Blogger, Perez, everything I was use to! I complained about it to IT and said I wasn't a part of this company and should have access on my computer as I'm not with this office. They said NO Way. I couldn't get out of that office fast enough!

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Amy said...

This happens to me all the time and it's so embarrassing when the ACCESS DENIED shows up blazing blue and red on my monitor, making me look like the world's biggest pervert. I work in advertising/marketing so on quite a few occasions I've had to get our IT department to unblock sites for me--working in social media means you have to have access to things like Facebook, Myspace, Flickr, and various questionable blogs. I still haven't been able to come up with a good excuse to get thesuperficial.com and wwtdd.com unblocked though :(

Anonymous said...

There are no restrictions in my office. I figured this out once when I miss-spelled facebook and got a page pull of porn.

I know that technically they can monitor my internet use, but considering I catch my boss on google reader and facebook all the time, I'm not too worried. As long as it's not interfering with my work, I doubt there will be a problem.

kk said...

luckily, I don't have any blocked websites...if I'm on Facebook it can actually be considered "research".

but having no restrictions can be bad, too. once I googled "Barenaked Ladies" (you know, the BAND) and you wouldn't believe the websites that popped up!

Clover said...

I spend my 8 hour day inbetween dozens... dozens of websites!

I don't know how I would get through my day without being able to get on the internet! Shop, blog, news, the works. The only thing we aren't allowed to do is steam video which is hard but I'm used to it now.

Google reader is a life saver for te blogging world- check it out!

Girl About Business said...

I don't have that problem at work, and we also have privacy screens. So if you aren't standing directly behind my back, you can't see what I'm doing.

What does annoy me though is the Active X Control errors that I receive all the time. Oh, and those stupid 'administrator only' options, like downloading a more efficient web browser.

Marcia said...

By only reading the comments I got some ideas! Thanks all. At work I haven't seen any restrictions of what websites not to visit.

I usually check my hotmail, my webmail and if there's time also newbeetle.org, my favourite website!

Lauren Tracey said...

I once was doing research for the Ironman races. Upon Googling it and clicking on a website, I was brought to a porn site. Yup, Iron Man. Thing is barely any websites were blocked, but I knew they kept track. So I had the embarassing coversation with my boss that I was not trying to look at porn in my cube. LOL.

Elle said...

Ah, the perils of restricted internet in the corporate world. At my past job, I too had the leisure to surf the internet as I pleased. At my current one, not so much. Granted I can still access my email, TheFrisky.com and Wall Street Journal online (my go-to sites), GChat is completely blocked from email (which is such a tease, let me tell you) and I find myself blocked off sites ALL of the time. For example, I can access my Google Reader, but forget about actually getting to people's pages for comments. That's a no-no...social network is not allowed in this institution. Blahhh!!

tee said...

At my first real job the web was completely unrestricted; in fact surfing the web was kind of how we all got by! But when I had to leave due to scheduling conflicts with school, I landed in the land of temping and found out for the first time just how crafty I could be.

My suggestions? I found that if you Googled the site that you wanted to go to, a check mark or an "x" appeared next to it in the results. A check mark meaning it was safe for work, an "x" meaning it wasn't. Also, I can spend ages on omg.yahoo.com which is full of fab red carpet photos.

<3 always,

Rachael said...

my job does the same thing!

yahoo games was open for a few days and i found a game that i was addicted to. Then, like that, *poof*, it was blocked again.

Corporate Chickee said...

While we don't have any restrictions at work - I avoid sites like Facebook, but I don't mind browsing Jcrew.com... I'm looking for clothes to wear to work, of course!

I had a similar experience recently - I saw a billboard for a new construction subdivision, of rather expensive homes. Being a floor-plan/model home junkie that I am, I memorized the website so I could look it up later when I had a few minutes of downtime. As soon as I entered the web address and clicked return - the screen turned black, the web address changed to "voodoo smoke" and a skull and crossbones appeared on the screen! I exited out faster than ever, but that scared the crap out of me!

I was petrified that our whole work system would get this terrible virus or something, because I wanted to look at floor plans of homes I could never afford!! Luckily we're fine... an IT associate said nothing happened, whew!

Bdubs said...

Sorry to laugh at your misfortune but that's pretty funny! CNN is porn!!! Didn't you know that? ;-) I will freak if my work ever restricts surfing. I sit around all day waiting for people to call my help line for IT problems, so it would make for a very lonnnng day if I couldn't surf.

Maddy said...

I can totally relate. But don't feel too bad about the "SEX" restriction. I get those all the time while surfing innocently, and so far no one has reprimanded me for inappropriate internet use :o) You know what I also learned was a pretty neat way around some of this stuff?? Clicking on "cache" during a google search. If the page is blocked, you can mostly likely see what it looked like the last time it was saved with the cache feature.

BTW, JustJared.com is pretty good for celebrity pictures and news - it's definitely more work friendly than Perez or Dlisted.

Nishant said...

they could all feed in through the RSS you could only check it during "down" time.

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