"Work is not the place for games"

Reuters: New York mayor fires man for playing computer game

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has fired a city employee after seeing the man play solitaire on his computer at work.

“The workplace is not an appropriate place for games,” Bloomberg told reporters on Thursday when asked about firing a clerical worker in the city’s lobbying office in Albany. “I expect all city workers, including myself, to work hard.”

The man was fired last Tuesday after six years on the job with no warning or severance pay.

And that is why it sucks to have a day job!

Seriously. Did Bloomberg see this guy playing Solitaire for hours? Maybe the guy was taking one of his fifteen minute breaks, and, rather than leave his desk, was keeping himself available in case something came up! (Does New York not have fifteen minute breaks?) Maybe, like any normal person, he just needed a few minutes to rest his brain.

This sort of thing freaks me out. I would hope that Bloomberg investigated the man’s work history and productivity before making such a decision, but the article reads as if it was a snap judgment.

Update: it was a snap decision. From the AP:

Greenwood, who earned $27,000 a year and had worked in the office for six years, said in a telephone interview that he limited his play time to his one-hour lunch or during quick breaks when he needed a moment of distraction.

“It wasn’t like I spent hours and hours a day playing, because I had plenty to do,” Greenwood said. “If I had been working at something exhaustively for two hours, I might get a cup of coffee and play for a minute but then go right back to my work.”

The mayor’s office said its records show that in 2004 Greenwood reviewed the policy that prohibits “inappropriate” use of city computers.

Greenwood said he doesn’t recall doing so but probably did. He suggested that other workers in the office play solitaire and similarly stretch the rules.

“It’s not like I’m the only one that ever did this,” said the 39-year-old father of a toddler.

Greenwood said he wasn’t angry with the mayor but wished he had been warned or reprimanded for what he called a first offense.

“I admire the guy – he’s a great financial success, and he has a definite management style,” Greenwood said. “I just think he could have seen my situation and weighed the harshness of his final decision.”