30-Year-Old Woman Fired After Her Boss Found Her Gaming at Work: ‘I wish this was a joke’

When a TikTok user revealed she’d been fired for playing Neopets at her corporate job, it struck a chord with hundreds of thousands online.

Her candid confession, encapsulated in a viral video, sheds light on the pervasive monitoring of employees’ digital lives and the extreme measures companies are willing to take, even for seemingly harmless online activities.

This story isn’t just about a decades-old virtual pet game; it’s a wake-up call about privacy, corporate boundaries, and the often unseen consequences of our digital footprints. Dive in as we unravel this tale that’s got the internet talking.

Employee Monitoring in the Digital Age

In a TikTok video that has attracted considerable attention, a user shares that she was fired from her corporate job in 2023 for playing Neopets, an online virtual pet game, while at work. The video features a text overlay that reads, “When you’re almost 30 and get fired for playing neopets at your corporate job in 2023 and have a lot of thinking to do.”

She expresses her dismay in the caption, stating, “I wish this was a joke,” and takes the opportunity to share her Neopet account name, adding, “Anyway my neopet name was abbyleeDC.” The post highlights the unexpected consequences of mixing personal online activities with professional responsibilities.

@sociopathcutie I wish this was a joke. Anyway my neopet name was abbyleeDC #neopets #corporatelife #abbyleemiller #jokes #thirtybutseventeen #joke #firedonjob ♬ bad idea right? – Olivia Rodrigo

Public Outcry

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Viewers connected with the experience of playing video games at work, with some sharing their own stories. One user commented, “My boss literally printed out my neopets browsing history and threw it on the table,” highlighting a similar experience with the same game.

Another admitted, “I’m 26 and I play the lilo and stitch sandwich game at work all the time,” indicating a preference for a different online distraction.

A third shared a past incident, saying, “I got fired for watching Netflix in my cubicle (in 2011 when only like 5 people watched Netflix on their phone),” referencing an earlier time when mobile streaming wasn’t as common. These comments showcase a common thread among some employees who engage in personal activities during work hours.

The Rise and Implications of Employee Monitoring

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In recent years, employee monitoring tools have seen a significant surge, especially with the shift to remote work. Tools like Time Doctor, which track employee activities during work hours, have become commonplace. While some see it as a means to ensure productivity, others view it as an invasion of privacy.

The normalization of remote work has led to what Microsoft terms “productivity paranoia,” with 85% of leaders doubting their employees’ productivity. This skepticism has driven the demand for employee monitoring software, with searches for such tools increasing by 75% in March 2020 compared to the 2019 monthly average.

However, excessive monitoring can lead to negative outcomes. Employees aware of being monitored report heightened anxiety and a compulsion to work longer hours. Moreover, some studies suggest that constant surveillance can backfire, with employees taking unapproved breaks or deliberately slowing down their work pace.

Balancing Productivity & Privacy

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While employers have legitimate reasons to monitor employees, such as ensuring workplace safety and protecting business confidentiality, the extent and method of monitoring matter. Most computer monitoring tools allow employers to view everything on an employee’s screen, from keystrokes to browsing activity.

Nearly 80% of employers use such software to track performance and online activities. Yet, this intense scrutiny can erode trust. Jaya Dass, Randstad’s managing director for Singapore and Malaysia, argues that viewing employees merely as commodities overlooks their emotional and mental well-being, which is crucial for genuine productivity.

Furthermore, while it’s legal for employers to monitor work devices, employees should be aware of their rights and the extent of surveillance they’re subjected to. In the age of digital workspaces, striking a balance between ensuring productivity and respecting employee privacy remains a challenge.

More from Viral Chatter

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Illustration. Image Credit: Sorbis/Shutterstock.

The workplace can sometimes feel like a prison in today’s fast-paced world.

This sentiment was recently echoed by a Burger King employee who took to social media to share her experiences and feelings about her job.

Offering a raw, unfiltered look into the daily grind of fast-food work, her videos have become a rallying cry for those feeling trapped in thankless jobs.

Employee Reveals Salary In Company Email, Sparks Co-Workers’ Demand for Raises

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Image Credit: fizkes/Shutterstock.

In the corporate world, many employees often grapple with issues of poor management, corporate greed, and unequal pay.

While some choose to remain silent, others take a stand, demanding justice and transparency.

One such individual’s story, which was shared on Reddit and later reposted on Twitter, has garnered significant attention, with over 3.4 million views.


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Image Credit: Krakenimages.com/DepositPhotos.
  1. americanbar.org/news/abanews/publications/youraba/2018/january-2018/how-much-employee-monitoring-is-too-much/
  2. cnbc.com/2023/04/24/employee-surveillance-is-on-the-rise-that-could-backfire-on-employers.html
  3. privacyrights.org/consumer-guides/workplace-privacy-and-employee-monitoring

This article was produced and syndicated by Viral Chatter.

Martha A. Lavallie
Martha A. Lavallie
Author & Editor | + posts

Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.