Thursday, May 26, 2005

Ballard Bites

I am going to eat at every restaurant in Ballard this summer, and in another unastounding effort of self-absorption, I am blogging about it. Here is where I explain more about it.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Now You Figure It Out?

In a recent controversy, Microsoft first supported gay rights legislation in the State of Washington, then after some meetings with a noted hatemonger wacko who threatened a boycott, Microsoft withdrew support. As an outsider with no dog in the race (I'm not gay or homophobic, not affiliated with Microsoft, not affiliated with any stone age wacko religions) this affair has been (to use a favorite MS term) "feature-rich". There are so many avenues to comment upon: the likely effect of a boycott by mouth-breathing fundamentalists on a technology monopoly; the weirdness of a major company even contemplating taking a stand on a social issue (can you see any company taking any kind of stand on say, abortion?); reasons why Microsoft would listen to a little bozo with a bullhorn but flip the finger to the United States Dept. of Justice; but the little detail that I most want to point out is what I read in The Stranger:

Jeff Koertzen, an operations program manager and the secretary-treasurer of GLEAM, the gay and lesbian group at Microsoft that met on April 4 with Bradford L. Smith, the Microsoft senior vice-president and general counsel at the center of a furor over the company's decision, spoke to The Stranger after giving notice on Monday, May 2. The six-year Microsoft employee said he could no longer work at the company, given his belief that Smith and other company spokespeople are not being honest about what happened.

"I believe [Smith] is lying based on statements he made to us," Koertzen said. "My principles do not allow me to work for a company that does that."
Okay, I'm totally on this guy's side, he's been trying to be an agent of change in very difficult circumstances. But let's get real, he only figured out now that companies lie to employees? The MS official was a senior VP and General Counsel, he would have been fired for simply telling the truth, whatever it was, it is simply not in the job description. As a dimwitted and mostly naive cubicle dweller for the last ten years even I have figured out that whatever upper management says to employees, it is in support of a position or message. Telling the "truth" is only one option out of many available in order to further their position. This isn't any underhanded or devious decision to "lie" or "deceive" - because they don't think in those terms - for them the truth is just another color on the palette available to be used if need be.