Re: Ethics and technical writing

Subject: Re: Ethics and technical writing
From: Andrew Plato <gilliankitty -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2003 21:43:34 -0700 (PDT)

"Darren Barefoot" <darren -at- capulet -dot- com> wrote ...

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

You asked for it... :-)

Every person makes their own choice. If you chose to turn down jobs because
they offend you, then that's your prerogative. However, I fear a topic like
this is a red herring for moralizing to each other over how "my ethical stick
is longer, harder, and more professional than your ethical stick." Which does
not interest me in the least.

My second thought is that ethics tend to be convenient when you have choices.
When you have no choice, ethics become much more muddy. Instincts begin to take
over. In other words, its easy to moralize about work from the comfort of a
putty colored cubicle. But when you're desperate for survival, those ethics
tend to disappear.

My last thought is that before anybody moralizes about businesses ethics,
corporate responsibility, and all those other high-minded topics, I'd encourage
them to talk with people who actually own and run a business. And I don't mean
a small, single-person consulting firm. I mean a real business that employs a
sizable staff. When its your money on the line, your attitude about
responsibility, accountability, and business ethics gets altered -
significantly. You realize that the ethical cheeseburger gets slathened with a
lot of unnecessary toppings. The meat of the issue is almost always survival.
And businesses, like individuals, must make hard decisions to survive.

Like it or lump it, life isn't fair. Like hunters say "I don't have to outrun
the bear, just you."

Andrew Plato

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