[Project 01] A Step Above the Rest

Alex Lemaigned and I worked together to create a Code of Ethics. It begins with a preamble stating the importance of having a code of ethics and holding ourselves to a higher standard being at Our Lady’s University. This creates for the reader a mindset to enter into when reading the code. It is a sort of “commander’s intent” as the United States Navy likes to put it. For someone reading the code, it will be clear what the intent of each enumerated point is. They may be able to play around with the wording, but because of the clearly stated intent, the spirit of each point will remain.

The enumerated code is centered around software technology and attempts to address the potential ethical problems that could arise as a result of working in such a field. Firstly that the common good should be the goal of any project. These skills are not for taking advantage of those without this knowledge. Secondly, that honestly in all the work we do is imperative. Stealing or non-accreditation cannot be tolerated. Thirdly, and possibly the most controversial, privacy must be respected, even when private information is available to us. This need is ever growing in today’s world of digital storage of sensitive or private materials. Finally, to be great examples to society of high ethical behavior coming from Our Lady’s University. We not only will be able to encourage higher standards, but the institution will be trusted more as a whole and will attract the best in the world to its gates.

The weaknesses in this document include the broad and sometimes vague language. While the intent is very clear, there are some situation in which it will be much more difficult to decide based on intent, especially if both options are seemingly in or out of touch with the intent. There are also some people who would rather not grasp the intent of the code and only focus on the exact wording. These are the kind of people that will argue word meanings in themselves endlessly, without taking them in context. We contemplated this balance and decided that the vast majority of the students here would have the full capacity to grasp the intent of the code through the preamble. And if there happened to be one of those exceptions, the rest of the students would be able to thoughtfully argue intent and issue a decision in line with that intent.

I believe a Code Of Ethics is very useful. It allows students to enter into a frame of mind when going into their work and creating new things. There is a higher purpose in which they strive. Excellence takes on a new meaning. There are much fewer risky situations to be run into when a project is started with ethical decisions in mind.

I personally enjoyed the enumeration of these principles because they helped bring them back to the forefront. All of these things are generally basic to each of us, but it is easy to forget sometimes. Having them in the forefront again as a more mature adult, gives them new meaning, new importance. It also prepares me a bit for the much larger code of ethics that will be presented to me as an officer in the Navy. We are also held to a very high standard and it is a highly effective exercise to begin that mindset now.

[Reading 02] Salary Negotiation Isn’t Really a Thing That Exists in the Navy

It is quite a unique experience being in a class that mainly relies on discussing the fulfillment of your education in a career in your field of study. I imagine this is quite normal for most people, as the purpose of going to a university, paying hundreds of thousands of dollars, and studying a particular subject, presumably would result in using those skills to acquire a well-paying career. Ah but for the lucky few of us, we get to come to a university and suffer through our majors only in order to virtually completely disregard them to serve in our nation’s armed forces.

Now I wouldn’t say that studying mechanical engineering was useless by any means. I really did learn quite a lot in my time here at Notre Dame. I learned all about what it means to work with no sleep for hours on end and still produce a fairly good product. I am now quite proficient at finding the answer to a previously thought impossible problem, by using the google machine. I’ve learned how to sleep in places most would find drastically uncomfortable to look at. I learned…well I could go on all day like that.

I mention all of that only to say that being in the Navy doesn’t give me room to negotiate really anything. It does save me from even having to look for a job! But most of what that job was going to be was set from the time I came into school freshman year. The only options I had was competing to choose between the 3 different communities that officers from ROTC go into: Surface Warfare, Submarine Warfare, and Aviation.

For the first 3.5 years of college, one of the main goals for midshipman is to get good grades and rank well in your own class of midshipmen, as well as among the midshipmen across the nation. The higher ranked you are, the more likely you are to get your preferred selection of those three when the time comes. Unfortunately, unless you are ranked #1, you are not guaranteed anything. “Needs of the Navy” come first.

For those midshipmen like myself who wanted to become Naval Aviators, there is a test called the Aviation Selection Test Battery (ASTB). This tests for potential as an aviator. Fortunately for aviators, doing very well on this test greatly increases one’s chances of being selected. Despite my less than stellar class ranking, I did extremely well on this test and as a result, got selected to be a Student Naval Aviator after commissioning and graduation!

So really, in the end, the only thing to do is get commissioned and start your career. This is very different than any of the readings for today. They were all about the willingness to negotiate and how much new graduates worried about losing their offer if they negotiated. Being in the military negates all of these fears, but it also negates the benefits. The military salary is set up with a base pay for each rank. It is the same across the board for officers of the same rank and goes up the same upon promotion. Added to base pay, are benefits and allowances that raise the overall salary quite a bit.

A couple major allowances are the Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS), which is meant to offset costs for a member’s meals, and Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), to offset the cost of housing. Your BAH depends upon your location, pay grade and whether you have dependents. They vary greatly depending on your location because the BAH rates are set by surveying the cost of rental properties in each geographic location. Because of this, it all evens out among service members of the same rank.

In the end, the best way to raise one’s salary is to get promoted for being a great officer. This promotes the best type of negotiation: the kind that is done with your actions.

Depending on your rank and time in the military, base pay is consistent among members of the same rank.