Workers should be cautious of what is visible on their screens when making visual presentations.
Otherwise, something like what happened to this poor woman could happen to you.
When her writing was exposed, the author was both embarrassed and mortified to the point where she considered quitting her job.
The Original Poster (OP) asked AITA (Am I the A**hole) for sharing the erotic fiction with their coworkers.
It was unclear whether this occurred via a screensharing app, or at the actual workplace.
"A coworker was sharing their screen with us during a brief component of a presentation and I happened to catch a page open to the side."
"I was bored during the presentation so absentmindedly started reading it and to my surprise I realized it was a dirty story."
"It was well written and actually pretty hot. To the point that I thought 'let me grab this for later'."
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"I was able to discern from the available window what the story title was and the name of the website so I went to the website and I did manage to find the same story."
"I ended up really enjoying the story so I clicked on the username and read a few of the other stories."
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The OP found that fantasy was colliding with reality.
"There were some series stories with multiple parts or recurring characters, and one was, to my utter shock, pretty obviously our office and people in it. Which meant this wasn't something they were reading."
"This was something they were writing."
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The OP decided to share the provocative reading material with a friend.
That was the first mistake.
"I was so amused by there being about two dozen erotic stories of the people in our office that without thinking I messaged the entire link to a longtime friend explaining what I'd found out that day."
"I had intended it to just be a laugh between us, but I hadn't communicated that to them in time, because they immediately sent it to 5 other people. You can see where this is going."
"Our entire office knows about it now. Especially with so little other socialization or interoffice drama."
The author did not take pleasure in the developing plot.
"So the poor author managed to reverse engineer the spread and find out I am the one who first found it and sent it around."
"They're mortified. Beyond embarrassed. Actually seriously considering quitting because they're not sure how they could reasonably return to work with these people after they'd read about something like this and how she thinks about them in the context of fantasy."
There was an attempt at an apology, but it was unconvincing.
"I apologized and told her it's because I thought it was so well written that I looked them up and read them in the first place, but understandably, that wasn't enough to smooth this over."
"I don't know whether I'm an idiot who made an honest mistake in the moment, or an a**hole who made a malicious mistake that's inexcusable."
This Redditor was genuinely furious over the OP's actions and said YTA (You're the A**hole) for the following reasons:
"• being nosy, and snooping on someone else's computer."
"• sharing said material when you realized that it involved people in your office."
"• your poor excuse of an apology in the vein of a backhanded compliment in the face of your co-worker considering quitting solely because of your actions."
"Personally my views are that all of your excuses are sh*t, and you wanted to watch the drama. There's a reason even published authors use pen names for the erotica they write."
"Be a better person, because you suck." – PoshyStroons
The user edited the post after receiving a lot of flak for their outrage and listed self-checking reference points that the OP failed to consider.
"My personal reaction is based off the lack of situational-awareness that would have presented itself in this situation."
"OP got the non-related fiction from their co-worker's computer, and saved the information for later use."
"OP saw this material related to their coworkers after seeing a non-related work."
"Consumed and enjoyed this content, then sent it to someone else in the office explaining what they found, then that person sent it to others."
"OP deliberately choose to not extend kindness to the coworker who wrote these fictions.... but instead used it for gossip."
"OP was neither offended or concerned, and had no intention of taking it to HR - as that is never mentioned in their post. If that was their intention, sharing it to the office was still wrong, it should have been mentioned to HR and HR only. Evidence of OP's feelings have been italicized."
"After OP has used their co-worker for gossip and throughly humiliated them, OP offers their coworker solice by saying 'Well they were written so well' ignoring the gravity of their actions."
Here is how Redditor "yakusokuN8" saw it.
"This may not be a perfect analogy, but it feels like to me if you spotted a young woman at your office whose skirt was caught up in her waistband and her underwear was showing from the back, so that she's unaware at the time."
"It's natural for that sight to catch your attention and maybe you chuckle a little bit at the situation, but I'd like to think that I'd just try to get her attention discreetly when we're not in a meeting and tell her that she's showing something private that maybe she doesn't want all her co-workers and bosses seeing."
"I wouldn't try to discreetly take a photo and save it for later and then share it with others who didn't see it so they can have a laugh at the fact that she actually was wearing polka dot panties."
"It'd be wrong of me to do that and she'd be rightly mortified that I was showing something off to everyone that she didn't intend for everyone to see."
"Yes, she should've been more careful when leaving the bathroom before the meeting, but that doesn't justify doing that to her."
The OP scored another YTA trophy here.
"If someone has his fly accidentally open in the office and another person mentions it and it is all around the office - 'Hey did you hear Dick had his Dick out, har, har, har' the person mentioning it is TA, not the person who had his fly open accidentally."
"Sometimes - especially since we are all working at home - it is best to pretend not to see things and it is ESPECIALLY best not to spread it around. OP could've IM'd the presenter discreetly but chose not to. That was the choice OP made."
"OPs excuse that OP sent to just one person intending it to be a laugh between them rings hollow, ergo OP gets the YTA award." – fatguyfromqueens
Some showed leniency.
"To her credit, she didn't use our real names."
"You could tell because she didn't change details like what cars people drove or how they dressed or their general job description. Like, if you were one of the people who worked in our office you'd immediately know who's who, but if you didn't you could never know for sure." – naty_neko
"It's not up to me to make the decision for other people to go to HR, i'd let them know what this person was writing about them and give them that decision to punish them."
"Me personally i'm not going to make someone lose their income, but some social consequences seems appropriate." – Robbie122
Some thought these office employees ought to exercise more discretion.
"Writing porn about your coworkers and having it open on a work device is a deliberate act that can ruin your career. Surprised they wouldn't have something blocking NSFW content, maybe they will moving forward."
"Not implying they are at all equal, but both people did things I think make you an a**hole. Both things would probably be against the company handbook, too." – GoingAllTheJay
Because details were scant, people wondered if the coworker was using a personal or work computer.
"I work from home and it is with a company-issued laptop. I'm not defending OP, because that was some heinous sh*t, but working from home doesn't automatically excuse having this on your computer."
"Furthermore, even if it is on a personal computer, it's incredibly risky and a bad idea to leave it open during a presentation, or even have it open during work hours. Also, writing this sort of thing about co-workers and publishing it online seems like a bad idea."
"All that said, YTA, OP. Not even a contest. I get that we're all bored with the pandemic keeping us locked away but that doesn't excuse your gossiping. Way to f'k up someone's life." – six_-_string
According to this Redditor, ESH (Everyone Sucks Here).
"ESH because writing sexual fantasies about co-workers is inappropriate."
"I would NOT be okay about someone doing that about me for precisely the reasons that happened... The author was careless and the stories got leaked."
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There were no happy endings in this chapter, but hopefully the author and the OP can reach some sort of resolution together.
No one should lose their job over the fiasco, especially in these bleak times.
Although if they decide to go pro with their hobby, the book The Ultimate Guide To Writing Erotica For Profit: The Simple Formula To Make Thousands is available here.