A recent kerfuffle in baseball raises an interesting question about how we all interact in the workplace. The tiff stems from players breaking baseball's code of unwritten rules.
You might laugh, but every community has unwritten rules. For instance, is it normal to let people off the elevator before you enter it? What do you do with your toilet seat or toothpaste cap? That depends on who lives with you, right? Unless you live in a very strange place, the rules aren't written down, but they're known.
In a recent game against the rival Boston Red Sox, Michael Pineda, a pitcher for the New York Yankees placed pine tar on his neck, so that he could coat the ball with the tar in order to grip it better. Putting pine tar on the ball is explicitly illegal. However, after the game, A.J. Pierzynski of the Red Sox told ESPN:
Guys do it. I don't have a problem with guys doing it as a hitter, especially on a night where it's cold and windy. Put it on your hat, put it on your pants. Put it on your belt. Put it on your glove. Whatever you've got to do. But at some point you can't do it that blatantly. I think that's what the biggest issue was. No one has an issue with him doing it, but that it was so blatant.
Really? It isn't the cheating but that he flaunted it? The Red Sox were entirely willing to overlook the written rule about the pine tar, but they had Pineda inspected (the rule says you have to ask the umpire to inspect the offending player) because he broke the unwritten rule.
It got me to thinking. I've covered IT for a long time, but I don't hang out daily in IT departments. Are there unwritten IT rules? There must be. As I said, every community has them.
There are unwritten E2 rules -- don't be unprofessional in your comments, don't spam the chat rooms, and countless others. Societies and pocket communities work the rules out almost without ever discussing them. And it isn't just etiquette. Often the unwritten rules are about making things work their best.
So what are the unwritten rules in IT that I don't know about? What are the penalties for breaking them? Comment below.