Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
This is embarrassing and I am genuinely unsure what to do. I have a
computer at work and a very competent computer tech. He also works
on my personal laptop, which I use it for office email at home on
evenings and weekends. I like the free tech support, and bring in my
laptop whenever TechGuru says he needs to update. He’s a nice 25-yr
old who does good work; I give him a Costco-sized tin of shortbread
every year for the holidays. I recently began a very torrid love affair.
Lover and I have been red-hot emailing often and longingly. I have
also been checking out some XXX websites to learn a little more about
topics I’ve not encountered before. Because my life has been very
placid until recently, I didn’t think about his access to these parts of
my life. When he brought the computer back to my office today he
looked at me strangely. When I restarted certain programs they
“restored” some very very private screens. What’s the etiquette?

Dear Exposed:
Computer techs are like doctors: they access and see aspects of our
private nature, parts, that acquaintances, colleagues, or even close
friends rarely have access to. The difference is that doctors operate
under a set of professional ethics, and technogurus have no such
standards to live by or up to. In addition, I suspect your company has
personnel policies that say anything you do on their computer is their
property or that you should have no expectation of privacy or
confidentiality. That includes, btw, checking your personal online email
account at work, something I suspect you’ve done, especially if you’re
in heat the way you describe.

Clearly there are two choices: confront or ignore. I vote for ignore, at
least as a starting position. Review your policies to see if you have any
rights (or assume none). The tech knows everyone’s secrets, so has
probably learned not to share them at work. You can always turn to
the Human Resources person. But the reality is that most people, old                                   or young, will have polite but casual prurient interest in your life or
any other colleague’s. The best you can do is hold your head high and
ride it through. Though you might give TechGuru his holiday gift early,
with a thank you card: a clear but hopefully effective bribe for his
silence. Next time clear your history before you let him into your
private life.