The Lounge is rated PG. If you're about to post something you wouldn't want your
kid sister to read then don't post it. No flame wars, no abusive conduct, no programming
questions and please don't post ads.
1. The lounge is for the CodeProject community to discuss things of interest to the community, and as a place for the whole community to participate. It is, first and foremost, a respectful meeting and discussion area for those wishing to discuss the life of a Software developer.
The #1 rule is: Be respectful of others, of the site, and of the community as a whole.
2. Technical discussions are welcome, but if you need specific programming question answered please use Quick Answers[^], or to discussion your programming problem in depth use the programming forums[^]. We encourage technical discussion, but this is a general discussion forum, not a programming Q&A forum. Posts will be moved or deleted if they fit better elsewhere.
4. No politics (including enviro-politics[^]), no sex, no religion. This is a community for software development. There are plenty of other sites that are far more appropriate for these discussions. Or if you must, use the Back Room[^] - but enter at your own risk.
5. Nothing Not Safe For Work, nothing you would not want your wife/husband, your girlfriend/boyfriend, your mother or your kid sister seeing on your screen. For those discussions where you wish to be a little more frank, use the Soapbox[^]
6. Any personal attacks, any spam, any advertising, any trolling, or any abuse of the rules will result in your account being removed.
7. Not everyone's first language is English. Be understanding.
Please respect the community and respect each other. We are of many cultures so remember that. Don't assume others understand you are joking, don't belittle anyone for taking offense or being thin skinned.
We are a community for software developers. Leave the egos at the door.
I recently moved over to a new company about 6 months ago, but now I've got my previous employer contacting me to do some freelance work after hours to patch a few things and add some new features to the existing system.
Here's the but; but I'm concerned with protecting myself against any sort of liability or longer term support (after all there is a reason I left). since the previous work was building control systems for industrial equipment, there's a lot of liability real quick if something went wrong, and now that I'm no longer employed by them I'm worried if something did go wrong, I would get it in the end.
Do I want to do it? No. But I've got some guilt on leaving them without another programmer to pick up the load.
So any suggestions on how to protect myself? or should I just pass and leave them hanging?
If there is significant liability in your industry, the only way you can get any protection at all is via a contract that clearly shifts the liability to your former employer. You can probably find a boiler-plater contract out there, but personally, I wouldn't be comfortable using one without a lawyer.
I'd nicely explain your desire to help, but that you can't because you're worried about liability. That answer probably won't be well-received, especially if your employer is desperate, but that's about the best you can do. Sounds like a tough situation, best of luck.
Now, if they're willing to pay enough to cover your legal costs, that might be a whole different thing. I'd bet heavily that won't be the case
I am assuming that you gave them enough notice before quitting, so there's no need for any guilt (they're exploiting your guilt).
If you were so important to them, they shouldn't have let you go (you moved out for a better pay, I suppose, among other things). They've left themselves hanging out for drying, not you. If they're not going to cover the lawyer's cost of drafting a contract that protects you, then I see it as them not wanting you to help them.
If I were you, I'd say "wish I could help you" to the company, have a hot chocolate, and call it a day.
I'd move on. As an employee, you do have some liability in the case of gross negligence, but otherwise you are shielded. This is not so as an independent contractor with some narrow exceptions. That said, you'd need to talk with a qualified attorney. (In the end, you'd probably pay more in legal fees and liability insurance that you'd make.)
thanks for the advice. the company, and the industry in general have a bad way of pointing fingers if something happens months or years down the road. one of the main reasons for leaving after 18 years, just couldn't take it anymore.
Well, flush your guilt down the toilet -- it's their responsibility to find someone to pick up the work, not yours.
That said, if you actually want to do the work, yeah, you can put a liability clause in the contract, but at the end of the day, they've got the money for the lawyers, you don't.
A few years back I worked for a consulting agency that required us consultants to have professional liability insurance (they didn't want to be liable, and I can understand that.) It was cheap enough, and I have kept it even though I no longer work for that agency. In addition to my part time employment, I do consulting, both pro bono and for hourly, and I think it's a good thing to have.
Marc makes an excellent point with regard to liability insurance. I've carried it for so long that I frankly forgot I still have it. If you anticipate doing any freelance work, its a necessity.
Simply be careful to read the fine print, check the reputation of the insurer, and make sure the cap is high enough to cover any reasonable liability you anticipate.
All that said, from your description, it sounds like you're in a particularly litigious segment of the industry. Unless the benefits truly justify the effort and risks, I'd still advise a polite pass.
While I think its overkill in this case, incorporation can provide an additional layer of protection. I mention this in case you ever consider additional opportunities. Forming an LLC, in most states, is comparatively inexpensive and not overly difficult.
I recently had a problem at my job. We work for a company abroad as contractor, so all our communication is done by Slack and our tasks are on TFS.
The task I want to talk about, was basically to hardcode some items in a list that came from a database. I warned them all that this would break some other modules in our application, because it used that same data. They just told me to finish that task and go on.
It didn't work out and it broke the application, as I have told them many times before.
But my main complaint is that, they sent an email to my manager saying that the RC was broken because of me. I did have all chat history, so it was easy to prove to my boss that I just did what I was told and even warned them many times about that.
Was I really guilt in all of this? Should I have just ignored thier orders and didn't finish the task?
It sounds like you did your job and warned them of the consequences like a professional should. They are the managers and should be practiced with risk management. They made the mistake and are the accountable ones, not you; you did things correctly.
I've taken to always sending a follow up email recapping the conversation, it's better than nothing.
"the debugger doesn't tell me anything because this code compiles just fine" - random QA comment
"Facebook is where you tell lies to your friends. Twitter is where you tell the truth to strangers." - chriselst
"I don't drink any more... then again, I don't drink any less." - Mike Mullikins uncle