The Jobs Dilemma

If you are a socially conscious person and someone who has the opportunity to be selective with employment, you may have chosen an employer based on their overall reputation and worldview versus the narrow substance of the job on offer.

In the past, that was perhaps an easier task. Answers to relevant questions were more easily found: What does your company do? To whom do they donate? Do they have any unsavory characters on the board?

When companies – and society – were more monolithic, the answers to these questions were more static. But society especially is moving more quickly these days. Campaigns for and against issues are more widespread and quickly adopted. People and organizations choose sides more prominently. Companies are larger and more diversified. What if your division is a force for good in a larger corporate entity that is deleterious?

It’s not easy for those in salaried employment, but it’s even harder for the unconventionally employed. It’s hard enough to find work, but then to do a morality checklist on the company means you’ll be passing on work. And that’s just making a decision based on where the company is today. External, current events will compel companies to make crucial decisions. Think about how widespread under-the-surface NRA discounts were and how many companies made decisions one way or the other to continue or remove them.

It takes a lot of work to stay informed and even more work to decide between a steady gig and absolute adherence to one’s moral code, which may not even hold when your current client confronts a new situation.

There is no absolute solution here. But a few good rules of thumb:

1) Try to verbalize your morals and worldview, so it’s easier to see the types of clients you want to take on

2) Ask the right questions when you are holding conversations. There are better ways to ask tough questions than others, but if it’s important to you and a particular question turns off the interviewer, then you know it’s not the right place for you.

3) If aligning with clients who are on the same moral code as you is paramount, then you should identify your dream clients and work zealously to sign them up. Make sure to point out how important a client’s worldview is to working with them. It’s likely they’ll appreciate it.

4) If #3 seems farfetched or frankly is not your biggest concern, do your best to balance your work life with volunteering or giving back in some way. Perhaps setting aside time to do pro bono work in the field of your expertise.

You alone can and should judge what is right for you. Above all, do what feels right.