Yesterday's entry: A comment and a correction
I've received a lot of feedback on yesterday's blog entry. The two most common questions are:
- Eric, why did you think that working on your Scrabble project was wrong? It doesn't seem all that bad.
- And since you thought it was so awful, can we assume that you would go ballistic if someone in your company was working on a pet project at the office?
I sort of figured that if I wrote an article about a software manager that I really admire, I didn't need to address the question of how I would react in a similar situation. It should be fairly simple to connect the dots.
But folks are having trouble with the fact that I held such a strict attitude about my own transgression. They assume that I would be similarly draconian with others. A fair assumption I suppose, but an incorrect one.
When it comes to ethics, most people treat themselves loosely and other strictly. Instead, try being strict with yourself and gracious toward others. You'll get along a lot better with the world.
Do I really believe that working on a fun personal project at work is such a heinous crime? Certainly not. But surely you can agree that goofing off and trying to cover it up isn't exactly the way to win the employee of the month award?
The truth is that I just don't believe in making excuses. I'm not going to defend myself unless I have solid possession of the moral high ground.
My kids read this blog. I'm trying to teach them to take responsibility for all their choices, good and bad, big and small. How can I do that if I'm not willing to set the example?
If I found somebody in my company working on a pet project at work, I imagine I would handle it pretty much like Tim did: I would be more disappointed in the company than in the individual. If people are working on hobby code, then they're bored. In my opinion, the blame for a bored employee splits about 80/20 toward management.
Tim's current car is a Lamborghini, not a Ferrari.