How much of your soul will you sell to take on a project? How far will you go to make a buck? Do you ignore the ache in the pit of your stomach? Do you let people get away with bullying to get the job done? Do you fuel the fire with rumors? What is it all worth to you?
One of my clients, back in the day, asked me to do a job that was somewhat unconventional. When I received the project, I realized the unconventional job was promoting assault rifles.
Part of me was like “just do it for the money.” The other part of me was screaming “run for the hills!” Yes, I took the job. As time passed, the project got bigger, the request for more kept coming, and the ache in the pit of my stomach grew heavier and heavier. How much of my integrity would I give up for a job?
Then it hit me. I cannot sacrifice that much to make a buck. I called up my client and quit the job halfway through. I hate assault rifles, I won’t promote them.
This example was extreme, but it is a type of “gut check” that happens in the corporate setting daily. Jobs questioning ideals happen often. Bullies strong-arm projects everyday. People get treated poorly on a regular basis, and the hot rumors are spread at the water cooler frequently. Unethical and immoral behavior in the work place is real and happens daily.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not “holier than thou.” I have done all of these things and let’s be honest, so has everyone in every corporate setting everywhere. Here is my point, hopefully people live and learn.
Ask yourself these questions: do you listen to your gut? If a job goes against your beliefs, will you say “no?” If you hear something unethical happening in the workplace, do you go to HR? Will you report the bully? When you hear rumors at the water cooler, do you keep them to yourself? Answer all of the above questions in your head before doing the job, ignoring the behavior, or spreading the rumor. It comes down to this, should you sacrifice your integrity?
No matter what field you are in, you will be faced with the question of whether or not to take on that job, speak up about an unethical situation or behavior, or fight for the people getting treated poorly. My advice: Don’t sell your soul. Keep your integrity intact. Listen to your gut. Do the right thing. Times are changing and so is the workplace. Corporate America has become very lean, but also, very cutthroat. Stay true to who you are, and don’t let the almighty dollar buy your soul for cheap. It is not for sale.