[way way OT] Re: BYU CS Department Opening

Michael L Torrie torriem at chem.byu.edu
Fri Mar 17 15:02:21 MST 2006

On Fri, 2006-03-17 at 14:21 -0700, Bryan Sant wrote:
> And I don't find anything unprofessional about it.

Your situation is fundamentally different than mine.  I work for a
church-owned private company where as you contract directly with the
church.  Different environments.  

> ...But tithing money *is* sacred.  That doesn't mean you can't spend
> it.  It's meant to be spent on things that the Church needs to get
> done -- Temples, church buildings, BYU, FamilySearch.org, various
> employees, etc.

That's not the point.  An employee should always fairly compensate his
employer by putting in honest work for the money paid him.  Similarly,
an employee who is in charge of spending his employers money should
spend it with respect, responsibility, and honesty regardless of where
that money comes from.  If an employee treats money differently
depending on whether or not such money is sacred, there is a problem.
So my point in that working for the church, or working with sacred or
un-sacred money should not have any discernible difference on a person's
responsibility or integrity.  That is how I operate.  All of my budget
money is "sacred" just as a matter of principle.  

> Still, I would expect those who are in charge of tithing allocation to
> be as thoughtful and frugal as possible.  I wish the entire Church ran
> Linux and OOo for example.  Why?  Because it would save tithing money!

Sure that sounds great.  But we have to approach this issue (of using
OSS to save money) from a business standpoint.  All of the costs (not
just money) have to be considered.  For example, in theory we can also
save money by providing all church units and BYU needs with cheap white-
box computers with built-in RAID1 for 1/3 the cost of Dell.  But would
we save money?  I don't think so.

>From a macro point of view, the Church and it's various subsidiaries are
quite good at this process.  (irritating isn't it)

> In my experience, I've seen some managers spend tithing money like a
> drunken sailor on things that our project didn't need (expensive
> consultants for a really poor 3rd party product that we will end up
> dumping in the future).  So I have a different perspective.

I  have seen this too and am bothered by it.  At a micro level, there
are lots of people who don't think in terms of fiscal responsibility.
I've seen hundreds of thousands of dollars of grant money that wasn't
spent well.  Lots of budget wasted, etc.  I'd be bothered with this
behavior in any company.  But I guess in most companies I wouldn't have
to sustain my manager as bishop next sunday.

> I'm just asking, but does this relate to salary?

I don't recall saying that it had to do with salary.  This was merely an
aside. (looks like we're forging a new pass through the mountains

> In a capitalistic society you have to vote with your feet.  If any
> employer isn't treating you the way you want, or paying you want you
> want, then LEAVE!  Teach them a lesson.  Don't complain.  Don't fester
> in your misery.  Find a better job and quit.  Management will hear
> your complaint loud and clear in your exit interview.

I deal just fine with my little corner of BYU.  People I work with are
largely responsible and are good managers of people, money, and
resources.  I like working for BYU.  I like the overall environment (no
serious health hazards, etc...).  I like the ability to discuss general
conference if I wanted to.

If there is a take-away message for a potential CS CSR from this off-
topic exchange it is that a job is a job and what you get out of it and
what you put into it should not be influenced by the fact that it is
"working for the church."  Your bosses are not (at BYU) necessarily
kneeling in prayer for every decision.  They are not super-human or walk
6-inches off the ground.  They are just normal business managers who
pretty much run the place like any other business. Most of them are not
nearly as knowledgeable or as perfect as they should be (neither are
you).  But here and there you find some really good people and lots of
cool things get done.  The same goes for every place you will ever work


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