I yielded to temptation and got fired, but my boss's transgressions were far worse...
My boss at the state government entity had been taking equipment home, saying he was borrowing it for the weekend, and other similarly lame excuses. He borrowed PCs, LCD panels, tool kits, CAT 5 cabling, and he never brought any of it back. So I knew our inventory records were messed up. And I knew it was going to somehow come back to bite him, especially when we underwent the inevitable IT audit of all our client PCs, servers, and network infrastructure.
The outside agency found nothing wrong with our client and server patching levels, anti-virus levels, and security practices. They did, however, note several issues with our inventory system; in particular, how we accounted for equipment. So I came up with the idea of doing a bar-code-based inventory system and a 15-digit-identified system broken down by division and hardware type. This seemed to satisfy the auditors, but who can tell for sure with auditors?
When the audit results were released, management would not allow the IT staff to see the report, or to make any changes based on its results.
I happened to be working late one evening updating the Exchange Server and bringing our domain controller up to Windows 2003 Server from Windows 2000. I also pushed out the latest patches to the client PCs. While I was working in the server room, I received a call from management that Outlook was giving an error message. By the time I got the servers updated and made it to management's office to fix Outlook, everyone had gone home for the evening. They left me a note describing the problem.
I proceeded to apply some patches and a hotfix for the problem, but when I opened their e-mail, I noticed that the final copy of the audit had been e-mailed to my boss that day. I couldn't resist – I opened the attachment and viewed it. The report contained only some small issues with our inventory system. Nevertheless, I decided to print a copy. My first attempt to print didn't work, so I hit the button again, and a copy came out. I then proceeded to shut down the computer and began to review the audit findings. I took notes on what needed to be changed and threw the copy in the trash.
When the manager came in the next morning and powered on her PC, the audit started to print out. She became suspicious and called in an outside computer security firm to look at the audit logs on the PC. I was then confronted by management armed with lawyers, and was asked why I had looked at the audit, and was then asked to resign or be fired. I chose to resign, since there was already a lot of tension between my IT boss and management due to this audit.
My boss eventually did get demoted when the state learned he'd been taking equipment that eventually stocked the PC repair shop that he’d started. His business was investigated and shut down, yet he remained on as a state employee while I was fired for a far less egregious offense.