Leadership

IT ethics and the recession

Michael Krigsman takes a look at the results of a recent survey about the recession's effect on work ethics. He advises employers not to underestimate the level of stress the recession causes workers.

This is a guest post from Michael Krigsman of TechRepublic's sister site ZDNet. You can follow Michael on his ZDNet blog IT Project Failures, or subscribe to the RSS feed.

With a major recession in full-swing, someone had to come up with a survey covering the ethics of office workers in three countries. The punch line: a large percentage of folks surveyed would steal confidential company data in the event of layoff rumors. The results are fairly ugly, painting a negative picture of ethics in the workplace.

Security firm, Cyber-Ark, conducted the survey, called The Global Recession and its Effect on Work Ethics. The company interviewed 600 workers in the US, UK, and the Netherlands.

When asked how far respondents would go to keep their job, 15 percent of Americans said they would consider blackmailing their boss! At first, I thought this was a joke, but it appears to be serious after all.

Unfortunately, the answers are not a positive reflection upon my fellow citizens:

Survey results

Gaining advance access to a termination list seems to be an almost-universal desire:

Survey results

Although customer and contact lists are also popular targets:

Survey results

And the most popular way to steal employer information? The ubiquitous memory stick. Since email comes in second, it appears these data thieves are relatively unconcerned about leaving tracks behind them:

Survey results

Key takeaways for me:

  • Employers should not underestimate the level of stress the recession causes workers. Treat your folks with respect and dignity and they're more likely to behave decently back toward you.
  • Once workers learn they may be targeted for downsizing, their ethics may erode. Employers should be aware of this and enhance security accordingly.
  • A small number of workers are just plain dumb. Threats of blackmail? You've gotta be kidding.

What do you think the results say about workers in the three different countries studied? Share your thoughts in the discussion.

73 comments
santosh_kumar
santosh_kumar

The economic downturn or the recession tsunami has had an impact on most of us. However the key factor to remember here is that one should not lose hope. There are some websites where people who have been affected by job loss in the current recession could share their anxieties and problems with others having faced similar problems in the past. One website that is interesting is www.angstcorner.com. I particularly like their punch bag section where one can vent out their anger against their tormentor by virtually ?punching? them with a weapon of choice ! That is quite hilarious . Also visited their Forum section where affinity groups can create their own forums. Forum topics are company specific like ?Lehman Bros?, ?Microsoft? , ?Satyam? , ?Yahoo?, etc for ex-employees of these companies to get together and network and even find a job :) Here you can punch http://www.angstcorner.com/ACPunchBag/tabid/105/Default.aspx

techytype
techytype

What about this; What kind of society do we want to live in? Those countries where the people have a social safety net appear to have higher "scores" on the ethics survey. I'm wondering if they also have lower crime rates, white collar crime as well as violent. The US has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world. The "competitive" marketplace as defined by the United States strikes me as a rationalization to harm other people in the name of "success". There is no success when your actions cause damage and pain to other people. Are "we" collectively ever going to learn this lesson? I don't know. I do know that if we don't evolve beyond being cavemen in suits our "civilized" societies are doomed. Cooperative sustainable growth providing everybody the chance to participate and partake of the benefits can work. Yet we continue to support a system where a very small few benefit at the expense of the vast majority. What is really funny, the "rich" have to expend huge amounts of capital, energy and time protecting "their" assets, raising the cost of doing business. When people share everyone benefits and the cost of doing business is significantly lower. It is ethical behaviour that permits growth benefiting all. It is unethical behaviour which leads to problems like the sub-prime mortgage debacle, the Iraq war, the Bernie Madoff scam, the list goes on and on.... Capitalism without controls taking into consideration base human behaviours is a form of subjugation, not an economic system.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

What recession? The one you are being told is happening in the USA? Don't buy into it, just keep going. Old sales story, the OLDEST there is I think. [b][u]THE HOT DOG STAND[/u][/b] Many years ago, Don was working at his hotdog stand on the side of the highway, chatting with happy customers, enjoying each others company. He had just made a bunch of new signs advertising his fat boy hotdogs, with FREE condiments, customers were plentiful and he was happy. Rick had his hotdog stand a few miles down the road. Things wer much lower key, no big signs, no big sales. That morning Rick came down the road to Don's, on his bicycle, ringing his bell incessantly, "get out of my way!!!" he yelled as he drove through the hoards of happy folks near Don's stand. He reached Don and breathlessly said "Don, my old friend, what are you DOING? You have these big new signs up on the highway and are handing out FREEcondiments! Don't you know there's a recession on? You are encouraging people to spend money and hang around laughing when they should be focused on saving, cutting costs etc.; you aren't doing anyone any favours!" Don, looked around and sadly hadn't relized he'd been steering the nice folks the wrong way or wasting his money making new signs and advertising his hotdog stand. Rick, being a good friend, helped Don take down some of the new signs he'd put up, helped him cut back on his costs by giving him a number to a guy who wholesaled cheaper hotdogs, smaller buns, got him to charge for condiments etc. A few weeks later, having now seen and suffered the losses of the recession, Don sauntered over to Rick's hotdog stand. Rick had no signs out either, small buns and tiny hotdogs (using chicken dogs which were cheaper that beef weiners). Rick said hello to Don and asked how his business had been. Don said, you know, you're right, Rick; there IS a recession and i didn't even notice it, if it wasn't for you I would have been doomed! Ever since you warned me, I have barely made ends meet. I sure am glad I stopped wasting my money on signs and gas for the car! And those smaller hotdogs, GREAT idea there! Man, people stopped coming by and chatting and things are really in dire straights now! As he walked back to his little, downgraded hotdog stand he couldn't help but think to himself: 'that Rick is one smart fellow! For him to see a recession coming and warn me just one day before it hit, that's a true friend!' Recession smession, its all in your head and the heads of government that want to be your saviours for helping you see the light.

ebonstorm
ebonstorm

A Specious Argument ethics ?plural noun 1. (used with a singular or plural verb) a system of moral principles: the ethics of a culture. 2. the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: medical ethics; Christian ethics. 3. moral principles, as of an individual: His ethics forbade betrayal of a confidence. 4. (usually used with a singular verb) that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions. Morality 1. conformity to the rules of right conduct; moral or virtuous conduct 2. moral quality or character. 3. virtue in sexual matters; chastity. 4. a doctrine or system of morals. 5. moral instruction; a moral lesson, precept, discourse, or utterance. 6. morality play. 7. The quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct. 8. A system of ideas of right and wrong conduct: religious morality; Christian morality. 9. Virtuous conduct. 10. A rule or lesson in moral conduct. A Specious Argument When I start a post that is filled with indistinct language, or hot button words that are subject to misinterpretation, I often go and get some clarity from the dictionary to be sure that I am not misinterpreting what the argument is about. Though not a statistician, the results from that survey are probably from a very small sample, and thus not likely to be an effective gauge of the true level of participation of members of all of these societies in these moral quandaries. It IS however, an interesting premise from which to ask the question regarding corporations, their workers, the loyalty and implied fealty that workers should have to corporations whose questionable ethics are reflected in their workers. What you should really be asking... If your corporation pays its executives extremely high salaries in relationship to its rank and file workers, you should expect that loyalty (and thereby all social engines related to it i.e. ethics, morality, temperance,) should expect to be challenged especially during times of economic stress. It is hard to feel loyalty if you feel betrayed by a group that has a significant effect on your very existence. We have been taught to aspire to a thing that is directly out of our particular reach. We are led to believe (and it is regularly reinforced with the power of media hypnosis) that any single one of us can become rich if we simply work harder and longer (or are smarter, more beautiful, or better connected) than the next guy and that not having money does not affect your ability to eventually make significant amounts of money. But like a television montage, we skip over the steps that allow for the super-rich to get and stay rich. We skip over the historical wealth garnered through the exploitation and deaths of indigenous, enslaved or indentured peoples, we skip over the child labor, the back room dealings, the exploitation, the misogyny, the nepotism, the cronyism, the segregation and the basic corruption that has taken place when ethics take a back seat to the acquisition and maintenance of mega-wealth. We are culturally blind to these things in our own attempt to acquire a piece of the pie. The real trick is that we have been taught to fight over the crumbs, rather than to question what happened to the cake... If you live in a culture that promotes consumerism (a level of buying that actually props up the economic engine of your culture) or "affluenza - the sickness by which an overwhelming need to purchase and own objects of cultural relevance due to a bombardment of advertising or cultural influences" you are more likely to be affected by an economic downturn because your lifestyle and mental conditioning will influence (or even dominate) your ethical engine (this is a threat to your very existence and your socio-mental structure) you will be inclined to do whatever you deem necessary to offset this threat. Not saying that it is right but when a culture produces this kind of "engineered madness" for the sake of economic prosperity, you have to realize that people's responses will not always be rational ones. If a group of people are experiencing an event (in this case replacement, downsizing, mass terminations) it is human nature to seek a means of control, through the collection of knowledge or potential resources, bartering of power both benign (trade or negotiation) or malignant (blackmail or extortion) or the hoarding of potential future resources (equipment, sales contacts) to leverage them against future losses or other potential gains. This is again not about ethics but the more basic human issues of survival. The Route to Sanity Abraham Maslow posited that human beings respond to their environment based on their fulfillment of basic needs and that these needs were hierarchical, meaning that more advanced needs could only be met when basic ones were fulfilled. Those needs included: (1) Physiological needs - needs of the flesh (i.e. oxygen, food, water, environmental comfort), (2) Safety and security - no threat of external damage or loss due to social environmental forces (i.e. rioting, extensive plague), (3) Needs of Love, Affection and Belongingness - the ability to feel love and affection are able to be freely expressed. This is necessary to overcome loneliness and alienation (both of which are often in major supply in some of the most successful organizations BECAUSE it keeps people dependent on the corporation to provide safety. An artificial dependence is engendered by the corporation (whether this condition is a conscious choice on the members of the corporation or not is another question), (4) Needs for Esteem - humans have a need for a stable, firmly based, high level of self-respect, and respect from others (5) Self Actualization can only be achieved when all the others are met. Self Actualization is that state when a person feels they are doing what "they were born to do". "A musician must make music, an artist must paint, and a poet must write." These needs make themselves felt in signs of restlessness. The person feels on edge, tense, lacking something, in short, restless. If a person is hungry, unsafe, not loved or accepted, or lacking self-esteem, it is very easy to know what the person is restless about. It is not always clear what a person wants when there is a need for self-actualization. The hierarchic theory is often represented as a pyramid, with the larger, lower levels representing the lower needs, and the upper point representing the need for self-actualization. Maslow believes that the only reason that people would not move well in direction of self-actualization is because of hindrances placed in their way by society (poor education, consumerism, "affluenza", reality television). He states that education is one of these hindrances. He recommends ways education can switch from its usual person-stunting tactics to person-growing approaches. Maslow states that educators should respond to the potential an individual has for growing into a self-actualizing person of his/her own kind. Life Imitates Art (People Reflect their Environment) I question the entire argument of this original post in that I can respect that corporations, as engines of employment, have an expectation to pay a wage and expect that certain responsibilities are to be met by its workers. But I also believe that the corporation, as the employer, has the implied "Noblesse oblige" (an expression used to imply that with wealth, power and prestige come responsibilities, particularly to those dependent or less fortunate than the noble or in this case corporation) to ensure that its workers are given every opportunity to prosper along with the corporation when times are good and to suffer as little as possible during times of duress and shortage. "Noblesse oblige" also implies that the rich and powerful should provide examples of behavior above and beyond the minimal standards of decency in order to encourage it in everyone. And to be fair, Maslow posited what would be necessary to address the real issues of people. I will also list them because ultimately until corporations embrace these ideas, they will continue to have the same issues (lack of loyalty, corporate espionage, staff instability) because people's real issues have not been met. The ten points Maslow thought needed addressing were: We should teach people to be authentic, to be aware of their inner selves and to hear their inner-feeling voices. We should teach people to transcend their cultural conditioning and become world citizens. We should help people discover their vocation in life, their calling, fate or destiny. This is especially focused on finding the right career and the right mate. We should teach people that life is precious, that there is joy to be experienced in life, and if people are open to seeing the good and joyous in all kinds of situations, it makes life worth living. We must accept the person as he or she is and help the person learn their inner nature. From real knowledge of aptitudes and limitations we can know what to build upon, what potentials are really there. We must see that the person's basic needs are satisfied. This includes safety, belongingness, and esteem needs. We should refreshen consciousness, teaching the person to appreciate beauty and the other good things in nature and in living. We should teach people that controls are good, and complete abandon is bad. It takes control to improve the quality of life in all areas. We should teach people to transcend the trifling problems and grapple with the serious problems in life. These include the problems of injustice, of pain, suffering, and death. We must teach people to be good choosers. They must be given practice in making good choices. So does the article make a good point about watching your workers during times of economic strife to be sure that they won't walk away with corporate secrets? Yes. But that truth is mitigated by the simple fact that if you were treating your workers in a way that showed them you respected them, that you valued them, that you made every effort to be fair and equitable with them, that you treated them (and by proxy, their families) with dignity (no matter whether the company prospered or faltered) you would be less likely to have to worry about those things. Peoples ethics would not be challenged, because as self actualized beings, their ethics would not be malleable in the first place. Thaddeus Howze Technology Superhero Hayward, California References: (1) Dictionary.reference.com (2) Wikipedia (noblesse oblige) (3) Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs from Psychology - The Search for Understanding, by Janet A. Simons, Donald B. Irwin and Beverly A. Drinnien West Publishing Company, New York, 1987

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

We don't have any pre-recession data. For all we know the responses were exactly the same when the economy was up. Some of the numbers are appalling, but without a "before the recession" set of numbers, it's statistically invalid to blame them on the economy. "Lies, damn lies, and statistics"

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

I think the title says a lot. Primarily that ethics are relative to circumstance. Which gets to the issue of ethics vs. morality. Which of course some folk don't recognize as an issue. Ethics, if they are to be ethics, need to unalterably exist without subjection to IT, or any other career field. 2 cents. etu

patclem
patclem

Wouldn't you want to have the reduction list to see if you're on it, or someone close to you? Or maybe someone that's critical to your project? Wouldn't you want your contacts list so you could reach out to people that owe you favors for some help? Would a company laying people off deny that person the information they may need to network and find a job? I hope not. Stealing confidential information on the other hand, is inexcusable.

Cerebral*Origami
Cerebral*Origami

If you expect your employees to be ethical you have to treat them ethically. Business ethics don't exist. When companies will do anything to destroy the competition they have no basis to cry foul when the same attitude is applied to them. Granted people should be inherently ethical/moral, but it's a lot easier to make excuses if the person/company they are going to act unethically towards has already treated them or others poorly. A simple example is that employers want their employees to give them 2 weeks notice but the employer won't do the same for the employee. I realize that once someone knows they are going to be let go the need to be removed from the building but simply providing 2 weeks pay would equalize the equation. Also the desperation felt by those let go is not trivial. This country is one the worse for looking after its people. The other thing that makes it possible for people who would otherwise act in an ethical manner is that a company is an abstract construct. Many of these people would not steal from another person under any circumstances but a company is a faceless blob there is no emotional connect. For myself I'd like to think I'd act ethically no matter what. I will admit that I have been in a situation where I was tempted to lash out. I was hired with the promise of a decent salary with benefits once I had completed the initial project. When I finished the project I was let go and the guy who hired me smirked at me and said I really only needed you for this one project. I had turned down other jobs because of what I had been promised and here this was not only telling me he lied to me but he was smirking about it. With this kind of ethics from the corporate end, it's not surprising so many people feel no loyalty to their employers. When they're treated like disposable resources why should they feel any loyalty?

Steve Romero
Steve Romero

According to Merriam-Webster's dictionary, ethics is "the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation." People are not born with morals. The manifestation of this moral duty and obligation in any individual is driven by the environment (society) in which the individual exists. Short of solving the problems with our society, employers can only attempt to locally influence and manage the conditional and fluctuating moral duty and obligation of its workers - a major challenge. Steve Romero, IT Governance Evangelist http://community.ca.com/blogs/theitgovernanceevangelist/

tbichard
tbichard

We in the U. S. should be ashamed of ourselves. Unfortunately this survey, I believe, is a reflection of many of our ethics and morals in the U.S.

addicted2speed
addicted2speed

It's a little sad that some of these posts have referenced a necessity to do these things, even going so far as saying that they're not unethical, or that they are necessities of survival - even referencing "the CEO's do it, why can't I". It is exactly these kinds of comments and attitudes that create apparent lack of ethics in the American workforce. Just because the CEO does something blatantly illegal or unethical, does not mean that everyone in the company must follow suit. Perhaps I'm an eternal optimist (or perhaps you think I'm sitting on my high horse) but I believe there are always alternatives. What distinguishes us from all other creatures on Earth is our ability to decline things that would otherwise support our mere survival, for reasons other than ourselves... aka ethics. Contact Information: Taking contact information that you already have access-to, isn't such a big deal. You had access to them anyway, and you can find all that information on the Internet these days anway. No one will prosecute over this. But blatantly stealing physical assets from the company (power tools), that is highly unethical... not to mention illegal. Please note, I'm not defending or justifying corporate leadership's poor judgement by any means. I am suggesting that we can either choose to "rise above the muck" as saigman suggests, or we can take the easy road of "he did it so that means I can do it too".

gadsfasdfasfadfs
gadsfasdfasfadfs

Americans are more afraid than those in the UK and Holland, because the social safety net (unemployment, disability, welfare benefits, food stamps, health insurance) is not as strong in the US. If Americans lose their jobs, they can fall through the cracks much more easily. That is why they are willing to take more desperate measures.

selkiedee
selkiedee

I think it's ironic that we're discussing the lack of ethics among workers, considering that the leaders of major corporations have shown their criminal disregard of ethics, and workers' and stockholders' welfare. We look to our leaders to set examples and trends. It seems that they've been successful, especially in the U.S.!

esterrett
esterrett

While I agree with the premise of thhis post, I don't think some of the responses necessarily indicate unethical behavior. Accessing a redundancy list merely levels the playing field with management as long as it's used for personal planning and not for blackmail or bullying. Taking company customer and contact lists can be used as an aid in the job search. Again, if it's used for that purpose alone it shouldn't be classified as unethical.

JamesRL
JamesRL

often mix a little truth and a little creative fiction. There is a recession. It may have started with a credit crunch, but now its hit consumer confidence, and that has caused people to stop buying stuff, especially in my industry. I don't disagree you have to be smart. If we are hurting our competitors are as well, and if we are smarter than they are, we may end up stronger when things start to pick up. James

santeewelding
santeewelding

But I'd never heard it. Within five minutes of reading it, I was repeating it at a chance meeting with two other proprietors. Made for the second belly laugh in five minutes. Thanks.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

until you described yourself as a technology superhero..... LMAO For those who didn't want to wade through the above. It's says only a complete idiot expects to be treated ethically by people they are unethical with.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I bet you'd get a similar spread of responses in other discipline. Except politicians.... As for different countries, well they are different societies and so have different ethics. You can't compare two thical frameworks for validity, only how close they are to your own. Work 80 hours a week was an informative one. Is that a good or bad? Typical survey, think of what results you want and then ask the questions to get them.

jsaubert
jsaubert

I've always saw statistics like this as a mathematical manipulation of what people are *willing* to admit. All those numbers say to me is that Americans are more willing to be honest about their dishonesty! If we're to take the numbers at face value then it also indicates that Americans are more willing to take a pay cut, work 80 hours a week and are even willing to take everyone to the local bar to keep their jobs. No idea what that means in the long run.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

is our non survival behavior, which runs from giving your life for a competitor, to slowly roasting it's young alive. Animals have ethics, humans have desires, some of which are ethical.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

it's a price worth paying to avoid the problems and costs of a massive welfare state. Certainly the people in power in the US do, course they don't need welfare personally.....

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

I would really like to see some more digging into these results. For example, look at employees that feel as though their management is on the up-and-up, and see how their responses stack up against those where the employees feel their management are a bunch of criminals. Conversely, look at the responses of employees that feel like they are treated fairly vs. those that feel like they're being screwed over, and I'd imagine you'd see a strong variance in the results. Like you said, 'leadership' in the United States is in a pretty sad condition, generally speaking. It would be hard for the CEO of GM to come down on a plant worker for walking away with a cordless drill and be seen as anything other than a hypocrite. It is hard to rise above the muck when everyone that you'd look to for guidance/an example is walking away with as much as they possibly can.

JamesRL
JamesRL

Accessing confidential information is a breach of ethics. Period. You are violating the privacy of the owners of the list, and of those who are slated for layoff. At my firm that would be grounds for firing as its against corporate policies that all employees are required to read and sign. As for customer lists and contact lists, much depends on the details. I would not be allowed to print off any reports from company systems, but I might be allowed to take my email contacts. The rules are usually different for sales people though. James

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Competitors? Their loss if they sink. If you give into the hype and remove all of your normal efforts, yes there will be a recession, one you have created for yourself. Don should have left his ads up, kept his free condiments going out to his happy customers and completely ignored the Rick's recession fears.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

While I first heard it when I was 16 at a sales management course, it rings true over and over again. Not just for a recession but for those times when the company wants to see more sales before investing in marketing efforts. Funny story but dead accurate too.

BFilmFan
BFilmFan

I was thinking that was a good description for Tony Stark when he is wearing the Iron Man armor. :) Hell, I wanna be a Technology Superhero. Is there a school for that or something?

jck
jck

my friends all over Europe are in shock when I told them that I have worked for periods of months working 60-80 hour weeks. They can't believe workers get treated like that here. They told me...it might be fine for a short time to get something done, but that most employers there don't do that because it's unhealthy to overwork your people and that negatively affects their business. Hence, why I am putting in for a job in Holland. If my business doesn't take off, I will be moving across the pond.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

You mean I'm more likely to be retained if I work only 80 hours?

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

to keep their jobs. Of course in the UK and the Netherlands it means we keep having to pay shed loads of taxes to afford our welfare state. Not sure which is the lesser of those two evils....

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

is that we reap a harvest from seed sown by the dead. Of course, we use that harvest to engage in behavior inimical to our survival.

gadsfasdfasfadfs
gadsfasdfasfadfs

the people who don't currently need help don't want to pay to help anyone else. And that's how 1% of the people get 33% of the wealth. I'd rather my tax dollars go toward helping people in need than to killing people in other countries.

jck
jck

If it's part of your job until your termination of employment, it is not a breach of ethics. For example, in my jobs i have admin access to everything including budget, payroll, HR, all emails, voicemail, etc. I could know anything said, written, or where-to info. Also, the use of such information would also be the grounds for whether or not it was unethical. If I worked on a project and knew what was being bid then I am not being unethical. If I was laid-off, then went to a friend who worked for a competitor and told him what to bid to undermine my former employer...that is unethical. However, it stands to be pondered...in company lay-offs and downsizing...how ethical is it when they layoff project producers and keep overhead and positions of other sorts that don't generate revenue like administration and management? Isn't it more ethical and responsible to shareholders to eliminate decision makers in lieu of keeping those who keep the profit bottom line coming in? There are many "ifs" and "buts" and "ors" involved in determining how it is gained and use. I can tell you tho, I've never taken information from one job and used it on another. Ever. I have copies of some my source code from various things, but I never hand private data or code to another employer. I have kept contact with people from former positions and made sure to cover my bases and hear what is available. Never can trust an employer to be as faithful to you as you are demanded/expected to be to them.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Accessing confidential information about yourself is not a breach of ethics. Keeping information about me confidential from me, is....

gclarkso
gclarkso

The real point here is, any body who would try to access confidential information with out authority has all ready streched there ethics. This at one point was called hacking and was considered reason for dismial.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Which I've always done, and now even more so.

jck
jck

My friends in Den Haag also said I could live with them. Both of their children are grown and one moved out and lives in Amsterdam now. I might just do it. Means I'd have to put stuff in storage here tho. I'm not getting rid of certain things...that's for sure. But, I'm also scheduled to travel there in Feb 2010. I'll get a look at it and see what I think. If I haven't made my fortune by then, I think it will be time to move overseas.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Nice place, nice people. High taxes though. They are back on the needed skills, though if you qualify, it's 30% tax free.....

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Between cheap for standard hours and not too expensive on overtime. :p

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Generally they turn out to be large voting blocks...... Instead of shooting people, now that I can easily agree with. As always it's balance that's required. After twenty + years of funding the welfare state, should I end up out of work, I deserve welfare. Unfortunately they've given it all it all to people who've never contributed and have no desire or intention to do so, even though they are capable, such as the banking industry, utility and infrastructure shareholders and other f'ing politicians.

JamesRL
JamesRL

In my company it would be a definite no, as we all signed a form that clearly states that these kinds of documents are proprietary and not to be shared. You never know if someone at your new employer is the spouse of one of your existing competitors. We actually had an incident where a leaving employee asked a supervsor if she could take policy docs for a similar purpose (she was moving from one call centre to another, but not in a competitive situation). The supervisor who said yes was fired. On the other hand, if your boss gives you the go ahead, then you should feel free to go ahead. Then the weight is on him to make the right call. In many small companies they wouldn't care at all. James

GSG
GSG

I've written some user manuals and training manuals for several of our systems. I want to take those with me as an example of my writing and training skills. Is this ethical, or unethical? Here's more info... The (I hope) new employer does not use any of these systems and never will as they are from a soon to be extinct product line that the vendor has replaced with something totally different. So, there's no way that this could impact the vendor that we purchased the product from, and neither could it have any sort of impact on my current employer. Now, again, ethical or unethical?

JamesRL
JamesRL

I too have had access to data such as where people are surfing (in minute detail), their emails etc. But I didn't go looking - I only used that privelege to either troubleshoot and issue or learn the system. Intent is everything. If you go looking for information with the intention of doing something other than your job, then its unethical. Interestingly enough the issue was illustrated in my morning paper: http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/562217 A senior city staffer ordered the CIO for the city to restore and review the Mayor's emails. Somehow copies of them ended up in the hands of the mayor's rival. The person who restored is still a city employee, the person ordering the restore is no longer an employee. I've done layoffs and I've been laid off. I was always productive, but sometimes organizations are forced to rationalize, and that means making them do less. James

jck
jck

Just disheartening when you bust ass, and you never get crap. I've never gotten a bonus anywhere, and I know I did better work than some who did. And, it's mainly because I don't kiss ass or play the office political games. They hired me to learn technology and use it to their best advantage; not to hang around and be a butt sniffer. I will never forget two things that happened at that job where my research made them millions. After I made them a ton of money, they moved me off my own project and put some junior programming assistant on it to finish it (a money save thing, i guess...but i ended up there twice a week for 2-3 months to explain stuff to him), then put me on another project where the Prog. Mgr. and Chief Sys. Eng. let the schedule slip 2-3 months into the development phase because the customers wanted changes. All the engineers were at that time working 60-70 hour weeks to catch it up because of that. When we finished phase 1, we were all tired and needed a break but knew we had to finish. The Prog. Mgr. who said she would "be right there with us working to get it done" took a week off and went to a spa with her $10k bonus the corp gave her for completing phase 1. You never saw so many pissed-off engineers. The other was when I was getting ready to leave there. I was talking with my "mentor" about leaving and all and that my review was 3 weeks late already (basically 3 weeks of pay difference I should have gotten). He goes: "Oh...well...since you're leaving, we're just not going to do your evaluation and put in for that pay difference for you." I should have sued. The place I work now is okay. Pretty laid back for now, but I'm waiting for the ball to drop and things go crazy here. I just hope I can get my business setup up and get on my own. I really am sick of working for others.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Maybe we should be grateful for them providing us with the opportunity. Not deluded, flat out dishonest, or too stupid to live. Which begs the question why they are still there and we aren't, in both cases.

JamesRL
JamesRL

Truth is, layoffs may be planned to deliver results, but there are no guarentees in life. You may lay off the wrong people. You may off too many people and gut your good performers, you may not lay off enough. That first layoff, the guy was right I did do better by finding another job. James

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Whan they start salving their own conscience telling me it's for the greater good, then I get p1ssy :p

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I'll just GREP my name. Make the window, one line high and hit Ctrl-F. As soon as someone violates my privacy, they lose theirs. Keeping private information about me from me, is a breach of privacy by any ethical definition, though may be not a legal one.

JamesRL
JamesRL

I've never asked my current employer for a raise or promotion or any recognition, but I've gotten it all, due to my performance. And other places I've worked at have been similar. The place that laid me off promoted me twice in 2.5 years. I can't complain. My industry is being hit very hard right now. I'm sure our competitors and ourselves will be making cuts. Our customers are making headlines, closing their doors. I think while cuts are inevitable, cutting too deep can cripple you when the turnaround comes. But don't cut enough and you may have to increase your prices and that is a death spiral too. James

jck
jck

[i]If you were installing systems, the company has to project new sales to keep you employed and my guess is that they foresaw a slow down in sales and therefore installs. Not suggesting that was the right cut to make or that they couldn't cut elsewhere. To a certain extent its like crystal ball reading.[/i] Actually, what happened was: a) they bumped their rate even tho i was tasked with no more duties and there was a tech market slow down...because it was "part of the contract". They couldn't let go of that raise and keep me there a lot longer. They were in it for the short term gain. b) after the client, a Fortune 500 company, ended the contract, i went to programming software for them for a few months. i completed that software for them in a reasonable schedule. c) when that ended, they had other employment contracts to fill. however, they decided rather than to send me to 2 weeks of training to learn another system, they were going to lay me off and try to get someone else from the outside. They didn't offer me to take a paycut or anything even though i had been a profitable employee for about 2 years, learned new technologies in weeks, etc. They were all about the here and now, quick profits, etc. There were some good people there, but the management was evidently a joke since they lost contracts left and right because of mismanagement and not making concessions that would bring in long term profit. I worked at another company and created a concept R&D project that got them millions in financing from customers, but I got a $500 a year raise (essentially cost of living). That was when I first realized...business had lost all value for employees who put out and did stellar jobs, and was more concerned about just having someone who could "do the work". Hence, why I am trying to get my own business going and flourishing...so I can make the decisions and do what is right for me.

JamesRL
JamesRL

I negotiated a deal with our PC supplier that saved us $120,000 in one year. I was a manager. I did it without anyone from purchasing to help - I did the work and they signed on the bottom line. Of course there was no guarentee I could do that again... If you were installing systems, the company has to project new sales to keep you employed and my guess is that they foresaw a slow down in sales and therefore installs. Not suggesting that was the right cut to make or that they couldn't cut elsewhere. To a certain extent its like crystal ball reading. After being laid off from my first computer job so many years ago, the director looked me in the eye and said, you are better than this job, you will find one that gives you more challenges and pays you more money and that will make you happier. And of course he was right. I would suggest getting mad or depressed hurts many candidates. Thats why most books suggest you not apply for a new job if you haven't come to terms with the old one and put it behind you. If you take the anger into the interview, chances are you won't get hired. James

jck
jck

I remember when I got laid off in 2001. I was making almost $200 an hour for my company, and in the 5.5 months on the project I made them enough to pay for myself and 3 other people and our benefits at the corp for the entirety of a year. But, they decided to lay me off and "cut costs". Of course, they kept management and directors and project analysts around. Not the people who were installing the systems to make the money. I didn't know I was gonna be laid off til the day the director came over and took me to a conference room and told me. After he was done, he goes "you're taking this better than I thought you would". I looked at him and went "Well, getting mad or crying doesn't help me get another job...does it?"

JamesRL
JamesRL

The poster to whom I was replying mentioned a list of those to be laid off. Surely that is confidential information about others, and a breach of their privacy. If I were laying you off, I would be keeping that information from you, and anyone else not required to know, until I had given you the information first. I ran into this a while back. A friend who I'd worked for at another company, had hired me, and I had been there two years when a management shakeup had happened and the new boss had been assigned to layoff 25% of the staff. I did the math. I figured I would be laid off, and I went to my boss (who was also my friend) with my concerns. He didn't tell me I was being laid off. I may have been in shock when the layoff did happen, but I still think he did the right thing by not divulging information that was to be confidential (until the date of the layoff). James