[thelist] Re: consulting fees

Jonathan j at firebright.com
Mon Jun 14 19:14:30 CDT 2004

> > NOTE: I'm now a lawyer, and this is not legal advise.  It's 
> simly my 
> > opinion.
> Really quick:  are you *now* a lawyer or *not* a lawyer?  If 

Aw crap.  I meant not instead of now.  Doh!

> you're not a lawyer, then I have to say that I cannot take 
> what you've stated above as fact--and I completely support 
> your disagreeing with me, however, what you choose to do and 
> how you choose to do it is your own business, unless you 
> cross lines that are defined in your employment agreement, 

Well, we've both said our piece, and since I'm "now" a lawyer, let me say
something else.  In fact, crossing the line is really hard to define.  We
had the great example of blogging going, so let's continue down that path...

Let me just put this in front of everyone for consideration:

This guy claims *his previous boss* had not problem with it.  Now, that
seems reasonable, but he's fired with cause because his new boss doesn't
like it.  He didn't even get a chance to make a correction to his behavior.

And let's not forget the recent post that got the Microsoft guy sacked:

Who would have thought that putting a freekin' picture of an Apple computer
on the web could get you in such a world of hurt -- not me!  This
(http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2003/10/graphics/msg5s.jpg) is
the pic that got him sacked...  (more: http://macnn.com/news/21786).  I
mean, it's not egregious behavior... It's totally reasonable, in fact
expected bloggin' behavior, to post about the interesting things that happen
in your day.  But Microsoft said it was a "security risk."  I'm sure you all
have heard of this... As it's been picked up on the blogitry circuits.

And don't forget the infamous :

The best is that this guy
(http://www.gutrumbles.com/archives/006081.php#006081 got laid off about
because of unrelated posts in his weblog that were considered offensive by

While articles like this are helpful:

Let's not forget the original question... Which essentially brings me back
to my point..before doing outside work.

In fact what you do in your own time, especially if it has a direct
relationship to the work that you do, can in fact have direct and negative
impact on your working life, including getting your derrier canned.  It's
really important for everyone's protection that you get your outside work,
and blogging activity, approved *in writing* by your workplace.  

As a professional, you owe it to your outside clients to protect yourself
and them from *your* workplace, and not the other way around, and that's why
I'm so strongly pro-permissions.  They could be named in a court case just
as easily as you could, simply by the association with you as a
representative of the company.  And since the boundaries are so vague, it's

The point about all the blogging posts is simple... You can and are liable
for what you say and do outside of work.  

I wish a real kosher labor lawyer would weigh in on this, as I'm not really
in a position to say anything more than my opinion, which is kind of weak.

> which is exactly what I stated.  I've had a previous employer 
> tell me that the did not want to see their name end up in my 
> blog, even though they gave me a righteous screwing over, and 
> I didn't put them in there, but not because they asked, 
> because I don't believe in blogging about that crap.  In 

Smart move.  When I got laid off from a VERY big (you've all heard of it)
computer manufacturer, I was actually asked to sign a contract that forbid
me from discussing pretty much anything, anywhere, ever.  Sigh.  Well,
another tech layoff wasn't much news anyways, right?

> general, however, if you do something without thinking of the 
> consequences, you stand a good chance of getting a nip on 

It is a good thing, but also bear in mind that the concequences that get
people fired isn't something that you can protect yourself against, so be
super careful.  

I personally detest this discussion (not a personal thing, read on).
Political Correctness, with all it's good intentions and sometimes positive
results (protection against descrimination = good), has really gone over the
top in the States, and unfortunately, it has had big concequences that are
IMHO out of proportion with the offenses that were inflicted.

> > > It's also to your employer's benefit if you are further 
> practicing 
> > > and extending your skills.
> > 
> > I couldn't agree more.  
> And it's to your own; if you pick up 2-3 new tools that help 
> in your job, you can certainly consider bringing those up at 
> your review.  ;-)

Indeed.  But seeing as I'm the boss I have to do my own reviews.  Boy, am I

Nice discussing this with you.  


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