This one is gonna be a tad difficult to layout.
But it's golden advice to anyone who would consider starting their business - remember the painful Justice 4 Pat episode?
I am going to tell you how to avoid something as unfair happenning to YOU!
Bottom line : NEVER mix up personal stuff and business. NEVER - EVER.
1) Never trust a person on their words, keep written or recorded traces as much as the laws of your country allow it.
2) Never stray from the defined scope of a contract - you can make a few exceptions to this IF and only IF you keep a written record for each exception.
3) Never dip your pen in the company's ink : you can keep casual relationships with co-workers, we are human, don't make them more than that with a co-worker
of the opposite sex.
4) Never bow down before knowing your rights. This certainly is the most important one : never let bullying hinder your mental capabilities.
5) Never make emails, or written records, personal : in written conversation, stay completely neutral - 0 agressivity, insults, boner jokes, you name it - keep it all lightweight.
I do NOT encourage or seek for conflict - my direct colleagues are very happy to have worked with me apparently,
I am quite easy going, flexible, and helpful, however, I respond very badly to manipulation, cheating, and lies.
In essence, I have difficulties to abide to authority IF and only IF authority does not make sense to me - though life,
I trust my judgement and that's the only thing I trust.
I happened to have difficulties with some persons in the management in my previous work experiences :
because I always stuck to my contracts and serving the interest of my customers,
whereas some persons from a customer's management, when it comes to paying the full price of a consultant,
will do all kinds of weird things.
This is difficult to explain, but once, to avoid conflict and pressure, a customer's high representative decided to hide
some compromising facts.
This could have caused the loss of an important customer to the company, thus hindering their public image.
I was torn between standing against my direct supervisor on site, and standing for what I had signed for : the company's interests.
I plaid it "dumb" - sent an email saying "Dear manager, our customer reports x/y/z problem with the technical system we have supplied
to him, thus he cannot do the work we expect from him - and he is now facing legal consequences because of that. How do I handle it?"
In the short term, it got me a virtual kick in the ass from the manager in question.
In the longer run, it got other departments of the company to become aware of the issue, avoid losing their customer,
and become aware that the charge weighing on my shoulders was too much for one man alone - which resulted
in measures to patch both issues.
So the company's interests were preserved. The end user's interests were preserved, and after that, things got "fluider"
as more personel was hired to handle situations like this.
I swear to God my knees trembled when I understood in which kind of mess I was - but I took the right decision,
and will happily live knowing this and knowing it resulted in the best outcome.
Conflict is bad, but it sometimes is a necessity - without it, evolution stagnates.
Companies fight legal battles all the time, as much as individual debate and argue often - this is something positive.
If you decide to run your own business, by ALL MEANS, stick to the rules I laid out above, you'll be better for it.
(but as an additional rule of thumb, unlike my own "threat" to the Asylum which results in hindered threads, escalate as
a LAST RESORT. If you've followed the other rules and held back from escalation, you'll win all the battles that you're faced with).