[thelist] Re: consulting fees

Russ russ at unrealisticexpectations.com
Mon Jun 14 20:00:12 CDT 2004

You keep bringing up things that really make me have to continue on this

> Let me just put this in front of everyone for consideration:
> http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/01/28/man_sacked_for_blogging/

"Mr Murray explained that he spent no more time working on the blog as
other colleagues spent taking breaks from work to have a cigarette."

Translation: Mr. Murray was utilizing company resources.  Resources that
had him sending 1's and 0's to the internet that originate from his
workplace and could potentially be tracked back to--that's right--them.
And on their time.  Bad move.

> And let's not forget the recent post that got the Microsoft 
> guy sacked:
> http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2003/10/even_microsoft_.html
> 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!  

"I took this shot on the way into work on the loading dock (MSCopy, the
print shop I work in, is in the same building as MS's shipping and
receiving). Three palettes of Dual 2.0Ghz G5's on their way in to
somewhere deep in the bowels of Redmond."

Read:  I took this shot on company property.  He even states it later.
It may seem petty, but it easily could be seen as a security breach.
While I disagree with the rationale...  I can see where they're coming
from.  Just because he displays this one publicly and says "it's the
only one" doesn't mean it is and would make him suspect.  

> And don't forget the infamous :
> http://www.shortnews.com/shownews.cfm?id=39861

Title of Article:  Congressional Aide Fired for Blogging Sexual Exploits
on Senate Computers

ON SENATE COMPUTERS.  Translation: trackable back (via IP) to the Senate
Offices.  More than a few of the companies I work for state things like
"nothing personal" on their computers.  Some track it closer than
others.  Blogging about that crap from work is taking a risk--still
using company resources.

> 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
> HR.

Well, here's the kicker.  This is the most difficult one to find,
however, he does mention "Violence in the Workplace Training" and I
can't help but think of where he'd come up with that topic, except
for... Well, in the workplace, and if he's obvious about things or
discussing where he works...  That's a risk.  He was a manager;
represents people, etc.  I mean, it's kind of like finding out a teacher
surfs pr0n--people get curious about that.  Okay, maybe it's not like
that, but the point is, he also made disparaging remarks about a member
of the management team (very disparaging), and yes, she happened to be
his ex-wife, which was even more ridiculous to post about and not remain

> 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.  

But, let's analyze everything I just showed you.  Time after time, the
place of work was either used inappropriately--for personal use--or was
discussed, slandered, etc.  That, isn't really keeping your activities
personal and/or private.  Even in the last example, he largely put
himself at risk and I think we can all see that.

> 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
> super-important.

And I say that "everyone does freelance work, no one talks about it" can
work nicely for you, if you're intelligent about it.  If you so much as
alter a line of code at your employer and FTP it to a site that you work
on, I call it grounds for termination.  No question about it.

If you do it at home on your own time, your employer won't know about it
and they have no reason to care as it does not interfere with your work.
The biggest thing to remember is to NOT let the lines bleed or blur, not
even a little.  It happens, and situations vary from organization to
organization, but if someone wants you fired, they'll find a way to do
it, and slip ups like the ones described are the reasons people get let

Just remember, if you ask permission, you could be making yourself
suspect, as well.  Think about the FBI (and this could be just urban
legend) and the bit that you can see your file at any time if you write
in.  But, if you didn't have one and you write in, they've just opened a
file on you.  If you're asking permission and suddenly something happens
at work such as performance slippage or a quality issue, you could open
yourself up to being the first target because you're moonlighting.
Think this through thoroughly.

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

IF you blog about persons you work with or blog while at work or blog
about stuff at work that may be covered in your contract--such as
sharing photos of objects on the property.

> 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.

Yep.  :-)

> 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?

As did I, however, signing on my behalf was also signing to provide me
with a severance package.  To me, that was a fair trade, however, when I
never received a corrected document based upon changes requested from an
attorney and I never received the package, that opened things up a
little differently.  And I still kept my mouth shut because, frankly,
then I'd just look as ugly as they do, in my opinion.  Plus, why open
myself up for something that's dead and buried?

> 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.

I think it's very healthy.  I bet there's a huge chunk of people on this
list that blog.  I used to be one of those "this is so cool" bloggers
who's been doing it for several years and was super proud.  I no longer
open myself up to employers in that fashion; I don't care if they find
the site, but I don't go out of my way to hand it to them, either.  It's
good discussion to show people a thing or two--we're both pretty much on
the same side, but we're seeing things differently.  Cool by me.

> Nice discussing this with you.  


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