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Cameras filming employees at work?


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I'm posting this here because I don't know where else I can go for some feedback. I have ocd. Right now I guess you can say it's in remission because I don't struggle with it anymore. A little over two years ago, I completely broke down with the ocd. I had an extreme fear of germs and HIV, and before that I would obsess over my parent's dying. I was in terrible condition and finally got outpatient treatment. Before I got outpatient treatment, I was still trying to function by working and going to school. I wasn't myself. My breakdown occurred long before I got help. So in other words, a little over two years ago is when I completely broke down to the point where I couldn't get out of bed. Before that I was broken down but still trying to function (by force, I didn't want to work, but parents pretty much made me), which brings me to my concerns now.

While I was struggling with ocd I had a job in an office. I was a graphic designer. I was so out of it that there were days where I couldn't properly groom myself which is so unlike me (I've always loved make up, cute clothes, jewelry, etc.). I was depressed because I was forced into working (a job which I hated and a field I wasn't interested in). I was also obsessing like crazy. I used to obsessively write down my intrusive thoughts at work so I could read them to ruminate. Ocd interfered with everything I did. To make matters worse, I lost all sense of self and what's socially acceptable. To the gross part--I remember cleaning out my ears (wax) with my fingernail at my desk (I don't know how many days I did this, but more than once). To describe my 'office' all of my co workers were in an open space and we each had our seperate computers and desks (the desks were sort of connected). So it was maybe 10 people in one big open room.

Anyway what is bothering me now is that I'm afraid that there were cameras filming us as we worked, and that there is video footage of me cleaning out my ears. I think it will haunt me down the road, and embarrass me and make me look like a slob. I fear that everyone will see me in that moment of my life where I was broken down and....cleaning out my ears. I feel like nobody on earth would've acted that way (to do something as gross as clean out their ears on the job). Anyway I fear that cameras caught every moment of my break down. To make matters worse, I worked for a newspaper, so I'm thinking they filmed us, and kept that footage for their archives. Am I making any sense? I don't know if this is OCD or a legitimate concern. I also don't understand human behavior, and if people perhaps do things if they think no one is looking. I tried talking to a family member about it, and that person just said that my actions were inappropriate and if I were to become famous I would probably be laughed at on youtube or something. Definitely didn't help matters. I'd like your honest opinions. I'm not for sure if there were cameras filming us at work, and I don't know how to find out. I don't remember seeing any cameras, but that doesn't mean anything. Maybe I couldn't see them, or maybe they told me and I soon forgot or just didn't care and acted how I wanted. Maybe I saw them or they told me but it's just been so long that I've forgotten.

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Disclaimer, I do not have OCD. But your current concern sounds more OCD-driven than reality-driven.

Don't think non-MI people do "socially unacceptable" things at work when they think no one's looking? Try again. People pick their nose, scratch their ass and whatever else, all the time. Cleaning out your ears is not a big deal. It's not like you urinated on the floor or something. If there were a surveillance tape, and it was being reviewed, no one would even notice. The only purpose of reviewing a surveillance tape would be to catch evidence of a crime. Some random person picking at her ear would not even merit notice.

Even if you did become extremely famous and the tape got uploaded to youtube, I think it would immediately die out. It's just not that big a deal. If there were some video on youtube of [insert really famous person] picking earwax, back when he/she was a nonfamous graphic designer, would you care? Most people would look at that and say, "Why is this on youtube?"

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I don't have OCD. However, the thing to keep in mind about security measures is that they're really expensive, and so is reviewing the footage. Most security camera video is discarded after a short period of time, if there was no evidence of crime. Like the convenience store down the street that has a camera, they won't keep the images for very long. There's no cost benefit to it, and it does cost to store the video images.

If you're not in work that involves directly handling money, or at a workplace that requires lots of overt security like a weapons manufacturing facility, I seriously doubt if your employer uses cameras to check up on you.

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I'm not sure what state you live in.

But at our company had a corporate lawyer come in and work with our company to re-work employee handbook.

All employee's had to go in a conference room and go over everything at the end of the conference we had to sign a paper saying we read and understood the rules of the company.

I remember them putting in cameras and I remember the lawyer saying if you ask HR or Bosses by law they must tell you were the cameras are located. I know you can't use cameras in the restrooms that's against the law.

I know companies only keep footage for a certain amount of time and then it records over it. We had a incident where someone stole a master key to get into the office and caught him that way. (the lobby camera caught him using mastercard and security code with a time stamp on the tape)

I doubt anyone would use it on against you only if they caught you stealing or doing damage to the property.

I don't know if you can ask if you don't work there anymore.

I don't know if this reply helped in anyway. If not sorry ;)

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First off, I don't have OCD, but I do have paranoia and anxiety. Which means I also tend to obsess over tiny details until they become LARGE.

I worked for many years in human resources, so the information I know will be generally applicable if you are in the US, and likely in the UK and other countries.

If your company had cameras at work, they would be required to have you sign a disclaimer saying you were being video and/or audio monitored. Whether or not this form was a standalone piece of paper or blended into another form you signed would be up to your HR department.

In general, unless you work for a high security business, cameras are visible and obvious. They have to see you to record you. And if they see you, chances are high that you were within twenty feet of them, and looked at them every day. You would remember this - I had a camera behind be every day I worked in HR - I remember it. Say you worry that you think it's hidden - remember, in order to get a good image, it's got to be visible and out in the open. So the likely scenario would be a camera with a shaded bubble window over it (think casino security). I know you might be thinking pinhole cameras, but those are really only ever used in stakeouts and PI type stuff.

As for video. If someone keeps video, it's for a data warehousing set period of time. They could keep it a day, a week, a month, or a year. I highly doubt they would keep it longer than a year. A month is popular choice - it marries the need to keep the data in case of an incident with the need for hard drive storage space.

On a personal note, have you considered the "needle in a haystack" angle? That why would a person be looking through thousands of hours of stored video tape (if there is any) and just happen to come across your actions, which take no more than, perhaps, a couple of minutes? Plus the fact that most security tape is so fuzzy that you could not determine, once the hand got next to the head, what it was doing? I too have things in my life that I look at and want to obsess over. And when I break one of them out of the old mental closet, well, it's xanax time. I hope that my information can help assure you somewhat so that you can go back to your healthy state.

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again... not an OCD chick here, tho i have given pause to my tdoc about my various little "things" the latest being hidden video cameras. It's not impacting my life, just the thoughts. So many good tips in this thread - hope you find some relief. I especially like the one about how hidden cameras can't get good footage cuz they are hidden.

take care, hope you find some relief

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Thanks everyone for your input and help. I really appreciate it. I'm definitely doing some better, although after I started to feel a little bit better, I was lying down and thought what if I was compulsively picking my ears many times a day everyday I was at work. I don't know what made me think that, but I assume if I think that it must be true. The fact that I of course can't possibly remember what I did everyday at work, makes everything worse, leading me to believe that I compulsively picked at my ears to the point of insanity and now can't remember how many times I did it and if it was compulsive. As you know when I wrote the post, I was writing because I knew I did it more than once. But now it's grown into a fear of what if it was compulsive, and again, I can't be sure that it wasn't, because I can't remember how often it was. I feel like if I was complusively repeatedly doing it, then the odds would be up that I would be caught. Sorry to rant, OCD definitely sucks. Again thanks everyone for taking the time to reply.

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I don't have OCD and am not a professional. Like others here, I can only respond to a few words on a screen. Those words lead me to think that you only did the ear thing a couple times, and now you brain has replayed it enough times to multiply the frequency and significance.

Surveylance tapes are recycled. IF you were caught on tape, the tape is gone.

Are you in treatment? Do you have a therapist you can talk this over with? It seems that you're in a lot of duress. That sucks. Hopefully, you have someone who is trained in OCD to help you with all of this.

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Pink, I worked at a bank in ATM security and I think banks by law have to keep video for a year before disposing it but most security guys either use data recording on Hard Drives or they use a magnetic tape drive. The hard drives will loop through and then automatically erase data as it records new data so there is always data available. And those old Super VHS tapes used for security are pretty expensive and each one is reused about 50 times before being deleted and tossed out. I seriously doubt a company would bother recording stuff. Think about recording 8 hours a day 5 days a week (maybe 24/7) for months or years. It would take somone months to go through it all even at high speed. So what are the odds of someone coming across that and putting it on youtube? People pick their ears all the time and look at it to see if its infected or not. Work places become like families. You start getting used to each other pretty fast. Who cares what they think. Unless they're belching or farting all the time or throwing paper at you for fun. It's no big deal.

People even do crazy stuff like xerox their bums at work. Now that's youtube worthy especially if its a overweight employee who falls through the glass.

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People even do crazy stuff like xerox their bums at work. Now that's youtube worthy especially if its a overweight employee who falls through the glass.

LOL ;)

On my Birthday we did patron shots. We have a pretty big cubicle that had a small conference desk. It was me and my three male co-workers.

If anyone is watching it's only the geeks in IT.

LG

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  • 2 months later...

I got over this fear and I have you all to thank for it. I rarely post on this board, because I'm scared something will trigger me. But I just wanted to come back and thank you all for helping my thought process reach sanity again. I think a lot of times members don't realize how big of an impact their posts are and how it can help bring people back to reality.

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