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Re: Positive meditations (relaxation) or outright theft?

by tjh (Curate)
on May 14, 2002 at 14:40 UTC ( #166447=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Positive meditations (relaxation) or outright theft?

    "The businessmen and managers alike seem to have realized this extraordinary ability of a programmer to ponder and analyze..."

Well, hmm. Ok. So do many other non-programmer humans. While I may sympathize, let's not overdo it on this. And, just from my viewpoint, let's not use this supposed trait as a justification for non-contributive behavior. (Not that any of us would ever actually justify our behavior.)

    "However, there are a few things about me I find disturbing. At my place of work, I would find myself ‘daydreaming' ..."

Self inspection is a Good Thing.

    " mind tells me that it alright to allow myself this form of ‘natural’ relaxation..."

And maybe it's right, maybe not. It's a good thing you're in control of it. "Integrity, bravery and ethics are often achieved by overcoming one's own mind."©(lol)

    "This seems to strengthen my initial point. ", "...if the program turns out to be of no benefit to the company, should this monk’s action be regarded as an act of theft? But if his program is deemed useful, he should receive a tap on the shoulder, right?"

"should", lots of "should's". Should who? Should who do what? My comments in that thread were really just idea starters for someone on the other end of a relatively unknown situation, not intended as fixed opinions, or rightness. For me, there are just no absolutely correct, objective answers for this. I'd guess most of us have seen a scenario where they did something good, were acknowledged for it, and reprimanded anyway. Plus I'd guess we've all seen the behaviors between the extremes.

Is the company wrong if they release an employee for such behavior - even if the result is good? Yes they are, and no they aren't. Whose opinion or viewpoint are we using to answer? Assuming they released someone for this, maybe they should have been more forgiving in order to reward or promote this person's initiative. But then again, maybe the owners are aware of dozens of such stories in the company - and no real actual 'work' is getting done for all the volunteer self-started/company-funded projects!

It's hard to be absolutist about this issue. Too many variables, including the definitions of right and wrong, and the infinite variables of the humans involved.

  • Who's the employee? An experienced hand who's made many valuable contributions that management is aware of and has earned h(er|is) tenure? A newbie who can be forgiven over-achieving as a sign of eagerness? An employee who's known as someone that probably can do such a project but is already gathered a reputation as a malcontent who sometimes infects others with their discontent or disagreements?

  • Who's the management? Are they owners too, or hired guns covering their asses? Are they wide-awake and clear thinking, or are they emotional power-players?

  • What was the 'project' in question? Is the result so irrefutable that nothing but reward can be given? That's how good it can be, for instance (which can cause intense political jealousies in the strangest places, btw.)
Everyone's different. Every company is largely different. Generalizing rules and behaviors makes consultants rich, and sometimes victimizes unwary employees :) What's right for you is for you to decide, same for the company - and neither of you are required to like the other's decision...

    "Just where do we draw the fine line between outright theft and useful form of relaxation, self enhancement (in terms of additional knowledge gained from mind stimulating activities such as say building a JAPH :-), or indirect investment into the operations of the company (such as the case with a thread I brought up here)? "

Every company I've ever been aware of expects to benefit by several multiples of what it costs them to have you there providing your services. Where's that line drawn for you?

    "’s already rather a common knowledge that programmers are able to solve challenging problems while involved in seemingly unrelated activities..."

I'm saving this for future my future business partners... :)

Ultimately, I guess I think that if one has signed up to work, then one should do their job so well, make contributions that are so welcome, deliver beyond expectations - that having to worry about things like this isn't even an issue. And, if you are delivering abundantly, and no acknowledgment arrives - Run!

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Re: Re: Positive meditations (relaxation) or outright theft?
by vladb (Vicar) on May 14, 2002 at 15:03 UTC
    You are right, the reason I initiated this discussion was that I wasn't set on any given point. And you are right by saying:

    For me, there are just no absolutely correct, objective answers for this. I'd guess most of us have seen a scenario where they did something good, were acknowledged for it, and reprimanded anyway. Plus I'd guess we've all seen the behaviors between the extremes.

    I couldn't come up with any 'absolute' answer. There are always two sides of a coin. Being hired to to do programming in the first place, I think that minor distractions such as, say, reading more of perlop or playing with a JAPH may in the end be constructive. At my work, our bosses even discussed the idea of letting us (programmers) take a day or two off to study any area of Computer Science that might interest us. By letting us enhance our knowledge on our own time (although still paid for by the company), they make an investment in their company's 'knowledge bank'. Besides, they don't have to pay even more cash for a 3rd party course.

    Again, I didn't mention this in my original post, but on many occassions I would find myself working significantly harder than called for by the bosses. In one particular case, I had to stay overnight to complete an important project. This was done completely on my own initiative. Had I not agreed to do so, no one would be there to complain. To sum up all, I do believe that my input into the company is matching or exceeding company's contributions towards my bi-weekly paycheque.

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