I have to tip my hat to genius when I read about it, even if that genius is not of the highest moral fiber. This is one such case.

A software company recently discovered that a home based programmer they employed at a six figure salary had hired someone in China to do his job for a fraction of the cost, and then spent his workdays watching cat videos online.

It seems the employer became concerned when they discovered multiple accesses to their VPN (Virtual Private Network) from China. They thought they may be dealing with a stealth hacker or some type of corporate espionage. They employed Verizon, their Internet provider, to help track down the source and target of these intrusions, and soon centered on the employee in question, a man identified only as “Bob”. It seems “Bob” had provided his network credentials via FedEx to his “contractor” in order for them to log in remotely, make it appear that “Bob” was working and ensure his work was completed timely.

Looking further into the matter, Verizon apparently identified what “Bob” was doing in his office all day.

Watching cat videos on YouTube. For those of you who are perplexed, confused or bamboozled by this, allow me to explain. Cat videos are videos of cats.

I hope that was helpful.

I must admit, I thought this was a deviantly brilliant idea. The employer was presumably happy, apparently getting the quality of work they had bargained for. The employee was gainfully employed, earning a good salary and supporting his family. A programmer in China was also working at a salary presumably acceptable in his local economy. The only flaw in the plan was the cat videos. I like cats as much as the next guy, but frankly after a while I think I would rather work than endure 8 hours a day of that.

Of course, apparently the folks at Verizon also found evidence that “Bob” had been doing this with multiple employers. He must have been making a small fortune, holding down multiple jobs while not performing a single one.  I’m not sure, but I think “Bob” has a future in politics. The really amazing thing about this story is that the people at Verizon could find so much information. They can’t even find an open support ticket when I call them.

Ultimately however, it turns out no one likes feeling like they are being ripped off. The employer certainly wasn’t happy. They have fired “Bob”. Presumably the Chinese one was shown the virtual door as well.

I suppose that many employers in this technology age should be concerned about this type of behavior. If you are, I have a suggestion that will assure you do not have to deal with this problem. Do what I do. Pay them at a scale that means they can’t afford to hire anyone from China. In fact, I should be concerned that my people have been hired by the Chinese, and are spending the day working for them. Maybe they are working for “Bob”.

I should call Comcast and see what they can find. After all, I often can’t even get a human on the phone when I call Verizon.

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