'I've automated my job, do I tell my boss?'

A TECH worker has figured out how to get paid a full-time salary for just one or two hours of work per week, after automating their own job.

The only trouble is, they're not exactly sure if it's ethical.

The anonymous programmer turned to internet forum The Workplace, asking other professionals to help with the dilemma.

"Although I was hired as a programmer, my job is pretty much glorified data entry ... I get a bunch of requirements, which is literally just lots of data for each month on spreadsheets and I have to configure the system to make it work," they wrote.

"The analysts who create the spreadsheets actually spend a fair bit of time verifying my work because the process is so tedious that it's easy to make a mistake.

"As you can guess, it is pretty much the most boring job ever. However, it's a full-time job with decent pay, and I work remotely so I can stay home with my son."

The programmer goes on to say they have been in the role for about 18 months, and in that time they've figured out all the ins and outs of the system.

"I've actually written a program which for the past six months has been just doing the whole thing for me. So what used to take the last guy a month, now takes maybe 10 minutes to clean the spreadsheet and run it through the program."

The work-life balance may sound like a dream, but the programmer is now anxious about telling their boss, and worried their conduct is unethical.

"If I tell them, they will probably just take the program and get rid of me ... at the same time, it doesn't feel like I'm doing the right thing," they wrote.

The trouble is the program is so good the results are perfect every time - and far too consistent to have been done by a person.

To cover up the deception, they admitted they're going back and deliberately adding bugs to the data so it will look like authentic human error.

"It's not like I'm cheating the company ... (they've) never indicated they're dissatisfied with my performance and in fact, are getting exactly what they want from employing me."

Opinions in the forum ranged widely.

"You're defrauding your employer," one wrote.

"You don't sell time! You sell results! But producing sub-par results to conceal the amount of time you actually work is unethical," another observed.

"Although the answer seems obvious to me, perhaps your personal ethics lead you to conclude that this is okay. I suspect you know the truth though and this is more along the lines of a humblebrag than anything else," said another.

Others suggested some sort of middle ground.

"Tell them you have a little hours left at the end of every month and you thought that the whole system could be automated and you have an idea how," one said.

"I'm a father too so I get that spending time with your son is important but you also have a life. I think you are wasting your talents," another agreed.

News Corp Australia

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