Acceptable Theft
Acceptable Theft

Note: this is an article I started but never finished.  A conclusion is not present but it still seemed worthy to share.

At one time I worked for a defense contractor as a software developer.  I was offered a six-figure salary and assumed I should perform accordingly.  Clearly I was naive.  I started by diligently learning the goals and examining possible solutions.  I then developed a working prototype of what would go way beyond the original scope of the project, be vastly simpler to use, and allow us to do the $4.5 million contract in probably less than $500,000.  That is where I went wrong.

Saving $4,000,000 of taxpayer’s money means nothing in the trillion dollar world.  The employer would rather have inefficiency in large scale so they can charge millions or billions.  What they save in taxpayer money, they lose in profit.  I was clearly an anathema.

So what do you do with this trouble maker?  Give him distractions, useless work, and put him in an environment that forces ineffectiveness.  I endured this for a year and it allowed me to continually refine the prototype.  I presented this at least three times to my supervisor.  After about a year he finally said that I was right all along and we should look into it.  However, between that conversation and the next I was transferred to another project.

However, all that I did in that year was discarded.  The work was not what was important to the company; I was an expense that could be well padded and charged to the government (taxpayer).  Microsoft was contracted to present a fairly useless seminar to us and when the presenter went around the room to ask what everyone did, my response was “I provide billable hours…”  It got a laugh, but I was serious and people knew it.

Sometime later in a hallway conversation I pointed out the fact that my year there produced nothing; it was not well received.  The following day I was unemployed.

During that year I was in an environment where it was difficult to concentrate.  So when the crowd got rowdy, I sat in my corner playing Spider Solitaire.   To give an idea of how much time this was, consider that I played the four suite game and had the time to win over 100 consecutive games.  I do not speak of this with pride, but it is a confession.  I stole from the American taxpayer.  Theft is theft and what I did was wrong.

“If you see a thief, you are pleased with him” Psalm 50:18

While I was living on taxpayer dollars, many people were pleased that I was taking care of the needs of my family.  They did not know or believe that I was stealing from them.  After all, per taxpayer, we are talking about pennies.  I was with a stable company, ironically British, in the very stable defense industry.

My family paid a price in the attitude that I had. I told them I was a thief and it was tearing me apart.  The concept of “doing a better job to get ahead” is a myth in the socialist environment.  When the job ended, I wasn’t disappointed.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Acceptable Theft

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