I'm a new employee to a small company. Two years ago, the founder of the company died and we now have two directors, Pavel and Archibald. Pavel is the son of the founder. I don't know how Archibald got there, but he now has the most influence. I was hired by Archibald.

I have my own project, let's call it "XProj". XProj is not finished yet. XProj might be useful to the company and bring it profit, or it may be not useful and not bring any profit. Personally, I sympathize more with Pavel rather then with Archibald. I haven't done any action to promote XProj yet. My goal would be to have 4 days per week working on Archibald's projects, and 1 day per week working on "XProj" for Pavel.

My plan is the following: I don't want to initiate the approach to Pavel. I would rather hint and present Pavel my project via one of Pavel's faithful guys, who sits in the same office room with me. Pavel may like the idea or not. But if he likes the idea, I would like it to be Pavel's initiative, so that Pavel agrees with Archibald so that the company devotes me one day per week to work on XProj. If my project has success, it would bring Pavel just a little bit more influence because XProj may be applied to the bigger projects of our company (broaden possibilities).

Is my plan ethical? Am I missing something?


Is my plan ethical?

Yes. You're just presenting an opportunity to your employer - nothing wrong with that at all.

Am I missing something?

If you're correct in your assumption that there is tension between Pavel and Archibald, then you're about to get engaged in a game of office politics. Particularly as a new employee, be very careful about doing that as if you get it wrong you could very rapidly discover that your working life is either not very enjoyable or potentially at a different company.

Stepping back a bit, it sounds to me as if you're overcomplicating this. If you have an idea you want to present to your company, just present it to the person who is most obviously responsible for it - which sounds like its either Archibald or Pavel. Don't get involved in politics, don't try complicated things to try and persuade people that something was their idea when really it was yours, just do the right thing and let the politics sort itself out elsewhere.


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