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Ask L2: Using a Personal Computer for Work

"I need a job, so I don't want to make a huge thing about this . . . but how do I protect myself? "

Disclaimer: Identities are kept confidential. The advice given here should be taken at your own risk. If you are having true mental or physical issues, please seek professional assistance.

I lost my job when my whole department was let go. I was depressed and we'd just moved into our first house . . . without the kitchen being complete. It was a lot.

So I've been looking for work, but it's been rough. Finally, I have three places at the same time interested in me.

One ended up being a really lowball offer with no wiggle room, and I said no thank you.

Another, a recruiter ghosted me after two rounds of intense, hours-long interviews with the company.

Lastly—I got an offer. It's a good enough job as a designer on the marketing team for a regional bank that's doing well. I knew from one of the interviews that they were PC-based, which isn't ideal—most designers are taught on and work on Macs professionally. My future boss said he would look into this because he knows that to be the case, and it had come up with previous designers. Now, they're saying they will "allow" me to bring my MacBook to the office to work on if I want to, and they will pay for the software licenses.

I need a job, so I don't want to make a huge thing about this . . . but how do I protect myself? Or if I agree to this, what do I need to ask for in return/as a stipulation? I know this isn't gender-related, but it doesn't feel professional, especially when I know the business is doing well.


That is . . . odd. Usually part of the employment contract is that they will provide appropriate machinery, though I think Bring Your Own Device agreements are more common now. Did they give you terms of conduct for using your own machine? Have they considered the implications of this? Do they understand that they are probably giving you thousands of dollars of software licensing and they basically can't control it because it's all going to be on a machine they don't own?

First, I would ask them if they have drafted a policy for a Bring Your Own Device program. If the answer is no, ask them if they can put one together so you understand the terms of what can and cannot be done and how they expect you to keep things separate. It's pretty hard to act to their standards if they don't give you any standards.

Next, I would talk to someone who knows about IT security and see what the best way to protect you from anything weird levied by them. Do you need a separate user account with a different password? Is there a way to create an audit trail on only the things that interest them?

Third, and this maybe should have been first, is using their machine an option? I know it's a PC and you're used to Mac, and trust me, I understand how NOT preferred that is. I am a Mac girl through and through, and forcing me to use a PC even for checking email gets me grumpy.

That said, you may be able to adapt as much as they need you to while still using their tools and not your own. That way, should anything happen to any of your computers, you can either still work or rely on them to fix it because it's their machine. If you're slower to deliver because you're not used to the technology, that might have to be okay. You're using the tools that they gave you and doing as much as you can with them.

If they like your work and just want you to be able to produce more, it might be time to cough up the dough to get you the machine you need to do it. I have seen lots of companies that have both Macs and PCs deployed in-house. It's a little more complicated, but it's certainly not impossible.

Hopefully, you come up with something that helps you stay in command. (See, that was a Mac nerd joke and if you aren't in the know, you wouldn't know that. Get it?)



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1 Comment

Darcy Lee
Darcy Lee
Jan 03

I have so many thoughts. They may be unpopular, but...

My first is that although I understand the need for a job, are you really ok with taking a "good enough" job? Ladies, we deserve (and bring to the table) MORE. If you'll settle for good enough, I'd say go with their PC option and keep looking for a "great" job while you have an income.

They sound incredibly antiquated and out-of-touch with marketing and design to say, "We're all PC," and to have such loose control over their licensing (e.g., Adobe CS). Even software developers prefer Macs, so it's not such a stretch to think a company can have both, and IT departments should know how to and be…

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