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Ethics, Shmethics

By steve - Posted on 14 September 2010

"Ethical behavior" - conforming to accepted standards of conduct

How do you feel about ethics?

It doesn't really matter how you feel about ethics because ethics aren't something you feel, they are something you are judged on by others...

If you want to be truly great, if you want to change your IT world, you must commit to ethical behavior. To do so, you first need to explore what that means in the context of IT.

When you work in IT, you'll be exposed to a lot of confidential information, personal emails, websurfing habits, financial information, and opportunities to do harm to others simply by using your skills or just performing your job. You'll need to think about this and what you'll do, before it happens.

If they are organized, the places you work will have ethical statements and rules you need to follow and that is a good starting point. Other places will have unwritten rules and expectation that you need to ferret out. Find out what is expected and be prepared to follow these rules OR find out that you aren't willing to. If you aren't willing, don't work there. This works both ways. If you are expected to do something you consider to be unethical and you can't prevent it, withdraw your services in a quick, professional manner.

Here are the ethics I live by:

  • Always follow the 10 commandments.
  • Stay legal (follow local, state, and federal laws).
  • Report discovered criminal activity to the proper authorities.
  • Report organizational ethics violations to management.
  • Work for whomever is paying you. This means accurate billing to everyone. Don't do side jobs when your main job is paying you. Don't bill more than one client for the same time.
  • Limit your personal time. You may need to check personal email, makes personal calls, write your blog, and use the restroom, but does the client/employer expect to pay you for that?
  • Use only properly licensed software.
  • You've been blessed, so give something back.
  • Treat others the way the way you would want to be treated.
  • If I mess up, the client doesn't pay.
  • Be professional.
  • Have a written ethical commitment and be willing to share it.
  • If all else fails, remove myself from the situation in a professional manner, regardless of the financial situation.

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