Finding Your Own Integrity

I have a belief that I’m not going to justify– I’m simply going to say it and challenge you to look into your own experience and your own heart and see the truth of it for yourself: Your sense of identity, as a human among humans, is the most powerful force that animates and directs your choices. It is more important than sex or food or religion. It lurks behind every neurosis (including those involving sex or food or religion). As I read history and experience life, answers to the questions “Who am I? Am I a good example of what I should be?” are the prime movers of human choice throughout all of history, and the proximal cause of every war.

There are certainly exceptions to this rule: drug addiction, mental illness, or panic over a sudden, surprising, physical threat. Maybe those things have little to do with identity. Granted. I’m talking about normal daily life (and every Shakespeare play).

“I am an American. I am a human. I am a father. I am a husband. I am lovable. I am helpful. I am a tester. I am a skeptic. I am an outsider. I am dangerous. I am safe. I am honorable. I am fallible. I am truthful. I am intellectual…”  Each of these statements, for me, are reflective shards that tumble in a kaleidoscope of my identity. The models of personhood they represent comprise my moral compass. Although the pattern formed in that kaleidoscope may seem to shift with the situation, the underlying logic of my adult identity changes little with time.

That is the context for integrity.

Integrity means wholeness; the harmony and completeness of one’s identity. Practically speaking, a person with integrity is a person to lives consistently according to their avowed moral code, as opposed to someone who has no moral code, or who changes it as a matter of convenience. A person of integrity therefore creates continuity across the events of his life, and other people feel they know who they are dealing with.

The Challenge of Finding Your Integrity

Recently, in a discussion about what is reasonable for an employer to ask of a tester, a colleague felt I was trying to impose my own values onto potential employers of my students and wrote that as teachers of new testers “employment [for the testers] should be our first priority.” I disagreed sharply, writing that “our first priority is integrity.” My correspondent seemed to take offense to that.

Now, the employment-first position might be construed to imply that we should advocate robbing banks, because it is the quickest way to get money, or perhaps we should train prostitutes, because prostitution is an old and reliable industry with lots of job security for the right people. That would be absurd, but it’s also a straw man argument. I am certain no one intends to argue that any job is better than no job. Safety, legality and morality do enter into the equation.

Conversely, the integrity-first position might be cast as requiring a tester to immediately protest or resign in the face of any ethical dilemma or systemic ethical lapse, no matter how seemingly minor. This would turn most testers into insufferable, dour lawyers on their projects. We would get very little done. Who would hire such people?

These extreme positions are not very interesting, except as tools for meditating on what might be reasonable behavior. Therefore, I’d like to describe a less extreme position that I think is more defensible and workable. It goes like this:

1. Integrity is a vital and important matter. We suffer as people and society suffers when we treat it too lightly.

2. As testers and technical people, our integrity is routinely threatened by well-meaning clients and colleagues who want us to portray ourselves and the world to be a certain way, even if that isn’t strictly the truth.

3. If we never think directly about integrity, and simply trust in the innate goodness of ourselves and others, we are definitely taking this matter too lightly.

4. Integrity is not like a vase that shatters easily, and that once shattered is irretrievable. Integrity is more like an ongoing public artwork, exposed to and buffeted by the elements, sometimes damaged but always ultimately repairable (although our reputation may be another matter). Integrity is a work in progress for all of us.

5. Integrity, like education, is both personal and social. Your society judges you. It is reasonable that it does. But it is also reasonable to negotiate limits on that judgment. We spend our lives negotiating those lines, one way or another.

6. Forgiveness, although perhaps difficult and expensive to obtain, should always be available to us. (I test this by occasionally imagining my most “depraved” enemies in testing, and then imagining what they could do that would allow me to forgive them and even collaborate with them.)

7. Although integrity is our highest priority, in general, it is not the only thing that matters. We must apply wisdom and judgment so that the maintenance of integrity does not unreasonably affect our ability to survive. There is no set formula for how to do that.

8. Therefore, our practical priority must be: to learn how to think through and solve problems of survival while maintaining reasonable integrity. This itself is an ongoing project, requiring temperance and self-forgiveness.

9. New testers need to realize that they are not necessarily responsible for the quality of their work. Sometimes you will be asked to do things you don’t understand the value of, even though there may be value. In those situations, it’s okay to be compliant, as long as you are under supervision and someone competent is taking responsibility for what you do. It’s okay to watch and learn and not necessarily to make trouble. (Although, I usually did, even as a newbie.)

10. Experienced testers? Well, much is expected of you. Your clients (your non-tester colleagues and bosses) don’t know how to test, but you are supposed to. You can’t just do what you are told. That would be like letting a drunk friend drive home. Remember, someday your clients may sober up and wonder why you agreed to their stupid plan when you were supposed to be the expert.

Having laid this hopefully reasonable and workable strategy before you… I actually think the dispute between me and my correspondent, above, was not about the importance of integrity or employment at all, but rather about the specifics of the case we were debating. I should tell you what that was: whether it is reasonable for an employer to expect an entry-level tester to “write test cases.”

From a context-driven testing perspective, no practice can be declared unreasonable outside all contexts. But I do know a lot about the typical contexts of testing. I have seen profound waste, all around the industry, due to reckless and thoughtless documenting and counting of things called “test cases.” So, I don’t think that it is reasonable, generally speaking, to require young testers to write test cases. First, because “writing test cases” is what people who don’t know how to test think testers do– so, it’s usually an indicator of incompetent management. Second, because entry-level testers do not have the skills to write test cases in such a way that won’t result in a near complete waste of their client’s time and money. And third, because there are such obviously better things to do, in most cases, including learning about the product and actually testing the product.

Many people disagree with me. But I believe their attitude on this is the single most direct and vital cause of the perpetual infancy and impotency that we see in the testing industry. In other words, it’s not just a disagreement about style, it’s something that I think threatens our integrity as sincere and thoughtful testers. Casual shrugging about test case writing must be stamped out the way transfats are being outlawed in fast food. Yes, that also took years to accomplish.

Speaking of fast food…

Here’s a metaphor that might help: eating at McDonalds.

Eating at McDonalds will not kill you (well, not outright). But what if you were forced to eat at McDonalds for your work? Every day, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Nothing but McDonalds. What if it were obvious to you that eating at McDonalds was not helping you actually succeed in your work? What if instead it was clear to you that such a diet was harming your ability to get your work done? For instance, perhaps you are a restaurant reviewer, except you are almost always full of McDonalds food so you can’t ever enjoy a proper meal at a restaurant you are supposed to review? And yet your manager, who knows nothing about restaurant reviewing, insists that you maintain a McDonalds-dominated dietary regimen.

Couldn’t someone say, hey, it’s a job and you should do what you are told? Yes, they could say that. And it might be true enough at first. But over time, that diet would hurt you; over time, you would have to cope with how poorly you were doing what you believed to be your real job. You might even be criticized for missing bugs– I mean– failing to review restaurants fully, even though it’s largely due to your employer’s own unreasonable process prescriptions.

At some point you might say “enough!!” You might refuse to eat another Big Mac. From the point of view of your management and colleagues, it might look like you were risking your job just because you didn’t want to eat a hamburger. It might look crazy to them. But from your point of view, the issue isn’t the one burger, but rather the unhealthy system, slowly killing you. This breakdown comes more quickly if you happen to have a gluten allergy.

Ethics and integrity in testing is not just about following prissy little rules that many other people flout– it’s about not making yourself sick even if other people are willing to live a sickly life. This requires that you be able to judge what health and sickness means to you. Integrity is about identity health.

A Story of Quitting Even Though I Needed the Work

In 1998, I was hired by a consulting company outside of Washington D.C. I negotiated for a $30,000 sign-on bonus, and bought a house in Virginia. I was the sole breadwinner in my family, with a wife and son to support. I bought a new car, too. In short, I was “all in.”

Six months later, I quit. I had no other job to go to. I had bills due. It took me seven years to pay back my sign-on bonus, with interest (I forfeited it because I did not stay for two years). But with the help of colleagues and family over the following weeks, I made the transition to running my own business. I am most thankful for my wife’s response when I came home that night and told her I walked out on our only source of income. She shrugged and said it was surely for the best, and that something good would come of it. (I can only recommend, gentlemen, that you marry an optimist if you can.) I am also thankful to Cem Kaner, who bought me a laptop (my only computer was then owned by my employer) and said “times like these are when you discover who your true friends are.” This was fitting because it was partly because of Cem that I had previously decided never to sacrifice my professional integrity.

This illustrates one lesson about ethics: community support helps us find and maintain our integrity.

I quit because my company was insisting that I bill hours on a project that, in my opinion, was absolutely certain not to benefit from my work. The client wanted me to create fake test cases. They didn’t call them fake test cases, of course. They claimed to want real test cases; and good ones. But no product had been designed at that time! All I had access to was a general description of requirements, which in this case were literally statements of problems the product was intended to solve, with no information on how they would be solved. It was a safety-critical factory process control system, and no one could show me what it would look like or provide any examples of what specifically it might do. The only test cases I could possibly design would therefore be vague and imaginary, based on layers of soft, fluffy assumptions. The customer told me they would be happy if I delivered a document that consisted of the text of each requirement preceded by the phrase “verify that…” I told them they didn’t need a tester for that. They needed a macro.

The integrity picture was clouded, in that case, because the client believed they had to follow the “V-Model” process, which they had interpreted as demanding that I submit a test case specification document. It was a clash between the integrity of a heuristic (the V-Model) vs. the integrity of solving the problem for which the heuristic was designed. My client might have said that I was the one violating the integrity of the process. Whereas I would have said that my client was not competent to make that judgment.

I’m not saying I won’t do bad work… I’m just saying I won’t do bad work for money. If I do bad work, I want it to be for fun or for learning, but not to anyone’s expense or detriment. Hence a line I use once in a while “I could do that for you, except that you pay me too much.” This is one reason I like being independent. I control what I bill for, and if I think a portion of my work is not acceptable, I don’t charge for it– like a chef who refuses to serve an overcooked steak.

It wasn’t as sudden as it looked…

I didn’t just lose my temper at the first sign of trouble. Things had been coming to a boil for a while. On my very first day I reviewed the RFP for that project and concluded it was doomed, but management bid on it anyway, telling me I needed to “be practical” and that surely “we could be helpful to them if they hired us.” I needed the job, so I relented against my better judgment.

During my first staff meeting, my first week on the job, I challenged the consulting staff about what they did to study testing on their own time. My challenge was met with an awkward silence, after which one of the consultants, sounding soul-wounded, told me he was offended that I would suggest that they weren’t already good enough as testers, “These are the best people I’ve ever worked with” said the twenty-something tester with little experience and no public reputation. “But how do you know they are good?” I asked, knowing that our company had just issued a press release about having hired me (a “distinguished industry pioneer” to quote it exactly). There were other murmurs of annoyance around the table, and the manager stepped in to change the subject. I could have pushed the issue, but I didn’t. I needed the job, so I relented against my better judgment.

I was later told that despite my company’s public position, the other consultants felt that I was a mere armchair expert, whereas they were practical men. I don’t know what evidence they had for that. They never showed me what they could do that I supposedly could not. Management tolerated this attitude. That means they were lying directly to their customers about me– claiming I was an expert when clearly they did not believe I was one. I could have insisted they behave in accordance with their public statements about me. But… I needed the job, so I relented against my better judgment.

I knew the day had come when I must quit because I found myself fantasizing about throwing chairs through windows. That triggered a sort of circuit-breaker of judgment: change your life now, now, now.

So what happened after that?

I suffered for this decision. First came the panic attack. I felt dizzy and it was hard to breathe for a few hours. This was followed by a few years of patching together a project here and a project there, never more than 8 weeks from completely running out of money and credit. We were twice within a week of filing for bankruptcy in the early days. During that time I walked away from a few more projects. I resigned from a dysfunctional government project, hopefully saving valuable taxpayer dollars by not writing a completely unnecessary Software Configuration Management plan that no one on the team wanted. I got myself fired from a project at Texas Instruments after about 90 minutes, because I told them a few things they didn’t want to hear (but that I felt were both true and important).

It’s not all suffering, of course. I once was fired from a project (along with the rest of the test team) and then was the only one hired back– partly because the client realized that my high standards meant that I billed far fewer hours than other consultants. In other words, saying no and being a troublemaker earned me another 500 hours of work, while the yes-sayers lost their situations. I also got some great gigs, including my very first one as an independent, specifically because I am a rabble-rousing kind of thinker.

These days, I cultivate as many clients as I can, so that I don’t rely too much on any one of them. And I have established a reputation for being honest and blunt that generally prevents the wrong sort of people from trying to hire me. It’s not easy, but it can be done: I have made integrity my top priority.

What about before I was well known?

Well, I’ve always had this attitude. It’s not some luxury to me. It’s fundamental. That’s why I had to leave high school. I’ve never been able to “play the game” at the expense of feeling like a good honest man. Like I said, I suffered for it. I wanted to go try myself at MIT, where my much more pliable best friend from high school eventually graduated. I am born to be an academic, but since I can’t stand the compliance-to-ceremony culture of the academic world, I must be an independent scholar, without access to expensive journals and fantastic libraries.

Before anybody heard of me, I treated getting work like dating: be a slightly exaggerated version of myself so that I will be rejected quickly if the relationship is not a fit (a stress testing strategy, you might say). My big break came at Apple, where I worked for a man of vision and good humor who seemed to relish being the mentor I needed. The environment was open and supportive. There was an element of luck in that my first ten years in testing I worked for people who didn’t ask me to tell lies or do bad work on purpose.

So I know it’s possible to find such people. They are out there. You don’t have to work for bozos, and if you currently do, there is yet hope.

A person who does not live true to himself feels sick and weak inside. My identity as “excellent software tester” demands that I take my craft seriously. I hope you will take this craft seriously, too.

P.S. What if my sense of identity doesn’t require me to be good at my job?

Then, technically, none of this applies to you. Your ethical code can include doing bad work. But… why are you reading my blog? How did you get in? Guards! Seize him!


15 thoughts on “Finding Your Own Integrity

  1. James, thank you very much for sharing this.

    Looking back, do you think there are things you could have done differently to convince some of your clients to do good work instead of it leading to your departure? For example, would it have been possible to convince the people on the “dysfunctional government project” that a “Software Configuration Management plan” was not valuable? Would the James Bach today be better suited to persuade them vs the one 15 years ago?

    [James’ Reply: First, I think I did convince the people on the project. The problem was that forces outside of our project (whom I never spoke to or met) were reportedly insisting that I use a process that those on our project didn’t want or need. Now, I could have tracked down the leader of that shadowy process group and attempted to reason with him. I didn’t have the patience to do that. Patience is required to work through a lot of these kinds of problems.]

    If so then what kind of tips would you have for people who want to convince their employers / clients that they’re asking for bad work?

    [James’ Reply: My standard advice is first: grow your credibility as a craftsman. Credibility gets you listened to. There are different ways to do this. I prefer to do it by demonstrating my dedication to excellence. That’s the kind of credibility I want. But there are other forms of credibility, including that which comes from demonstrating blind devotion. That often means sacrificing integrity in the short run in order to build it in the long run. I’m not able to do that, but I can respect that path (in retrospect).

    Also: learn from every dysfunction. If you feel stuck in a bad situation AT LEAST benefit from the experience in some way, on some level.]

  2. I find this to be a very encouraging piece.

    Not because of your stories of the difficulties you faced living in integrity. I think that unless a person is a sociopath, living in integrity is at times incredibly difficult and fraught with risk.

    It’s because you acknowledge that integrity is core, and you acknowledge that it matures, and you acknowledge that sometimes practical matters and hopes and doubts might cause us to live, for a time, outside of our integrity. These are all very human experiences and I feel all to often that the corporate life many of us find ourselves in sometimes pressures us to deny humanity in support of corporate financial objectives.

    [James’ Reply: Moments where we live outside integrity create shame, and shame (in small doses) is an amazing motivator. I did some things when I was a child that I still feel shame over (so much so I have not confessed them to anyone) and still feel the motivation not to repeat those mistakes.]

    I think the one word your piece is missing is courage — because if a person is to live in integrity, it will sometimes take immense courage to do so. Your panic attack and years of living hand to mouth are evidence of that.

    [James’ Reply: Good point. What a lovely idea, courage.]

  3. I know that Matt asked you to write (at least part of) this…but it sure feels like you wrote it just for me…

    [James’ Reply: I was indeed thinking of our conversations as I wrote it. I bet we feel similarly about these things.]

  4. Just 2 cents aka ideas:
    (a) It might be that society (or at least the human environment of a person) defines the identity (or identity feeling) more than one would assume. So it might be that identity and society are like a candle and the figure on it.
    (b) Above identity could be something quite vague, Robert Dilts calls it spirituality, or let’s say the higher idea of what one’s life is about, the big purpose in regard to life, the universe, and so on.

    [James’ Reply: Excellent points. Thank you.]

  5. Thank you James. Really good article on the importance of maintaining one’s integrity in order to do your job as a tester properly. A lot of what you talk about resonates with my own experiences in the industry (albeit a lot less extensive than yours). Having courage in your convictions and refusing to compromise your professional and personal integrity is so crucial to delivering the quality of service your clients need ( and deserve) – even if they do not necessarily realise it themselves at the time.

    It is not easy to do but certainly pays dividends in the long run – your example and experience are a case in point which fills me with confidence that doing the right thing is the only way to go. Whilst not always the case, I have found that some of the most tense (and intense) situations I have encountered where senior stakeholders have really pushed hard but I have stuck to my guns, have often resulted in their grudging admiration as well as a respect and faith in my capabilities which have led them to trust my judgement. It has frequently resulted in them coming to me first to get my input upfront. It has not always been the case of course but is really refreshing to see when it does happen.

  6. Good to read. Read it and drop it. End of day I have a demanding wife, crying son whose demands just boil down to ‘money’.

    [James’ Reply: But if you drop your integrity, how do I know you are telling the truth about this? Maybe you will say anything as long as it feels good.]

    After this I have my desires which also boils down to money. I would say make clear your integrity, drop it after that.

    [James’ Reply: Really, you would say that? But what are you? Are you the kind of person who, not possessing integrity, will routinely tell lies? If so, then what does it matter what you say? A zombie shouts “brains!” but that’s not a demand we need to honor.

    Without your integrity, you are half a man. Like a zombie, you lack something and you don’t know what it is. Some people fill that hole with food, some with brains, or in your case, money.]

    After all I have just another 20 years to realize my wish in life. Life is short. I can’t risk building a product which I believe is good vs which the customers want. It’s what means m&m Scorpio vs Tara safari in India.

    [James’ Reply: I don’t know what that means. I can say, for me, my wish in life cannot be fulfilled unless I am fully present and not pretending to be what I am not.]

  7. James,

    you wrote your article on the right time, I think. Celebrating Christmas eve is a good time to think of integrity. I think, many of your thoughts are correct, but to starting work on your integrity you have to be aware of your own integrity, the values you follow. Maybe the first step means finding your own values in your own by having a long view inside your own to reflect yourself and formulate it.

    [James’ Reply: Yes!]

    You have mentioned mental illness as exception to the integrity rule. Maybe a person who is diagnosed as mental ill is behaving normally and according to his integrity from his point of view. Everyone constructs a personal world. We know it as constructivism.

    [James’ Reply: Agreed. I simply wanted to acknowledge that I am not speaking for the entire range of human experience.]

    Happy new year and greets from germany.

  8. Hey James,

    Such a great post. If I interchange names and places this could be something that matches my experiences. Maybe not to that extreme but similar. I have quit jobs/projects before when the piled up too high. Every time I wonder whether I should have pulled the plug earlier and I probably should have.

    When you ask people if they are ethical or have integrity everyone immediately says that of-course they do!!!! I think it’s a question you can’t say no to anyway but in my experience it’s little more than a knee-jerk reaction to a question.

    I think living by ethical standards and having integrity are THE most difficult things in corporate life to come by. The longer I am in IT the clearer the picture gets and I wonder what on earth we’re doing here. Little of what gets done is ethical and even tries to be truthful. Deception and smoke & mirrors are having a heyday, as you can see by the latest big IT disasters all over the globe.

    I think this is all still a consequence of the inability in the corporate world to constructively deal with failure. This of course clashes immensely with testing as that is exactly what we try and do.

    I am still on the path of trying to get where I want to be but I think awareness is a huge 1st step. If your eyes are open to what is happening around you and how you are compromised you are well into an ethical work-life. The next steps then basically become inevitable if you don’t willingly put your head in the sand.

    Cheers Oliver

  9. Excellent read, I can relate to some of the examples mentioned in the article. Its sometimes hard for some people to understand that people like us have integrity as their number one priority, and that’s what helps us sleep at night. Its important to understand that the job we do day to day as a tester kind off has a moral side to it. We get paid so that we can test the software to the best of our ability and present honest results so that client can make an informed decision. Creating unnecessary test cases\fake test cases, providing incorrect test estimates I think falls under the same category as fraud. I always make sure whenever I am approached by someone who is new to testing about this topic, its important we have more and more people who bring honesty to the table.

    Wish you a very Happy New Year and hope to see some awesome blogs this year too..

  10. Hi James,

    Thanks for your help with another comment I made (on your acceptance test post).

    I really like this post, and coupled with what you said to me about credibility, it’s made me feel an insight into what I need to do next, to achieve a better idea of myself, in terms of what I’m willing to risk to achieve a greater sense of integrity.

    I was wondering how you feel about the leaving process of a job, and how it’s deemed that being completely honest (retaining your integrity) with your employer is deemed as this negative, usually phrased as “burning bridges”. I’m not talking about being offensive, because that’s obvious in what it achieves.

    [James’ Reply: I can’t give a general answer, because I would feel differently depending on the particulars of the situation. For instance, I might not care what anyone else thinks. Or maybe I must leave in a way that doesn’t damage my public reputation.]

    When I left my previous job, there was a point in the HR process where they asked me why I wanted to leave.

    So (from social expectation of my peers, my wife and my family) I didn’t express everything I wanted. I expressed truth, but only segments of truth. So instead of saying;

    [James’ Reply: You can tell the truth and still say it in a positive or neutral way, if you feel that’s important. I will translate the items below…]

    – The expectation was for me to perform my role immorally and to non-efficient standards, as an effort of Smoke and Mirrors to gain short term “wins” at the cost of long term critical failures.

    [James’ Reply: “There was a conflict between me and management about what behavior was moral and efficient. I felt that I could not support emphasis management placed on short term goals at the expense of the long term interests of the company.”]

    – My management never appreciated my feedback and consider they had little to no knowledge of testing, they should have accounted for their lack of expertise by listening to the test team.

    [James’ Reply: I didn’t feel that my skills as a tester were valued enough or that my ideas were faithfully considered. If this company doesn’t want a good tester, I should go work for a company that does.]

    – They tried to integrate non-testing related activities into my role.

    [James’ Reply: I prefer to work in a role where I can focus on testing. But in this company I get the impression management felt that testing should be a part-time job.]

    – They had no intention to train and nurture us individually as testers, or develop the team as a group.

    [James’ Reply: In this industry, it’s important to take care of yourself, especially if no one else will. I was disappointed at the lack of support and opportunity for professional development, here. I think I can find another employer who is willing to invest more in me.]

    – I felt I had learned what I could from this company so I should move on.

    [James’ Reply: That last one is already neutral/positive.]

    I only stated the last line, and even then I re-phrased it to sound more “professional” (“I felt 3 years was a good time to move on and learn new things”).

    But this is the first key point I want to make, when it comes to integrity, do you dismiss the idea of sacrificing small elements if that somehow enables you to eventually get to a better place, like making concessions in an effort to give you a greater prestige award?

    [James’ Reply: No I do not dismiss that idea. That’s why I wrote “Integrity is not like a vase that shatters easily, and that once shattered is irretrievable. Integrity is more like an ongoing public artwork, exposed to and buffeted by the elements, sometimes damaged but always ultimately repairable (although our reputation may be another matter). Integrity is a work in progress for all of us.”

    What I meant by that is that I may indeed make a small sacrifice if I feel there is a better future in the longer run. The sacrifices are still painful, and I think long and hard, trying to make a good decision.]

    Saying that, “The greater good” argument is a slippery slope, and I’m aware of that.

    So I suppose my other question is, is there an alternative which allows you to retain your integrity, be honest AND ensure you aren’t “burning bridges”?

    [James’ Reply: Well, I think my principal strategy is aimed at just that. Here it is: Do not build bridges that you will probably have to burn. What I do is cultivate a public reputation as a cantankerous and upright character– and that scares away people who shouldn’t be hiring me, which saves me the trouble of having fallings out.]


  11. Hi James, I respect you a lot and you are my role model in Testing world. I am in testing profession for 3 years. So far doing great. My confidence comes from the feedback I receive from my mentors and peers at job. I keep studying a lot of books and articles to improve my critical thinking ability. But with less experience its hard to convince new employer to get a job. How can I compete with other people in Job market with tons of experience (I know lot of them is not even real) being honest about my experience and resume. Thanks.

    [James’ Reply: Generally speaking, the way new people compete is by being less expensive and more motivated. Also, I would suggest that you practice testing and show employers your bug reports from your own testing efforts. Have you contacted me for a coaching session?]

  12. Please to meet you Mr. Howard Roark…have you ever thought about going into Architecture?

    Jokes aside, you can write your own Fountainhead novel as you sound like the exemplar of individualism.

    [James’ Reply: In high school, I read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged and considered myself an objectivist. Then I grew up a little more and discovered this marvelous thing called compassion. I am pretty much an individualist by base temperament, but I’ve learned how to be part of a team and even sacrifice myself for others to some small (but satisfying) degree.

    Taking your integrity seriously is not the same as severing yourself from your village or species.]

  13. Nothing to criticize only appreciation for the post. We say, Integrity is- Doing the shit that you said you were going to do. Nothing more… Nothing Less..

    [James’ Reply: If that were true, you could have perfect integrity as long as you never made any explicit promises. Does that really make sense to you? And isn’t it possible that someone could not do what he said he would do for reasons that have nothing to do with integrity– for instance, it may turn out he was interrupted by some force outside of his control?]

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