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Don’t Let Your Badge Expire

July 30, 2018

The front door to my office building was locked. I was a little surprised, but hey, it’s early. I fished out my access badge from my bag. I had to swap out the badge on my lanyard. I’d been using the one for Vicksberg the past week. I drew out the Salt Lake City badge from the five I have assigned to me.

As a security measure, our buildings don’t share an access badge reader. I had one badge for each call center and another one for our executive office building in Salt Lake City.

Finally finding the right badge I swiped it across the reader. I heard the beep but the red light failed to turn green. I double-checked the location I’d written on the back of my card key. Yep, it said Salt Lake City. I swiped it again. The light still stubbornly refused to turn green and let me in the building.

I shouldered my bag and made my way around to the employee entrance where our security guard and his access to the building card key system.

As I did, I reflected on the danger of letting your card key access lapse.

Even though I have card keys for our various locations, prior to each visit our security team enables my badge for the period of time I’ll be onsite. After I leave, they shut off my access again. It’s not that my company doesn’t trust me. It’s simply that security is very high on our priority list. If I happened to leave my card key in my hotel room, and if someone happened to know where my company building was, they could possibly use it to gain access to the building and grounds when they shouldn’t. We shut them off when not in use.

So, why was my SLC badge not working? You might think it’s because I was going to be out of town for a week. But, that’s not it. Security doesn’t shut off access to my office on a scheduled basis. But, they do monitor how often a card key is used.

The fact that my card key was not working meant it had been more than 30 days since it was last used. One week my son was ill and I worked from home. I also took a week of vacation. And then I was gone to Vicksberg for a week. That means there was at least one additional week at the beginning of the month, the week of the 4th of July. I haven’t been in the office for a month.

Does that mean I haven’t been doing my job? Nope. Most of the people I work with don’t live in SLC. I’ve had meetings, monitored outages, sent and received emails for all the weeks except the week of PTO.

So, what’s the harm? I was working, right? Who cares if I’m physically sitting in a chair in my office?

You never knwo who is going to care. And no matter how generous your company’s work from home policy, there is benefits to seeing and being seen in the office. There are several people that I don’t necessarily end up in meetings with who never the less have influence in our company.

If you do your job well, your team should be aware. The teams you support should be aware, but unless it’s a major project, other teams may not have any insight into what you are doing.

Physically being in the office helps people associate you with a hard worker. It’s crazy to think about, but just being present counts. I love baseball. And if you go to a baseball game you’ll see lots of players sitting on the bench. A Major League team is 25 men. Of those, about 12 are pitchers. On any given game you may see as many as 4-5 pitchers, or as few as 1 pitcher.

But, guess what? When people are attending the game and see those other 7-10 guys just sitting on the bench or in the bullpen, they naturally associate them with the team and the players on the field.

So, just a word of warning: Don’t let your card key access lapse.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2018 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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