And now for some Big News.
I am delighted to announce that, effective December 1st, I will begin my new job at Oracle as a Product Manager for their Academic Enterprise Initiative (AEI). (I have previously blogged about AEI in a two-part series.) I want to tell you why I am so excited about this new adventure. But before I do, I first want to tell you how this is going to affect my blogging at e-Literate.
Short answer: It won’t.I am at a point in my career where, frankly, I would have to think long and hard before accepting a job that wouldn’t let me continue the work that I have started here. Sharing ideas with all of you and fighting together for issues that really matter has been an incredibly gratifying and important experience for me. So, naturally, I made sure to discuss my intention to continue blogging at length with my then-prospective employer during the interview process.
As you might imagine, I am not the first employee of a big tech company like Oracle to have my own blog. (In fact, there are far more bloggers at Oracle than there are at SUNY.) As we discussed their policies, it became clear that the rules I will be living under at Oracle are, for all practical purposes, identical to the ones I have been living under at the State University of New York. To start with, I have to make clear that opinions expressed in this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of my employer. It was the same at SUNY. (In fact, when the AP and The Chronicle sent photographers to take my picture for the Blackboard story, SUNY politely requested that I have my photographs taken off-campus.) Second, I can’t blog about Oracle proprietary information. This was the same at SUNY. (I once was chastised for blogging about content that was up on a non-password-protected SUNY web site and advertised to SUNY’s 30,000 faculty and 414,000 students because the information had not been “officially released” to the general public.)
There is one significant difference between SUNY’s policy and Oracle’s, but that difference will have no practical effect on my blogging practices. As a member of the UUP faculty union at SUNY, I can bash the university publicly and will be protected under the auspices of academic freedom. (Had I been hired at just one level higher in the university food chain, I would have been non-union and had no such protection.) But I haven’t availed myself of that option. And believe me, it’s not because nothing bad ever happens here. There is plenty that I could write about fear and loathing in the Empire State and about how your hard-earned tax dollars are really spent. And maybe I will someday. But I will not do so today and certainly would not have done so during my time as a SUNY employee. In addition to whatever legal contracts exist, I believe I have a social contract with my employer and my colleagues. I have an obligation to work from the inside for positive change. If I reach the point where I begin to feel that I can no longer live with the ethical (or other) decisions being made by my employer (or client), I leave. I have done this on more than one occasion in the past and make it a policy to maintain the ability to resign from a position on relatively short notice if necessary. I will generally quit before I will publicly bash an employer.
So, in short, I expect to continue blogging much as I have in the past. I do want to be clear that one other thing also will not change: While I will not publicly bash an employer, neither will I feel compelled to write about and defend every public action and policy of my employer (though I do note with satisfaction that Oracle has been consistently on record opposing software patents since 1994). I know that people can have strong feelings about the actions of big, powerful companies like Oracle. But I am not their mouthpiece, any more than I was SUNY’s mouthpiece. I will be one person at a 50,000-person company.
I will continue to blog about what interests me in the hopes that it will interest you as well. I look forward to continuing our journey together.