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Subject:Re: Other Clients from Hell From:Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com> To:Techwrl-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com> Date:Wed, 7 Jun 2000 08:49:08 -0700 (PDT)
"Scottie Lover" wrote ...
> I once worked for a major department store which was the victim of a
> hostile takeover
> (read VERY hostile; this was a Jewish company taken over by
> anti-Semites). The new owners wanted to have the company publicly traded,
> and then sell it for a hefty profit. Accordingly, their only goals were
> VERY short-term.
> Just in case I ever again find myself in this situation, what would you do
> if you were
> a consultant specifically directed to do things you knew were totally
> wrong? In other words, would you knowingly sabotage a system just to
> ensure that your boss would get his humungous bonus? Would you
> leave? Would you insist upon some modicum of professionalism?
You've setup an example here, Scottie, that introduces numerous non-work
related issues. Clearly if I felt the company I was working for was immoral or
hateful I would quit. That has nothing to do with tech writing. If you
associate with immoral people - you are immoral.
However, just because I don't agree with the business model or direction of my
employer or a client does not grant me (or anybody) carte blanc to not do my
If my client insists on doing stupid things my response is quite simple:
A) Confirm that they really are doing something stupid. (Maybe their ideas make
sense under a different microscope.)
B) Warn them of what *I* think the consequences might be.
c) Encourage a different direction.
D) Accept it and help them be as stupid as they can be.
Unless you own the company or are an upper executive, it is not your job to
determine the direction of the company. If you don't like the direction the
company is going - QUIT.
Sitting around, arms folded, and demanding a "modicum of professionalism" isn't
going to get your job done any faster and likely won't change anyone's mind. It
just makes people think your a pain in the ass.
Short term profit is not always a bad thing. It is very common for larger
companies to buy up smaller companies, gut them, and take a profit. This is the
way business works. If you find this distasteful - move to Guam and herd
llamas. You are not going to undo 2500 years of capitalism because STC told you
it was bad.
Furthermore, it is really easy to accuse your bosses of immoral or hateful
behavior when they do things that seem dumb. Making a profit is not synonymous
with immoral behavior. Sometimes companies have to shut down or alter their
operations to remain profitable. Yes, it sucks when people lose their jobs. But
in today's flaming hot job market, I have very little sympathy for people who
say they can't get work.
If you can, show your bosses a better way. But be prepared to take into account
a vast array of financial, social, organizational, and legal concepts - not
just your personal displeasure with the current situation. It is REALLY easy
to sit in your office and see the world through a small window. If you think
there is a better way - sell it. But don't expect everybody to buy it.
You can't complain unless you have a better solution.
My point is, you do not have all the answers. The instant you assume to know
everything is the moment of your utmost ignorance. If you don't like what your
employer does you ultimately have three choices: 1) quit 2) deal with it 3)
work your ass off and show them there is a better way.