She wasn't all that bothered that her email address might now be in the wrong hands - mail filters were much improved these days - nor was her address much of a secret; she was, however, struck by the faint air of panic that always accompanied such notificapologies. As if the sender was aware of ghost litigators, vulnerable performance bonuses, or threatened public rebuke. Not that she'd ever seen any of those materialise - any rebukes must have been well hidden, in the instances she'd witnessed close up.
Like that time at The Knowledge Factory on the Hill when "someone" in HR had inadvertently attached an Excel spreadsheet containing the salary amounts of every single staff member to a graph of performance ratings per payclass, and mailed it to the entire Union Exec. And what interesting reading that had provided! Some sensitive souls - perhaps displaying an uncharacteristic self-awareness which alerted them to the incredulously gaping chasm between their remuneration and any evidence of their performance - had become quite exercised, and demanded the annihilation of the entire HR Dept once the news leaked. Others hid in their offices, embarrassed by the outing of their total lack of self-esteem as evidenced by their willingness to work for so little reward. The Cow hadn't been that bothered about that leak either - everyone knew her post was severely under-graded, with regrading parked until finances permitted. And she quite liked the evidence for the justness of the Union's demands being in the open - far easier to negotiate with Management when you have as much information as they have, and can't be swayed by convincing-but-inaccurate claims.
"It does raise interesting questions about privacy vs. transparency, though," Gramsci interjected. "If information such as salaries was in the public domain, would employers not feel compelled to adopt fairer remuneration policies? At least in theory, since unfair practices would be visible and open to challenge?"
"Assuming you could get beyond myths that equate remuneration with personal worth," snorted Bronstein. "Those are amazingly persistent, thanks to systems like 'performance-related pay'..."
"Have you ever noticed," mused the Cow, happy to indulge the digression, "that the relationship is never spelled out? It's always 'performance-related', with no further details. I've long suspected that the relationship is an inverse one, such that pay=1/performance."
Gramsci brightened. "If we're going to wander into the realm of equations," he beamed, "how about this:
Data codified = information.
Information situated = knowledge.
Knowledge = power.
So, solving for information:
Information = desituated knowledge. Given that
Knowledge = power, then
Information = desituated power!"
"Free-range power!" Bronstein nodded approvingly. "Sounds appropriately anarchic! Viva information spills, viva!"
The Cow perked up. She wondered what creative assault would be unleashed by the PhD students in the unnamed Schools who had received the spreadsheet - and whether the students would have to declare it in the next iteration of Researchfish.