JUDGING FROM a recent internal memo sent to workers at Mylackey.com (a local start-up that provides services like lawn care and dry cleaning through its website), customers aren't the only ones who get to treat the cyber servants like doormats.

"It is now 6:45 p.m. and there are only 12 people in our office," began a June 5 e-mail from the company's chief financial officer, Brendan Barnicle. "We have 65 people that work here in Seattle. This is totally unacceptable.... If anyone thinks that everything we need to do as a company can be accomplished within an eight-hour day, then I think they fail to understand the scope and complexity of our venture. Anyone harboring such illusions should seriously consider a career change. I am sure that I could point to tasks for every single person in this company that would merit working past 7:00 p.m. every single night. Until further notice, all employees are required to be at their desk from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m., with 30 minutes for lunch. There are no exceptions."

A spokesperson for Mylackey, Howard Barokas, called the e-mail "bullshit," saying it was a tampered version of Barnicle's original message. Barnicle himself told The Seattle Times that forcing employees to work 10 1/2-hour days was not part of the original e-mail.

However, neither Barnicle nor Barokas disputed any other part of the tirade, including a warning that the company was "lagging behind" its "revenue goals." Mylackey recently grabbed $6.5 million in funding to expand its operations in other cities.