Are You Legit?
Take a close look at the cover picture for this Blog. Do you see it? If not quickly scan down to the bottom of this post for the answer.
How about now? What are your initial thoughts and reactions to this? Whatever your reactions and thoughts are will tell a lot about your character, both professionally and personally.
Most people that think of themselves as technical, usually got their start because they had to find a way around a problem that required a technical solution. For many that problem usually starts out as a new movie that they want to watch, a new video game they want to play, or new software that they want to test out. Although not a problem in and of itself, the problem usually manifests in the form of a financial obstacle or patience. To get around the financial obstacle many resort to learning how to obtain or make a “bootleg” illegitimate version of the movie, game, or software they desire. Is this okay?
Whether is is okay or not is not the point of this article (see your local laws for clarity), but rather the ethics of carrying this same mentality into the workplace. The technician responsible for the Disney Vacation Kiosk in Downtown Waikiki depicted in this article, probably was just trying to get the job done in the easiest manner they knew how. They may have even told themselves or others that they will activate the copy of windows at a later time and then just never got around to it. Is this okay?
How you approach this answer is telling of your professional strategy. What are taking shortcuts okay? Are shortcuts okay when it gets the boss off your back and your customers happy? Would the same boss be as happy if your actions made them liable? It’s perspective. We’ve seen countless times that many bosses will push their employees to just “Get the job done!” and not want to know the particulars. This of course provides leadership with deniability if things go wrong.
However, I would take a close look at the technicians who this leader has served with. When projects are properly implemented and accounted for then (in most cases) shortcuts that involve questionable ethics will be avoided. Even if last minute requirements pop up “out of the blue” a good technician is aware of many different legal options to get the desired solution. But when necessity, lack of experience, and questionable motives collide the answer is often an illegal if not ethically questionable conclusion occurs.
Good leaders understand the restrictions that their technicians face and work with them to find appropriate viable solutions. Positional leaders however, that aren’t true leaders but just occupy a position, just want the job done and don’t care how...until controversy occurs and then rest assured, they will put the entirety of the blame on the technician who performed the work.
How you approach this issue is a personal matter that you will have to work through. Personally, I find it very rewarding to find a legal solution to solve the various problems that pop up. There are primarily two roadblocks to finding and implementing the correct solution. The first is a lack of experience and technical maturity, and the second roadblock when the first isn’t an issue is usually funding.
Many simply do not know the abundance of technical solutions that can be used to tackle similar issues. This is easily demonstrated in the case of AAA. Let’s say a Network Administrator has been given an order to utilize AAA for network infrastructure access, but they are only familiar with running AAA with a Cisco ACS physical server. This Network Administrator will try to fit the solution they know into the current architecture, which is understandable, but what happens when their company does not have the budget to purchase a Cisco chassis and the ACS license? Some of you reading this right now already know that the ACS software can be virtualized and that the ACS license is not hardware specific (unlike the Cisco UCS license) and can be used anywhere. This would technically work but is it the right answer? Not according to Cisco and their License Agreements.
However, most organization have a Windows Server 2003 or 2008 within their domain. Windows Servers can be configured as a legal AAA RADIUS server for free! But if the previously mentioned Network Administrator was not aware of this than they would miss out on a free legitimate solution to their issue.
In the case of the Disney display in this article, if a legitimate Windows license could not be used, the technician could have of simply used Linux with OpenOffice as a free legitimate solution. There is almost always a legitimate solution to the problems that many technicians encounter, we just have to be willing to put in the extra work to find them.