If you’re lucky enough to be assigned a company laptop during your internship, you should probably guard it like Billy Bob Thornton guarded the Alamo. (I mean in terms of overall resolve. Please avoid the use of firearms.) Company laptops are known to inspire possessive fits of jealousy in some work environments, particularly if they’re badass.
If your employer hands you a Macbook Air, that’s serendipity. A higher power has ordained it. You must protect it.
But when you’re at the bottom of the totem pole, anything that’s assigned can be taken away just as quickly by your colleagues, for just about any convoluted reason. In this high-stakes game, trust is but a mirage. To keep yourself computing on the go, you must live by the following tips – or face a desolate, Wi-Fi-less future.
- Disguise it as a book. This is easier to pull off if the laptop is “netbook' size. Simply measure out an appropriately sized section of backing material and construct a book jacket, wrapping the laptop’s edges so they are covered entirely when the machine isn’t in use. Then, make sure it has a really boring title that nobody would ever want to read, like Principles of Wire Insulation or Soy Cultivation in the American Midwest.
- Decorate it with highly polarizing and contradictory political messages. If you’ve given up on concealing the laptop,you might want to consider adorning it with enough incendiary bumper stickers to make your coworkers too embarrassed to be seen with it. Concerned about the graphic artist nabbing your computer for some Photoshop work? A Tea Party-inspired “Where’s the certificate,OSAMA' sticker should do the trick. Worried that supply rep with the camo jacket might want to crunch some spreadsheets on your baby? He’ll think twice about doing it under the watchful gaze of Che Guevara. Combine these two strategies, and you’ll have mastered the principles of “Tea –Che': a virtually fail-safe approach to making your laptop untouchable.
- Change the computer’s startup sound to a seemingly endless loop of Whitney Houston’s highest notes in I Will Always Love You. There’s always a risk that the user will be immediately familiar with where the volume controls are, but even then, they’ll likely be stunned and incapacitated for a period of time. Unfortunately, getting Whitneyed only works once.
- The “Bin Laden.' This method requires you to constantly keep the computer underground and on the move, protected by only the most trustworthy confidants. For the “Bin Laden' to work, you’ll need a sizeable area of deserted cubicles to dart between – not a problem in most office buildings these days. If you really want to rub it in their face, you can release captioned audio tapes of the system fan purring every few weeks, but make sure you record them in a remote location that won’t give away the laptop’s coordinates. Many a careless intern has had a computer repo’d for broadcasting too close to the fax machine.
How do you protect your most prized possessions at work? Drop us a line in the comments below.