I went into my last job with high hopes that my talents and knowledge would be appreciated and utilized. It became very apparent that this was not the case. Sure I was getting paid 75k a year, and to some this is dream job. I worked at home, had great benefits, and wrote reports for a contract for the Veterans Administration. I quickly had serious ethical and moral problems with the job though…which reinforced my aversion to government work for my own business:
- I spent, on average, maybe 2 hours a day actually doing my job.
- The vast majority of my time was spent doing…anything other than my job. There actually wasn’t enough extra duties available(I asked) to keep me busy in the meantime at MBL.
- The person over me was not technically knowledgeable. She was more interested in turning out the same reports on a monthly basis that, in most cases, were not relevant to the mission at hand.
- I found out that the reports we spent time working on were not actually read by….anybody. this contract was to fill a checkbox saying the VA is trying to fix their networks…when that’s not a primary concern
- The downhill slide began the one time I was asked to explain an analysis i had made. I pointed to a report I had already written and posted in the public domain on etc-md.com/blog. I politely and correctly pointed out that the references inside that post are where I made that post from but also, due to experience, I came to the conclusion that I did. I was then questioned as to the accuracy of my conclusions to which I informed the supervisor to read the report on my blog as it has the entire justification for my conclusions. I even put the outside references into the report for her to look at. The next day she again questioned my conclusions despite the admittedly acceptable third party references i gave. At that point I let this go..she could either accept it or not.
- I was bored and this job was not an appropriate use of my time or talents. I also had SERIOUS issues with spending less than 10% of my time actually doing anything productive. To me this felt like I was participating in the theft of taxpayer money. Honestly, looking back, I am not sure how long I would have continued before filing a fraud, waste, and abuse notification with the VA. I abhor taxpayer fund waste and I was an active participant in it. The VA, of all places, has a ton of waste in it…apparently even in cyber-security. Erik Mikula told me he expected me to last 6 months…i didn’t make it 3.
- Looking back I can now put my finger on what exactly was bothering me. Due to 1-3 I was stuck in a moral dilemma. Many folks would have not issues with 1-3…i however feel this is theft of money. So I was effectively stealing from not jsut taxpayers but my fellow veterans. Yes I could have shut up for a bit and started looking immediately and that’s what i should have done…but i do not regret being bothered about the immorality of that particular job.
- I have talked to many folks about my part in this…i bring that up first…then when i bring up that my immediate supervisor was not MBL…but Booz-Allen Hamilton…NOBODY had a positive thing to say about them. OUch…one of my clients who is elderly talked about running into “those fools in Beruit” was quite adamant about BAH. I find this VERY interesting.
yes, I could have kept my mouth shut, not popped off to the E.L.T(Egotistical Little Twat), but I would have either resigned after the first year or in another 3 months something else would have come up. This was a chance of a lifetime for some…for me it put me inside a moral dilemma that I could not silently abide or I would be one of the biggest hypocritical Christians i ever knew….and I eventually would not be able to live with myself. Maybe my mistake wasn’t popping off to the E.L.T but taking the job in the first place. I went in with assumptions of wanting to improve the cyber security stance of the VA, Willing to make suggestions, and thought that folks would be actually wanting to hear from the team and make changes. That, sadly, was and is not the case. I think next time I will follow the adage, “If it seems to good to be true, it probably is”.