Mindstorm is on the whole the second most security-conscious company I’ve ever worked for. At least here we don’t have to use the personal codes to take restroom breaks. Or personal codes for much of anything, in fact.
Instead of punching in codes, we have the increasingly popular security cards. They did the same thing when I was working at Soyokaze. Unfortunately, the security cards double as ID badges so I can’t put it in my wallet where it’s secure. They did the same thing at Soyokaze (switching from plain white to ID), but at Soyokaze I had a much clearer idea of what policies to ignore.
I need the card to get in both the building and the Vault of Secrecy, which means that going without a card is a real pain the rear. I have to knock to get into the vault and getting in the building requires going through the receptionist. After 5 or 6, though, there really isn’t any way to get into either.
Because I have to keep the security card visible, it means that I have to keep it in a holder of some sort. My employment agency provided me with one, but it’s imperfect as far as holding the card. I stopped it a couple times from falling out, but the other day it fell out and I lost it. That’s when a lot of these policies became relevant.
When you don’t have a card, they give you this little sticky paper badge similar to the “Hello, I’m” stickies you get when you go to a conference or something else the like. It’s similar to what you get when you first start before you get your badge in the first place, except that it includes your picture, printed out on the marginal-quality picture that you use.
When the badge includes your picture, people that see it know that you’re not new and that you forgot or misplaced your official badge, so the print-out sticky badge is known as the Badge of Shame.
When I came in the morning after having lost my official badge, it so happened that my boss had forgotten his badge that day, too, which alleviated the embarassment a little bit. When I walked up, I saw that he’d placed his sticky badge on the handrail of the stairs. “How does he get away with that, I wonder?”
When it comes to security policy, some places follow these policies closely and some don’t. Mindstorm follows it more closely than most. Even people that knew me and knew that I was regularly going in and out of the building forced me to swipe my badge rather than just let me in in the off-chance I’d been fired since he seen me last. Or maybe because these things are heavily tracked (though I’ve received no other indication of that).
Yet my boss is confident enough in the willingness of people to let him in that he just tosses it aside once he gets in. I, meanwhile, have to show my badge to each and every person to get in and even when I do from a side entrance I am told that I should go around and have the receptionist let me in. Maybe I have an untrustworthy face.
When I got home that night I looked for the real badge where I thought it would be and it wasn’t there, which means that it fell off in some random place and I would have to get a new one. No telling how long that would take. I was far from enthusiastic. Further complicating things, on the second day the software on the sticky-badge printer wasn’t working right, so my new badge looked extemely inauthentic. I applied for a new badge first thing and crossed my fingers that they would get to it sooner rather than later.
While I was begging people to let me in and swearing up and down my inauthentic sticky was not a forgery (to people that had seen me walking in and out of the building for a couple of months now), the badge people were hard at work getting all of the authorizations so that I could get a new one. They sent an automatic mail to my boss making a request for me to have access to my building and the Vault of Secrecy that I work in. My boss sent them a very sharp email saying “Of course Will has access to this building and this lab. Why wouldn’t he have access?! He only comes here EVERY DAY! Give him access and make sure that this NEVER, EVER HAPPENS AGAIN!!”
I felt a little embarrassed when he later asked me about it and I told him that it was my goof-up. He didn’t flinch, though. “Some people need to get yelled out. Even if this wasn’t there fault, something they did surely warranted it!”
They actually had my new badge by lunch that very day. I wonder if my boss’s terse email might have motivated them to move more quickly. My coworkers say that they’ve never seen a faster turnaround on something like that.
When I had originally lost my badge, I looked in the corner of the bedroom where I rest my pants when I go to bed at night, I looked in the parking lot of the convenience store I stopped at on my way to work, and I looked in my car on the side of the driver’s seat where it would have fallen off while driving. I didn’t look, however, on the floor of the passenger’s seat where it somehow ended up and where I found it the night after I’d already gotten my new one.
So I guess now I have a keepsake to forever remind me of my day-and-a-half of wearing the Badge of Shame.