Ethics and technical writing

Subject: Ethics and technical writing
From: "Darren Barefoot" <darren -at- capulet -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2003 13:54:35 -0700

In light of all of this heated discussion about security clearances, I
thought I'd raise a related topic. When job hunting (permanent or
contract), how much do your ethics impact your decision making? For
example, a while back, I became somewhat uncomfortable when I learned
that my company had signed a deal with a major tobacco company (to
worsen matters, the project was tapping youth markets in South East
Asia). Clearly it didn't trouble me that much, as I didn't quit or
anything. It's never come up, but I think I'd be more seriously opposed
to working for a company involved in military hardware or software.

But then there's the problem of degrees of separation. I used to work
for a company who sold software to a company who used it to help them
build a military base. How much more acceptable is that? And, of course,
in the current job market, there's always the 'beggars can't be
choosers' issue.

I'd be curious to hear people's thoughts:

Do you inquire as to a potential employer's customers?
Have you turned down a job because of the nature of a potential
employer's customers, products or services?
If you've turned down a job, did you explain to the employer why?

Or anything else you might have to say on the subject. I've cited my
views on particular issues as an example, and they're not up for debate
on this list (if you care to discuss them off-list, feel free). Cheers.

Darren Barefoot
Words. Words. Words.


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