Author Topic: Being worthy of your hire vs not being exploited  (Read 1663 times)

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Offline ggreg

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Being worthy of your hire vs not being exploited
« on: September 04, 2013, 09:21:03 AM »
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  • An engineer that helped build a nuclear power plant finally retired after decades of loyal service and was given a clock for his mantlepiece as a "thank you".

    Six weeks after he retired, he received a frantic call from the new plant engineer.  "Alarms are going off and we can't figure out what is wrong!"

    "I'll be right there," the retired engineer said.  He hung up and raced to the plant, running into the control room.  The new engineer quickly briefed the retiree on the situation.

    The retired engineer thought quietly for a minute, then calmly reached out and pressed one flashing red button among dozens of similar flashing buttons.  The alarm claxons ceased blaring, and one by one all the other flashing lights stopped and the urgent warning messages disappeared.

    "Thank you so much," the new chief engineer cried.  "Please don't forget to submit a bill to us for your time."

    A week later, the new chief accountant called him at home and said, "I'm sorry, but I have an invoice here for TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS for what appears to be half a day of work, that is 10 times what our CEO makes.  Could you give us an itemised breakdown?"

    The retiree opened MS Word and typed

    Pressing Red Button:  $1
    Knowing Which Red Button To Press:  $9,999

    - - -


    Offline ggreg

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    Being worthy of your hire vs not being exploited
    « Reply #1 on: September 04, 2013, 09:35:08 AM »
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  • For those of you in jobs where the value you deliver has a direct impact on the bottom line and a very measurable one how do you measure the effort you expend versus your hire?

    For contractors and IT specialists, for example, if you were working on a T&M basis and you agreed 6 months to complete a piece of work, but then discovered a way you could do it in three months by using a new tool or a piece of Open Source programming would you

    a.  Work 2.5 days per week for the next 6 months?

    b.  Tell the client about your discovery and be content to collect half the money for the task and hope they appreciated your honesty and rewarded you with more work?

    Is there anything morally wrong, in your opinion, with quoting 6 months if you already know about the free open source code before you quote?  i.e. Overquoting on the basis that you will win on some contracts and lose on others?


    The problem is that in the world, scrupulous honesty is often not respected or rewarded.  Frankly sometimes it is not even noticed.  Even in government and local governement if budgets aren't all spent by the end of the financial year they are cut the following year.

    Many inventors and engineers have made millions, if not billions, of dollars due to their inventions for their employers and been given derisory rewards.  The synthetic diamond and the Post-it note are two items that spring to mind.  The Dilbert Cartoons are funny because people see a common truth in them.

    So how do other forum members handle this?  Clearly one extreme is a moral quagmire and the other extreme of scruplous honesty will leave you ripe for exploitation.


    Offline TCat

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    Being worthy of your hire vs not being exploited
    « Reply #2 on: September 04, 2013, 09:53:41 AM »
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  • The way I look at it is, If it is more money for me, a Catholic, who is part of the Catholic church, then it is more money for the Catholic church, which means that I can say I done 6 hours study when I got it done in 10 minutes, so I get paid all the same.

    I don't like having to lie, but I think the ends justify the means because money is a matter of survival. I cant go out and beg alms, id be locked up.
    Catholics need 2 things for their religion to thrive, peace and resources.
    If you don't have resources like money, you will have no church, or probably the extreme situation of not having somewhere to live, or probably somewhere to live that is dangerous. You need money to ensure your security in practical ways, this is how we get peace. If you have peace without resources, you are either lucky or in a monastery, but at any time something can happen that robs you of your habitat and interrupts your prayer life.
    Crux Sacra Sit Mihi Lux! Ne Draco Sit Mihi Dux!

    Offline Frances

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    Being worthy of your hire vs not being exploited
    « Reply #3 on: September 04, 2013, 04:25:45 PM »
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  •  :dancing-banana:You can go out and beg alms in New York without getting locked up, so long as you stay a step ahead or behind the police.  Lying is unacceptable.  If you promised a certain amount of time and did not need it, then get paid for the work and go, or find other work.  
    What do you think of this?  My nephew had a high school class in technology where the students took an on-line course through a local community college.  While the students did the course, the teacher sat at his desk and conducted his own business on his laptop, thus collecting a full-time teacher's salary of $85K AND his web business at the same time.  Aside from answering the occasional question, he did no actual teaching.  Were his actions a stroke of genius or unethical?
    The school district decided for the latter and terminated his job.  
     St. Francis Xavier threw a Crucifix into the sea, at once calming the waves.  Upon reaching the shore, the Crucifix was returned to him by a crab with a curious cross pattern on its shell.  

    Offline claudel

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    Being worthy of your hire vs not being exploited
    « Reply #4 on: September 04, 2013, 04:53:26 PM »
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  • Quote from: TCat
    I don't like having to lie, but I think the ends justify the means because money is a matter of survival.


    That you could utter the foregoing with a straight face compels the conclusion that either your religious formation was severely defective or else, no matter how good it was, it failed to make a dent in you.

    While the entirety of your comment was disturbing to read, this plain statement is inconceivable coming from a genuine Catholic, even from a dyed-in-the-wool conciliarist for that matter.

    Find yourself an orthodox spiritual director, and stay offline until you have set yourself on the right course.


    Offline Matto

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    Being worthy of your hire vs not being exploited
    « Reply #5 on: September 04, 2013, 05:03:54 PM »
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  • I don't think TCat knows a lot about the faith yet. I first noticed this when he said that deacons can hear confessions. In time he will learn more.
    In a Station of the Metro
    The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
    Petals on a wet, black bough.

    Offline wallflower

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    Being worthy of your hire vs not being exploited
    « Reply #6 on: September 04, 2013, 05:41:21 PM »
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  • If it were hourly pay, I would be honest and they would re-hire me because they like paying me less. But I would brainstorm ways to use the faster method as leverage. Re-write the contract or re-negotiate your terms for the same amount of time pay that it would take someone else. They're not paying you any more to do it in 3 months than they would pay anyone else to do it in 6, so I don't see why they would be against it. They aren't out in any way and actually benefit.

    Chances are that getting it done faster is good for the employer because they can get whatever it is up and running faster, thereby making more profit. It could be good for their bottom line and well worth it for them to pay the same amount for the job done in 3 months rather than 6. Then the guys who know your new way become more valuable and everyone is motivated to adopt your improvement. If you haven't given your secrets away, you could create a space for yourself as a consultant. Patent your idea and sell it or teach it. Maybe the employer would buy the idea and hire you as a consultant to others in the field. Either way you choose, you are working your field and making improvements on it but also being compensated justly for your great idea instead of being exploited for it.

    If those avenues are impossible or unsuccessful for whatever reason then I would quote honestly anyway because my honesty isn't between me and my employer, it's between me and God. It would be disappointing that I couldn't leverage the idea for better pay, but in the end I got paid 3 months wage for 3 months work, so I can't really complain. I'm just free 3 months earlier to work on something else.  

    I would not overquote as a policy. If a person gets so few contracts that they are starving and need to be dishonest with whoever does give them work, just so that can get more money to tide them over other lost contracts, then perhaps it's time for a career change? Even if it's so common that it becomes industry standard, it's really nothing more than a fancy way of saying "Everyone else is doing it!" which we know doesn't fly in morality. If they aren't starving but are overquoting out of greed, that answers itself.

    If the company has to raise prices to pay for the overquoting and pilfering of time that that field is doing, the cost gets passed on to the consumer so if a person is going to overquote they should be able to overdeliver, otherwise it is just theft from each one of those people affected.

    I may just be uneducated but I don't understand the benefit of "use it or lose it" budgets. My husband worked logistics for a few years and once had to spend $107,000 in 4 hours when extra money dropped suddenly, use it or lose it not just that year but that day! It's not that they didn't eventually use what was spent but that method pretty much guarantees abuse in the organizations set up like that. There should be a budget set, then incentive to come in below budget, so the extra monies can be redirected elsewhere where it may be more needed. The stress and pressure he was under to spend every dollar every year -- or else -- was ridiculous.

    Offline ggreg

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    Being worthy of your hire vs not being exploited
    « Reply #7 on: September 05, 2013, 08:10:59 AM »
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  • Quote from: wallflower
    If it were hourly pay, I would be honest and they would re-hire me because they like paying me less. But I would brainstorm ways to use the faster method as leverage. Re-write the contract or re-negotiate your terms for the same amount of time pay that it would take someone else. They're not paying you any more to do it in 3 months than they would pay anyone else to do it in 6, so I don't see why they would be against it. They aren't out in any way and actually benefit.


    You don't renegotiate your contract with a billion dollar firm like Oracle or SAP.  Big firms just don't work in that way.  They have a process and you fit into it.  Frankly, thinking about it, this is true for most firms with more than 100 employees.  They give you a standard consultancy agreement and you sign it.  You're assuming business people think rationally and without emotion.  If you lowered your rates, the MOST likely thing they would do is dump you because they would figure you were working for a competitor (and double dipping) or a lunatic or planning to set up your own company.  They would be suspicious as to why anyone would lower their rates and anyone doing that would more likely be treated with contempt.

    Businesses hire expensive consultants and pay CEOs and senior executives megabucks precisely because their boards and other senior management think "expensive is good", especially where there are not like-for-like comparisons or the deliverable is based on trust and trust is based on reputation.  Just like people buy Rolex watches and prestige cars.  Aston Martin does not make a cheap runabout for similar reasons.  People would not like or trust the DB9

    Quote from: wallflower

    If those avenues are impossible or unsuccessful for whatever reason then I would quote honestly anyway because my honesty isn't between me and my employer, it's between me and God. It would be disappointing that I couldn't leverage the idea for better pay, but in the end I got paid 3 months wage for 3 months work, so I can't really complain. I'm just free 3 months earlier to work on something else.  


    You'd be free in 3 months anyway.  Or, more accuately, you could be doing 2.5 days per week for another client and therefore not have all your income eggs in one basket.  No consultancy agreement is going to ban you from working for another firm, provided they are not a competitor.

    Quote from: wallflower

    I would not overquote as a policy. If a person gets so few contracts that they are starving and need to be dishonest with whoever does give them work, just so that can get more money to tide them over other lost contracts, then perhaps it's time for a career change?
     


    The nature of most consultancy or contracting is stopping and starting, feast and famine.  If you are engaged all year every year then you are not charging enough.  The nature of capitalism is supply and demand.  One's time is a limited resource and therefore you charge what the market will bear.  The optimum pricing point will give you gaps in your schedule, just as a company lending money does not aim for or wish to get a zero default rate on loans.  What it does is OPTIMIZE its default rates with it's acceptance rates to maximize its profits.

    What is wrong in principle with some of your clients paying you $70 per hour and other clients paying $100 per hour or even $140?  Provided both clients are happy with your output/product/service then why is that dishonest?  When you book a flight on a cheap airline and pay $50 for a ticket and the person sitting next to you on the flight has paid $200 have they been ripped off or treated dishonestly?  They each agreed to pay the price they paid for a service.  Perhaps the flight is more valuable to them.  Perhaps $200 is less important.

    The economic REALITY is that the $200 passenger is subsidising the cost of the $50 passenger.  It costs the airline more than $50 to fly you in jet fuel alone, but as a business they have chosen to use a dynamic pricing model to sell airline travel.



    Quote from: wallflower

    Even if it's so common that it becomes industry standard, it's really nothing more than a fancy way of saying "Everyone else is doing it!" which we know doesn't fly in morality. If they aren't starving but are overquoting out of greed, that answers itself.


    Low cost airlines function better as businesses than the way airlines used to price tickets.  The innovators changed the pricing model so now "everyone is doing it".

    Greed.  This is the debatable point.  Is it greedy to charge $50, 500, 5000, 50,000 per hour for your time if business are happy to pay that?  If it is, then perhaps all Trads who wish to get to heaven should be smallholding farmers and make a fixed 20% profit margin over input costs to cover for failed crops and the basic costs of living.

    By charging $300 dollars per hour the better contractor also gives the junior contractor an opportunity to work for a living wage.  If the expensive consultant charged $30 per hour because he did not want to be greedy, while the shareholders of the firm would benefit through higher profits, the junior contractor would never leave his burger flipping job in Mc Donalds.

    The Soviet Union had very cheap prices for things.  Soviet citizens could go on cheap holidays, buy cheap food, cheap clothes, utilities were peanuts.  People always had excess money.  Unfortunately there were also a lot of empty shelves because supply and demand were not matched.

    Should Catholics ignore the economic paradigm they live in and behave the same regardless, or earn what they are able to and do some good with their excess wealth?


    Offline ggreg

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    Being worthy of your hire vs not being exploited
    « Reply #8 on: September 05, 2013, 08:47:04 AM »
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  • Quote from: wallflower


    If the company has to raise prices to pay for the overquoting and pilfering of time that that field is doing, the cost gets passed on to the consumer so if a person is going to overquote they should be able to overdeliver, otherwise it is just theft from each one of those people affected.



    Companies raise prices based on demand, not input costs.  Apple IPads cost what they do because people are prepared to pay that much for them.  If Samsung suddenly came out with an IPad killer iPads would all be sold for a loss and the shareholders would take a hit regardless of the input costs (which would be the same)

    "Pilfering of time" is an interesting concept.  When one takes a coffee break in an office is one pilfering time from their employer?  Or says the midday Angelus?  Or has a long boozy lunch with a client or another employee and chats about golf for most of it.

    It's a judgement call really.  One has to be honest with oneself and say, is what I am delivering fair and equitable.  Generally speaking if they are paying your invoices, it is.  What keeps you "honest" is competition.

    If one runs their own business, is one oblidged morally to work as diligently as an employee employed by a business, in as much as one cannot cheat oneself of ones own wages.  My job for example is about concrete results not turning out widgets or entering data.  If I get those results nobody cares how I got them, so I take as many shortcuts as I can.

    I took two of my children for a 1km race yesterday and used $30 of gas to drive 80 miles (round trip) and paid $10 to enter them into the race.  If gas was a $50 per gallon instead of $10 I would probably not have taken them.

    So your suggestion of "theft from each one of those affected" is not really true in as much as theft is taking something without the permission or the owner of that thing.  When people buy an IPad for $440 dollars as opposed to $400 dollars they have agreed to pay that price in either case.  The Samsung tablet maker, who hired the cheaper or more "honest" contractor is therefore $140 cheaper, rather than $100 cheaper and presumably sells more units.

    Nobody is being stolen from regardless of what iPads cost.

    Offline ggreg

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    Being worthy of your hire vs not being exploited
    « Reply #9 on: September 05, 2013, 09:02:04 AM »
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  • Even greed and corruption have their own supply and demand equation.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/10019953/Greed-is-no-longer-good-study-finds.html


    Offline claudel

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    Being worthy of your hire vs not being exploited
    « Reply #10 on: September 05, 2013, 12:27:29 PM »
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  • Quote from: ggreg
    … The problem is that in the world, scrupulous honesty is often not respected or rewarded.  Frankly sometimes it is not even noticed. …

    So how do other forum members handle this? Clearly one extreme is a moral quagmire and the other extreme of scrupulous honesty will leave you ripe for exploitation.


    You deserve recognition and, yes, praise—especially, as a matter of simple justice, from those who, like me, frequently or usually disagree with you—for laboring to show the inexperienced, the uninformed, and the more or less wilfully ignorant that the dime-store socialism proclaimed by far too many commenters hereabouts is profoundly false (hence, un-Catholic), even when it issues from the mouth of a self-proclaimed believer rather than an unbeliever.* If more than a century's worth of idiotic prelates' cries that All We Need Is Love to just get along—at a level of material comfort that no prelate would ever tolerate for himself, needless to say—doesn't demonstrate that not all the holy water in the world will baptize radical economic misdirection and socialist evil-mindedness or sacramentally transform greed, envy, and jealousy in those who have been well styled the Undeserving Poor into legitimate claims upon their betters' purse, nothing will.** But hats' off for the attempt!

    The point you make about widely differing airline and hotel rates is too good to overlook (though it will be), not least because its model is a certain parable concerning workers in the field, some of whom get a certain flat fee—let's call it a hundred bucks, shall we?—for working an hour, while others get it for the work of an entire day. I don't dispute, of course, that the parable—one of whose central points is that God's justice is not man's and so one would do well to hold his tongue rather than piss and moan about it—is not meant to be an entry in a management consultant's handbook. (How many well-qualified potential employees, after all, will respond favorably to a stated caution that they should expect to see layabouts and incompetents paid as much as or more than they themselves are likely to get?) But if even a single reader gets a glimmer of understanding that if there is a just analogy to be drawn between economic justice and a math equation,*** the equation must look far, far less like 2 + 2 = 4 than like a third-order integration—whose form alone might take an hour to set up—then you will have done a good day's work.
    ___________________________________

    * Of course, you got half a dozen reflexive down thumbs, presumably because "everyone" knows you're evil. Half or more of them clearly came before the given comment was even read. Yet TCat's truly vicious and shocking paganism (which he displays on virtually every thread he "contributes" to) gets up-thumbed by at least one other moral midget, and several of those who pointed out his profound misdirection (disclaimer time: moi-même among them) got down-thumbed for doing so. Welcome to Tradville! Any resemblance to an all–Orthodox Jewish neighborhood is totally coincidental.

    ** I do disagree with your use of the expression "scrupulous honesty," since such an attitude is virtuous rather than otherwise. You ought to have said, I think, "overscrupulous 'honesty'". Overscrupulousness, after all, is at least a fault and is sometimes sinful, and when overscrupulosity is present, genuine honesty rapidly declines into "honesty."

    *** Like many other Yanks, I have spent a considerable time during the past forty-five years wondering why Brits and Ozzies shorten mathematics to maths, rather than to our American preference, which has clearly been anointed by the Lord Himself. If linguistic imperialism is not to fall into laugh-ridden contempt among the Great Unwashed, the Obama administration ought to threaten "surgical strikes" against maths users.


    Offline ggreg

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    Being worthy of your hire vs not being exploited
    « Reply #11 on: September 05, 2013, 12:33:27 PM »
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  • You're right, overscrupulous honesty is the term I meant.

    I was multi-tasking before my road trip.

    Offline OHCA

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    Being worthy of your hire vs not being exploited
    « Reply #12 on: September 05, 2013, 06:29:30 PM »
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  • Quote from: claudel
    Quote from: TCat
    I don't like having to lie, but I think the ends justify the means because money is a matter of survival.


    That you could utter the foregoing with a straight face compels the conclusion that either your religious formation was severely defective or else, no matter how good it was, it failed to make a dent in you.

    While the entirety of your comment was disturbing to read, this plain statement is inconceivable coming from a genuine Catholic, even from a dyed-in-the-wool conciliarist for that matter.

    Find yourself an orthodox spiritual director, and stay offline until you have set yourself on the right course.


    TCat is simply a troll.  I doubt he has any sort of Catholic background whatsoever.

    Offline OHCA

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    Being worthy of your hire vs not being exploited
    « Reply #13 on: September 05, 2013, 06:30:48 PM »
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  • Quote from: Matto
    I don't think TCat knows a lot about the faith yet. I first noticed this when he said that deacons can hear confessions. In time he will learn more.


    He is more interested in pontificating than learning.  I think he is a troll.

    Offline claudel

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    Being worthy of your hire vs not being exploited
    « Reply #14 on: September 05, 2013, 07:27:53 PM »
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  • Quote from: OHCA
    Quote from: Matto
    I don't think TCat knows a lot about the faith yet. I first noticed this when he said that deacons can hear confessions. In time he will learn more.


    He is more interested in pontificating than learning. I think he is a troll.


    The more I see of him, the more I fear you're correct in your assessment. That Frances thinks well of him is the only thing I know of that speaks in his defense.

     

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