looking for a sys admin

Charles Curley charlescurley at charlescurley.com
Thu Dec 10 17:09:11 MST 2009

On Thu, 10 Dec 2009 16:27:30 -0700
Bryan Sant <bryan.sant at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Thu, Dec 10, 2009 at 1:50 PM, Robert Merrill
> <robertmerrill at gmail.com> wrote:
> > On Thu, Dec 10, 2009 at 1:48 PM, Merrill Oveson <moveson at gmail.com>
> > wrote:
> >>
> >> Most of the time, people get treated as disposable assets.
> >
> > It is unfortunate but true, you just wrote the world's smallest book
> > on career management.
> Of course we're disposable assets.

Sorry, no. People are not "assets", disposable or otherwise. They are
human beings, and not to be used as means to one's own ends. Assets are
things to be used, and used up: land, corn, buildings, etc.

Some people get what they want by going out and creating assets.
Miners, farmers, and, in the classic economics thought experiment,
Robinson Crusoe.

Human beings can and often do co-operate by trading. That's called the
free market. For a vastly simplified thought experiment, Robinson
Crusoe and Friday on their island.

Other people get what they want by taking it, either theft of threats
of violence. These are called variously, gangs, mafiosi, thugs, and

Think of people as human beings, and you move toward the market as the
only ethical way to deal with them. Think of them as assets, and you
veer toward the latter. That's part of why I object to the term "human
resources". It's an oxymoron.

Of course in an employment situation you co-operate with other people,
and you do so under a contract, written or oral. It is an important part
of contract law that when one party fails to live up to their part of
the deal, the other is no longer obliged to live up to theirs.

As for loyalties, they must be reciprocal. This point was not lost on
feudal law. Just as the vassal had obligations to the lord, so the lord
had obligations to the vassal. We seem to have a bit of that in
corporate law and custom, but a wise employer and a wise employee will
give more loyalty than is the modern custom. Some do, most don't.

Thanks, though, for warning any potential employers on the list about
your attitude toward them.


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