No-Kill-Switch is about tech. Well, various aspects of tech: these related to software engineering and those related to project management (agile project management, to be precise) as well. But the key point is, that as it's related to tech and my professional life is all around tech, it's NOT possible to avoid the influence of my professional life on my blogging. Isn't it risky? Does it interfere with any kind of professional code of conduct? That's what this blog post is about.

First, my opinions are mine

Before I go for details, one more important remark that has already appeared here & there (in blog's welcome page, on my Twitter account bio, etc.):

My name is Sebastian Gebski and all you can read here are my private opinions. Not my employer's (current or past), not my bosses' (current or past), not even my team members'. Mine. Howgh.

Enterprises learn about social media

Social media popularity has skyrocketed few years ago, but many companies didn't figure out how to deal with them so far yet :D They usually have some dedicated policies, but these policies are either stratosphere-level generic or out-dated / not-applicable.

Anyway, they tend to have something in common - at least these two, critical bullet points:

  • don't reveal any confidential (non-public) information
  • remain professional, reasonable & respectful in your opinions on companies & individuals

At first glance, they looks reasonable (even ... obvious), but if you ask yourself what it really means 'to be respectful', doubts appear:

  • if something's shit, can I call it a shit?
  • is there a common measure of shitness in shit?
  • what's the required level of shit being shit to be publically named a shit?
  • what's the difference between general shitting and shitting within Enterprise A?

The Golden Rule

It's simpler than you think. Here's a golden rule to be followed:

Criticize demeanors & attitudes, not individuals or organizations.

What is more - these demeanors & attitudes should not be specific for one, particular organization / person (in other words: unique enough to bind them unequivocally), because:

  • your post won't be understandable for the readers who don't know / care about this organization / person
  • the overall value of your post will be very limited (to this particular org)
  • the closer you get to one, specific org's case, the closer you get to potentially revealing the information that may be somehow classified
  • if it's getting personal it's nothing more than a low blow - cheap and coarse

The thin border between DOes & DON'Ts

Let's consider one, particular (made up) case:

  1. The company I work for - Craftdudes Inc., uses Smalltalk.
  2. I try to be as good as possible, so I study Smalltalk, talk to people who work with Smalltalk, read books about Smalltalk, etc.
  3. The fact that I use Smalltalk in my work, surely broadens my perspective - no doubt about that at all.
  4. In the end, I come up with the conclusion (on my own) - Smalltalk sucks, because it's small (and size matters - or whatever other reasoning I have).

Can I write a post about my personal (negative) opinion on Smalltalk?

Of course I can. Because my opinion on Smalltalk is based on what Smalltalk is - its features, its usefulness, its crapiness in any context (not just Craftdudes Inc. context), etc. There's nothing specific about Crafdudes Inc. in this opinion.

If I say that Smalltalk sucks, does it mean that I make a public mockery of Craftdudes Inc. or affect it negatively in any other way?

I don't care. If someone knows that Craftdudes Inc. use Smalltalk and my blog post / article is about Smalltalk in general (not Craftdudes Inc.) - this person could read any other generic Smalltalk opinion to come to the very same conclusion.

And back to my post - I didn't even mention Craftdudes Inc. What if I make a personal opinion on Ada (instead of Smalltalk) (the language that is not used by Craftdudes Inc.)? I shouldn't state such an opinion because if I do, am I not suggesting that Craftdudes Inc. are using Ada? You get this loop of madness, right?

Can I write a blog post about how Craftdudes Inc. (literally them) can't properly utilize the potential of Smalltalk? Or about how usage of Smalltalk negatively impacts Craftdudes Inc. financial results?

Of course I shouldn't. Just to make the differentiation clear: I can write that using SELECT statement in SmallTalk is the Himalayas of lamedom, but I can't write that Craftdudes Inc. suck because they use a SELECT statement. Capisce?

Maybe I shouldn't write anything about Smalltalk, because Craftdudes Inc. use it? Maybe someone in there is a fanboy of Smalltalk and I may hurt his feelings ...

Take your 'back to reality' pills. Please.

Stay on the ground, dude

In other words - if you read my words (in any blog post) and finding my criticism applicable to you (and / or your case) makes you feel offended - it's your problem, really. Everything I write about is NOT specific to any particular organization - lucky for me, I read that much, network that much, learn that much that my perspective is not limited to any particular case I work on right now.

You'll do yourself a favour, if you stop considering yourself being the hub of the universe and think a bit about what you've just read instead - you might get some thoughts (even if you disagree with my opinions), instead of being a prima donna.