Often in my IT career, clients ask me to do illegal things. I tell them no and leave. This is one of those experiences.
I was called to a new client I had never helped before. She had an accident and was confined to home; therefore, her computer was a big source of connection and entertainment. She had a problem with the OS she had installed and needed to upgrade the OS to fix the issue. However, it was the time of Windows 95/98 and to play her newly bought game she needed to upgrade to that. I suggested that she buy that and then I could come back and reinstall and then she could play her games. She noticed that I had disks that I used to fix problems and of course, the Windows install disk was one of them. She said to me “I’ll give you $25 and you use your disk and we don’t have to tell anyone.” I told her no and that I had fixed her other issues and asked her for the payment now and I would leave. She apologized and gave me the payment and I left. I never want back to her again.
This is not to say how virtuous I am, but that I will not do something for a short-term gain that is unfair. Microsoft deserved the money for the software and cheating anyone even a monopoly isn’t fair. She tried to use her being in a wheelchair and limited funds as an excuse for her behavior, but the truth is that she owned her home and could afford to buy an upgrade. I don’t need to put myself in a questionable situation because someone else wants to do something cheap and immoral. It never is worth it.
Why am I sharing this? I just watched an episode of the classic Magnum PI where one of his friends T.C. illegally smuggled one of their old Vietnam buddies into the country with a simple helicopter flight. The guy he smuggled saved his life and he felt sorry for him because he used drugs and was mentally unstable from Vietnam. It is a regrettable situation that his friend has gotten into, but breaking the law doesn’t help anyone. Everyone has to face the consequences of their choices even when life has dealt them an unfair hand.
No short-term gain is worth the loss term consequences. Even when you don’t get caught you know that you did something that hurts others. I don’t accept negative karma and I am not going to create it. Why hurt yourself?