Questions I've been avoiding - Part One
I've not been posting a lot of "Ask Shifra" questions lately.
I've got a few good reasons:
1) I've been busy and blogging less overall
2) Many of the questions I've been receiving and answering have been handled privately via email at the request of the questioner.
3) The questions sent to me are either too broad, too personal, WAY beyond my depth or offensive.
Still I must press on!
This question, posed quite innocently, is both beyond my depth and somewhat offensive but I will do my best with it.
My employer pays me a decent salary to basically do nothing. Is it ethical for me to continue working? Is it ethical to spend my time at work doing something more constructive, for example blogging (or learning)? My employer is not Jewish.
Before I answer this question I have to speak my mind about the last bit of this question.
While halacha may disagree with me, to my mind who you are working for makes NO difference with regard to the general ethics. While the readership of this blog is primarily Jewish I'm pretty sure there are a few non-Jews who stick with me despite the language barrier and frankly that kind of talk embarrasses me. If you are a moral person you will treat everyone with the same respect and ethics regardless of their religion or ethnicity. If you believe that you are among the chosen people then why not be a light to the nations rather than try to screw everyone who doesn't belong to your tribe.
Ok that was kind of a tirade, and hopefully an undeserved one but that sort of this really gets under my skin and I felt it had to be said.
OK anonymous if you don't hate me by now lets get to the rest of your question - and if you do hate me and have navigated away from this blog never to return, perhaps there are others who might be in a similar situation.
I've written some posts in the past about slacking and blogging at work in the past but your situation is a little different since you don't seem to have any actual work to do!
I suppose it depends why you have no work:
I know there are some people who practically make a career out of avoiding work, like Wally in the comic strip "Dilbert." These Wallys avoid work by passing it off onto other people and that I would say is unethical because you are being paid for work you are shirking.
If things are just "slow" around the office (or wherever it is you work) and your employer is keeping you around in the hopes that things pick up then I suppose you might as well make good use of your time - blogging, learning, reading, and perhaps sending your resume around because this situation never lasts very long - things will either pick up or it will be layoff time before you know it.
Another possibility is that you have a specific talent or skill which makes it work keeping you around for only occasional use. If that's true LUCKY YOU! As long as you do your work when you are asked to do it then why not enjoy your free time. They are lucky that you grace the office with your presence at all.
To sum up: As long as your boss knows what you are up to (ie nothing) and is OK with it I can't see any reason not to use your time as you please as long as it doesn't hurt your employer or cost them money (like running a side business stealing office supplies and selling them out of your car in the parking lot for example.)
I don't think you are required to ADVERTISE that you are doing nothing but as long as you do whatever your boss asks of you and don't try to pretend you are working on things that you aren't you might as well enjoy your days... Situations like this rarely last long.