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08/31/2005: "careful what you wish for"

It's nearly 10:30, and I'm already at home. Why? Well, I got my wish - I'm no longer working for the company I was contracting with. Unfortunately, I didn't leave on my terms.

I was shown the door. You can imagine how great this feels.

Yesterday I was given a new task. They had a competitor's barbeque (the company makes barbeques) that they had sent to China to have duplicated. My task was to take one of the models apart and measure everything up in order to make new drawings. These drawings would be used by Quality to ensure the incoming Chinese parts were up to par.

I had some reservations about this. First, blatantly copying a competitor's barbeque (and sticking your logo on as if no one will notice or care) is at best a legal grey area and an ethical no-no. Asking a professional engineer (who is bound to act both ethically and legally) to assist you doing so just isn't going to fly. This morning I sent the president (the one who gave me my task) an e-mail explaining that I cannot in good faith continue with any activities that could violate patent laws. I did clarify that I would continue the part of the task that involved redesigning and improving the design.

Apparently, this just incensed the president. His position is that they always might infringe on patents, and that's just a part of doing business. He thought that my message showed distrust towards the company, and that means that I wasn't a good fit. (Well, at least we agree on something, if for entirely different reasons.) I was no longer welcome.

So, that's it. I'm out, but without any place to go. With only two days until I leave on vacation, I'm not going to worry too much about this week, but I'm going to do my level best to have something lined up for when I return on September 12th.

I'm considering getting a legal opinion on this one. I don't see how he can legally cancel our contact based on my refusal to do something that hasn't been proven to be legal. It'll likely go nowhere, but I should at least know for next time what legal backing I do or do not have.

Replies: 5 Comments

on Wednesday, August 31st, Kevin said

Ah jeese. Sorry to hear that. I hope the new grill I purchased this spring wasn't manufactured by this company. ;)

on Wednesday, August 31st, xhead said

ugh. sounds messy. have a good vacation, hope you get some new work lined up.

on Wednesday, August 31st, Robert Hahn said


on Thursday, September 1st, Jerry said

Damn. I'm sorry to hear that Andrew. (8-( I hope you can get some sort of relaxing time in...


on Thursday, September 1st, Bob said

I think you did the right thing. I'm sorry that you had to deal with such unreasonable people at your work; the incompetent manager and the unethical president. If it's of any consolation, it doesn't sound like that's a company that deserves your employment. I know it's not fun to be shown the door; it's shocking and humiliating. However, I think you should be proud that it was over a matter of your ethics and not something like competence. One day when this is far enough behind you, it'll look like a good day.

Enjoy your early vacation. There'll be a better job for you afterwards.

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