16 October 2010

A Double Edged Sword - by James Steele

      Posted 10/14/10 05:11:00 am  

Roughly four months ago, I landed what is in every way, my dream job.  I currently work for a major console manufacturer as a Software Engineer, and I must say that I love my job and I have become fantasticaly loyal to my employer.

But landing such a great job, is a double edged sword.  This is especially true in the day and age of the internet.  When you work for such a well known company, a lot of news and opinion pieces appear about your employer. And so many user comments add to what is often, an already humongous amount of mis-information. 

The problem is, that I want to rush out an automaticaly correct all of that mis-information.  I want to smite those who seem to be wielding the cudgel-of-grudge and who back up their subjective viewpoints with statements that are simply incorrect, while acting as if these are plain, irrefutable facts.

Not only that, I want to tell people how amazing I think my employers are.  I want to tell how great and revolutionary our products are, and I desperatly want people to buy into how I see these products from a personal point of view.

I can do that, right?  As long as I don't disclose any information which is confidential, I can layeth the smack down.  Well..no.  I can't. 

You see,  no matter how much I protest that my opinions do not reflect those of my employer, human nature doesn't really allow that seperation.  If I make a comment that somebody doesn't like, or they perceive my manner to be insulting; the situation can get pretty ugly.  On the internet, rumours spread and mutate faster than the mould on a lump of cheese left in a students fridge.

It would rapidly go from "this guy said" to "this guy has from Company X said" to a news article of "Company X has stated...".  Have you any idea how much trouble that could cause for my employer, not to mention myself?  Even if I say something with the best intentions, it can quickly become warped and mis-represented by people.

It's best to say nothing at all.  Which is hard, because after I read a recent article on statements made by a well known individual in the games industry about the company that I work for; and the subsequent mis-informed posts on said article, I want to jump in and cast my wrath upon the unbelievers.  It takes a lot of will power to stop yourself from doing this, especially when you are as argumentative as I am, not to mention being rather passionate about what I do.

This is an aspect of my job that I was surprised to encounter.  I didn't realise how difficult it would be, to not get sucked into the mire of internet flame wars.  But I'm manging it and I've gone from feeling angry at this sort of thing, to feeling sad that people actually feel the need to act in this way.

    Comments
Stephen Chin
14 Oct 2010 at 1:05 pm PST

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