Is It Ethical to Monitor Your Employees?

In the early days of the Internet, it was easy to achieve anonymity when browsing around the web. The anonymity of the Internet played along with what users had enjoyed for many years, a privacy. Today, with the availability of social media sites all over the Internet, such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, the anonymity has shifted away from the path of privacy. This shifting allow many companies to use social media to its selfish purpose of monitoring its employees. Companies begin to use social media as a mean to perform ‘additional’ background check. The step taken is too far and has crossed the boundary of individual’s privacy. But, when it comes to individual privacy and company’s policy to monitor its employees, the boundary is as thin as a strand of hair.

There are many reason a company needs to monitor its employees. Among them are security, intellectual property and trade secret protection, audit trail and usage / performance study. All these purposes will only benefit the company to increase its efficiency in running a business. In some cases, monitoring employees is indispensable, such as in security. Preventing outside intruders from attacking from inside is one of the main reason companies need to monitor its employees. Some of the steps in security monitoring are running a background software to check downloaded files, capturing employees’ browsing history and keeping history of connected devices. Security compromise can be caused by a slight and insignificant but careless action such as plugging in a USB drive into the company’s laptop or browsing to an unsecured or compromised web site. In this matter, companies have the rights to take necessary step to protect itself from any security threats.

Security threats come from all different directions but more dangerous threats often come from individual employees. To prevent this, companies require extensive background check, including secret clearance before they hire each employees. Some companies have been gone too far when performing ‘extensive’ background check by asking for access to employees’ social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter.

In the days where the Internet is an integral part of our daily life, it has become more difficult for us to achieve complete privacy. Although the nature of the Internet is anonymity, every time we use social media sites, we are voluntarily giving up our right to remain anonymous. Privacy is harder to come by without anonymity. We expose ourselves through comments, pictures and tweets we post every day and we allow ourselves to be discover-able, thus, giving up our privacy in return of virtual socialize world. It has never been easier to track and scout you in much details before and all are within the clicks of the mouse.

The wake of social media sites in a stronger follow-up of 1990’s Dot-com Bubble has pushed many companies to change its way of doing business. One of the biggest impact of this for companies is marketing and advertising. Companies leverage the power of social media with its more targeted advertising to grow and market their business. Many companies who are late in taking advantage of social media would be seeing decline in their business. Individuals have also reaped the benefit of social medias. It’s easier to keep in touch with your friends, share pictures and memory together and receive news from the other side of the world. Social medias have made it easier than ever before. However, this is still not a justification for a company to perform additional check on its potential employees by accessing their social media sites. Social media users still have their own privacy despite the openness of the Internet today. Giving up our anonymity doesn’t mean we also giving up our privacy and nobody should cross the line of our privacy for any reason. We as individual should draw a line and define the boundary between our privacy and everything else. For companies, it’s between our privacy and company’s monitoring policy. And that boundary is the workplace.

Autograph Work with Excellence

Some one asked Al Jolson, a popular musical comedy star of the twenties, what he did to warm up a cold audience. Jolson answered, “Whenever I go up before an audience and don’t get the response I feel that I ought to get… I don’t go back behind the scenes and say to myself, ‘That audience is dead from the neck up – it’s a bunch of wooden nutmegs.’ No, instead I say to myself, ‘Look here, Al, what is wrong with you tonight? The audience is all right, but you’re all wrong, Al.'”

Many performer has blamed a poor showing on an audience. Al Jolson took a different approach. He tried to give the best performance of his career to his coldest, most unresponsive audiences. . . And the result was that before an evening was over, he had them applauding and begging for more.

We’ll always be able to find excuses for mediocrity. In fact, a person intent on justifying a bad performance usually has excuses lined up before the final curtain falls. Choose instead to put our full energy into our performance. Our extra effort will turn an average performance into something outstanding.
Ah!… the joys of a job well done… that is true satisfaction.


Credit: From the desk of Harry Sudarma.

What do You Want to Have Accomplished?

“You could do anything you put your mind to”

“In 30 years, what do you want to have accomplished? It’s OK not to have an answer, but you need to start thinking about it. Once you know that, things start to become clear. The people you meet, the opportunities and situations you find are often a function of that objective.”

– Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn CEO

We Can Still Do Anything

“What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. Get a post-bac or try writing for the first time. The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating college. We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.”

– Marina Keegan (The Opposite of Loneliness)

Not Taking Risk Is Biggest Risk

“The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”

– Mark Zuckerberg.

The How of an Idea

In my search of the next sliced bread (the probability is low, but at least I try to catch it!), I first search for the ‘how’ of sliced bread actually get defined. It’s all come down to an idea that people will like, accept and eventually use / consume it. So:

Why people will like and accept my idea?

  1. Because they need them (basic human’s needs).
  2. Because it solves existing problem.
    Solution to problems can target an individual, a group (niche market), or world (like in world peace). There will always be problems to be solved. Human race will never run out of problems.
  3. Because it yields better result.
    Better result could be more productive, save more time, higher ROI, less work, etc.
    Don’t get stuck with how you ‘normally’ perform certain activity. What you ‘normally’ doing is not always better of way doing it. That’s how the phrase ‘think out side the box’ came about, it’s to think out side your ‘normality’. Always challenge and be critical of existing ‘normality’ and think of a way to improve it.
  4. Because it triggers their mind to respond to stimuli or answer their fears.
    Napoleon Hill suggests there are 10 stimulis and 6 fears in which human mind responds to. People will like and accept my idea when it triggers their mind’s repsond through stimulis / fears.
  5. Because everybody else is using / doing it.
    Human nature is to conform to others. Whether we like it or not, we always conform to those who have stronger personality, forces or enthusiasm.
  6. Because it rewards them.
    Everybody likes reward, be it money, publicity / fame, relationship, self-actualization, riches (whatever the case might be). If the idea rewards them, they will go about using it.

However, for people to actually use / consume my realized-idea, they must have:

  1. Trust, can be achieved through:
    • Credibility: integrity and reliability of my realized-idea because of my previously proven track of record. Credibility gives a chance for others to believe in me.
    • Positive perspective: when one positively perceive my realized-idea, it will shape genuine, concrete and confident image towards my realized-idea. Thus, comes the trust.
    • Endorsement (from reliable sources): a form of affirmation or approval from higher sources, such as media, leaders, or significant others will build trust.
    • Crowd / conformity: again, conformity. If 85 out of 100 people consume / use my realized-idea, most likely the rest will follow. Why? ‘because everybody is doing it’.

Principles of Human-Readable Code

No matter what language you are using, it’s very important, again, VERY IMPORTANT, to write a human-readable or human-friendly code. This simply means, the code will need to be readable NOT just by machine, but also by human being.

  1. Do not write for yourself, consider others.
  2. Do not assume your peer / successor will figure out how your code work.
  3. Use indentation to separate block of code.
  4. Include necessary, descriptive, plain English (no heavy-technical buzz words), and straight-forward comments.
  5. Use already-established, easy-to-understand, widely-known naming convention, and standard, and stick with it!
  6. Do not create your own design pattern, unless you are 100% scientist. There are many well-known and widely-accepted patterns out there.
  7. Do not write complicated, more-than-necessary, excessively-repetitive-loop of workflow.
Updates are coming…