10/09/2005: "salt or salve: one last kick, promise!"
Boy, this has been an exciting exchange! I really do have to discipline myself to edit my postings after I write them. That's the problem with writing things down to figure out how you feel about them yourself. Of course, without my lack of editing we wouldn't be having this wonderful debate!
In any case, there were a few things in the last batch of comments that I wanted to respond to, after which I'll let the issue lie dormant for a while. My claim is still over a week away from even being submitted, and I have yet to hear back from my dad, John, or Bob on the situation. No point beating ourselves into a rabid froth for something that, at this stage, exists only in my head, right?
Here's the last batch of clarifications. Quotes are verbatim from the comments.
I'm one who does sever ties when things get to the point of being truly offensive to me or to my personal convictions (as opposed to merely controversial or debatable).
Those ties have been severed. I will never offer them design services again. However, does it make sense to write off an entire company that has one questionable project? Or because its president is misguided and/or misinformed about the legal and ethical obligations of Professional Engineers? Seems like letting one rotten apple spoil the whole bushel to me.
I like apples. Mmm.
Yes, the suit should go forward, but as for the selling - well, there seem to be a lot of "ifs" in your arguments: "if" you can insulate yourself from the president, "if" they want to use you as a supplier, "if" there are no lingering hard feelings after "business" has been dealt with...
Yet again, I probably didn't write as well as I could have. (Scratch that - I didn't proofread and edit when I should have.) There is no "if" in isolating myself from the president. I no longer work there, and don't report to him. Even if I supply them, he will be a customer, not my supervisor, and I likely won't be dealing with him personally at all, but the purchasing department. That is plenty of insulation. As for the other "ifs", those are for them to decide. They have to determine whether my quotes for components are attractive enough, and they also have to decide whether or not to take my Ministry claim personally, or just as business.
Mention exactly what you're doing now for a living, but don't ask for a sale or make a deal. Let him come to you. Then make him a raving-fan customer.
If there was *no* chance of financial gain on your part from mending the fence with them, would you still do it? I think that would be the true expression of "turning the other cheek" and if you would do that, then go for it and don't ask for a sale or give them a deal as part of the cheek turning.
If I could mend the fence, I would, personal gain or not. I'm not someone that can just shrug my shoulders and say, "Oh well, they hate me. Time to move along." There would likely be a limit on how much time and effort I would put into mending said fence, but any light to moderate effort would be expended.
The problem lies with mending the fence without financial gain. The only way I've come up with to get back into their good books is to help their business, and the only way I currently know how to do that is give them access to components through less expensive channels. If there's another way, I would consider it. Going back and trying to explain my position as a Professional Engineer could work, but would involve much more effort than I'm willing to expend.
I would not be asking for a sale, or giving them a deal. I would provide them a quote on components they need, and leave it at that. If they like the price, they'll come to me. I won't be giving them a deal on anything, I happen to have access to goods through more direct channels that they currently do, which means cutting out middlemen, and thereby lowering the cost. Everyone still profits off the sale, there's just less people taking profit.
As you can probably tell, I'm becoming more convinced that I want to do this. It's an excellent opportunity business-wise, and I can see no ethical dilemma in selling components to them. The one project I do have a problem with I know for a fact is going to be sourced entirely from China, possibly even manufactured in and distributed from China, so anything I supply won't even be used in those models. While I value everyone's input, I'm just not feeling that I'm explaining the situation well enough. In any case, the only people I really have to convince are my business associates that would source the parts, and my wife.
Stay tuned, there will be more about this later. Much later.