A Des Moines hotel worker has been fired for using her employer's computer to keep a massive, detailed journal cataloging her efforts to avoid work.
State records indicate that Emmalee Bauer, 25, of Elkhart was hired by the Sheraton hotel company in February 2005. During most of 2006, she worked at the company's Army Post Road location as a sales coordinator.
At one point during her employment, Bauer was allegedly instructed to refrain from using company time to work on her personal, handwritten journal. Rather than stop writing at all, Bauer allegedly began using her work computer to keep the journal up to date.
"I am going to be typing all my thoughts instead of writing all day," wrote Bauer, according to portions of the journal that were entered into evidence at a recent state hearing dealing with Bauer's request for unemployment benefits. "That way, there isn't any way to tell for sure if I am working really hard or I am just goofing off."
Over the next several months, Bauer composed a book-length journal of 300 single-spaced pages, describing in excruciating detail her dogged efforts to avoid any sort of work.
"This typing thing seems to be doing the trick," she wrote. "It just looks like I am hard at work on something very important."
A supervisor discovered the journal late last year and fired Bauer for misuse of company time.
Other journal entries, according to evidence presented at the hearing:
- "I am going to sit right here and play Elf Bowling or some other nonsense. Once lunch is over, I will come right back to writing to piddle away the rest of the afternoon. ... I have almost 100 pages here! I wonder how long that's going to take to print?"
- "I don't feel like doing a single worthwhile thing today. It's 11:00 and so far I have stuck to that. ... I have managed to waste half of the day doing nothing constructive. That isn't exactly an easy task, either."
- "It's noon already and I don't feel like I have accomplished a damn thing. Accomplishment is overrated, anyway."
- "I just have to get through the next seven hours and forty-six minutes and then I will be free."
- "(I have) an hour of time that needs to be wasted - I mean 'spent wisely.' I know, that's a crock. I am only here for the money and, lately, for the printer access. I haven't really accomplished anything in a long while ... and I am still getting paid more than I ever have at a job before, with less to do than I have ever had before. It's actually quite nice when I think of it that way. I can shop online, play games and read message boards and still get paid for it."
At the state hearing, Bauer testified the journal was intended to help her deal with anxiety and frustration. She said she didn't believe her firing was warranted because other employees violated company policy without being penalized.
Administrative Law Judge Susan Ackerman denied Bauer's request for unemployment benefits last week, saying the journal demonstrated a refusal to work, as well as Bauer's "amusement at getting away with it."
In the journal, Bauer speculated that her writings might someday be published even though they dealt largely with the minutiae of her daily life such as rearranging the furniture at home, doing the dishes and planning for a tattoo on her lower back.
"I don't really think about much of anything as I type or write," she wrote. "I simply put on paper what I am feeling in that exact moment. ... It could be a side note to my biography someday that no one supported my writing and I was forced to do it secretly at the risk of persecution."