“Just Doing My Job”

So there was this:

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“It’s my job” he says.  Which is just one step away from “I was only following orders.”

Sorry, Stevie.  May I call you “Stevie”? Don’t really care, actually.  Going to call you that anyway.

Look, Stevie. Short version:  “It’s my job” is never an excuse for doing something unethical, let alone illegal, and certainly not unconstitutional.  “It’s my job” does not make a wrong thing right.  Period.  End of short version.

Slightly longer version.  Stevie, don’t think I didn’t notice how you just breezed over things with a boss telling you to “do something.” (Like “Some people did something”?) This vague generalization allows you to mask the truly monstrous idea you are attempting to justify here.

Look, if my boss tells me to clean up the warehouse, I clean up the warehouse even if it doesn’t fall under my normal job duties but still falls under “other duties as assigned.” Oh, in many places using a Senior Analytical Scientist as a janitor might be a poor use of scarce resources that have alternative uses but we’re a small company and we have to wear a lot of “hats” so you do what needs to be done when it needs to be done and don’t worry that much about official “job titles.”

But, if my boss said “Rob the office next door” do you think that would fall under “other duties as assigned”? (Spoiler:  It doesn’t.) If my boss were to lose his mind and give me that order, I would tell him to F-off (in so many words) and I would then promptly warn the neighboring office and the police of his plans.

It’s called “ethics”, Stevie.  You, apparently, don’t know anything about that.

Let’s take that a step farther.  Suppose I, too, lost my mind and actually obeyed that ridiculous order thinking “I’m just doing my job.” Do you think that “it’s my job” would make it okay?  When the police came to arrest me (after all, I don’t think I’d make a very competent crook) and I told them I was just doing my job would they say, “well, all right then.  You can go”?

I didn’t think so.

Oh, and my first job after leaving the Air Force?  I did tell my boss to F-off (albeit not in so many words–I was more polite then) when he asked me to do something I considered unethical.  Not even illegal, just in violation of my personal ethics.  Left that job and went working elsewhere–preferred washing dishes in a restaurant to violating my ethics.

It being “your job” doesn’t make it right.  It doesn’t make it acceptable.  A hit man for the Gambino family is just “doing his job” when he pops a rival boss.  But he’s still a murderer and a criminal.  He’s still morally repugnant.

Just like you would be, Stevie, to participate in the confiscation of arms from previously law abiding (law abiding until unconstitutional laws were passed making them criminals) members of the community.

Just like you would be, Stevie, to participate in that blatant violation of the Constitution and fundamental human rights. (Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness)

Just like you would be, Stevie, as a Jack Booted Thug.

7 thoughts on ““Just Doing My Job””

  1. Stevie is a coward using a badge as a petty symbol of power. Stevie is probably a cop that has had an investigation or two opened on him, and multiple complaints of abuses of power by the people he’s arrested/given tickets to/interacted with. Stevie is a little boy in a man’s job. Not surprising in this age of infantile behavior being accepted and celebrated in supposedly adults.

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  2. “Just doing my job”/”Just following orders.” Yeah. How’d that work out at Nuremberg again? I seem to reall that very much NOT being an affirmative defense, and the Nazi War Crimes trials are why the Oath of Enlistment was altered to “… and obey all LAWFUL orders …” (emphasis mine.)

    – Tell me to do something unethical? You’re going to get an earful.
    – Tell me to do something illegal? Depends on what it is. If it’s a misdemeanour, you’ll get an earful. If it’s a felony, I’ll likely clap you in irons (or zipties, if all I have is my toolbag handy) myself and wait for the local fuzz to show up – ORDERING a felony is legally the same as PERFORMING a felony, thanks to “conspiracy” statutes (which makes a wonderful catch-all for F Troop if they can’t stick you with a “technical violation,” as they’re so fond of doing.) I am going to make DAMNED sure that I can’t get “conspiracy” hung on me, which likely means restraining and arresting you myself (Citizen’s Arrests are still legal – in most jurisdictions – for cases of felonies.)
    – Order me to perform a VIOLENT felony? There’s probably going to BE violence, but it won’t be directed the way you want…

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    1. Not disagreeing with anything you said there, just springboarding a bit.

      “Conspiracy” is both less and more encompassing than most people think. The definition that I was given: “If two or more people agree to commit a crime, then at least one of the persons performs at least one overt act toward the commission of that crime, which act need not itself be illegal, then every party to the agreement commits conspiracy.”

      The agreement alone is insufficient. It takes some “overt act.” But the act does not have to be illegal itself so long as the agreement is there.

      I’m suspect (IANALNDIPOOTV) that “I was afraid of what they’d do if I didn’t say I agreed but I didn’t mean it” might be a viable positive defense to a charge of conspiracy depending on what you did afterward (like, say, reporting to the authorities the first chance you got).

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      1. Perhaps it takes an overt act – but I’m not about to wait for one to get the “conspiracy” catch-all to get hung on me. I figure arresting the idiot myself should form a positive defense against the “conspiracy” charge, yes?

        “I Am Not A Lawyer ND I Play One On TV” – what’s the “ND” mean? I’m sure it’s not the same as my “ND” when I used it (used to work for a guy signed himself “Joseph C. Chen, MBA.” As common as those degrees are, why advertise? So I became “Jon D. Kelley, N.D.G.A.” After about two weeks, he asked me what “N.D.G.A.” meant.

        “No Degree, Good Anyway.”

        He stopped signing himself “MBA,” which was the intended result. Unless you’re a doctor, doctorate, or have a professional degree/cert (RN, BSN, LVN, PA, PA-C, &c, &c,) then signing your degree is kinda tacky, since you’re probably doing it just to lord it over everyone. I just /love/ assailing egos like that, it’s /so/ much fun! The human mind is my favourite plaything…

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  3. “I Am Not A Lawyer ND I Play One On TV” – what’s the “ND” mean?

    “Nor Do”

    There was a series of commercials shortly after Engergizer introduced their drum-beating bunny mascot. One of them had someone “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV, and when I have hemmoroids I reach for…” Then the bunny goes across the screen with the voice-over “It keeps going and going and going.”

    Stuck in my head and I riff on it occasionally with things like that.

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    1. Ah. Yes, I vaguely remember those, I just never watched the televisor much (wasn’t much on worth watching.)

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