It's all in how you ask

Pilot fish goes to work as the "computer guy" for a small company that prints tags for the garment industry.

"This included maintaining the local and online order databases for the labels we supplied," fish says. "It also meant supporting two or three Asian print shops we partnered with, since they were closer to the actual mills."

Of course, there's about a 12-hour difference between those Asian outfits and fish's company. That means he spends a fair amount of time chatting with them via instant messages, as well as accessing their PCs across the Internet -- and much of it is done through fish's computer at home.

Can I get my home Internet connection paid for by the company? fish asks his boss, who used to have fish's job but is now the plant's general manager.

But his boss tells fish that the company's president will never sign off on that. So for more than two years, fish pays for it out of his own pocket.

Then one day the company office manager, who knows about fish's situation, mentions to him that starting that month his boss's assistant is getting her home Internet connection paid for by the company.

Well, guess what? fish tells her. So am I.

"I waited for a month to see if I heard anything from my boss," says fish. "I didn't hear a thing. So when the cable bill came that month, I put that and the previous month's bill on his desk with an expense report.

"It took a while, but eventually I got this monthly reimbursement for using my home resources for work."

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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