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Unethical Employers


No matter what type of job you have, there may come a time when you are asked to do something that you just don’t feel is appropriate.  This could range from having your boss request you do something as simple as pick up his dry cleaning (assuming you’re not a Personal Assistant) or as complex as doing some “creative accounting” to hide her offshore bank account full of the company’s money.  These requests can often leave us questioning ourselves and wondering where exactly we should draw the line.  In the end, the choice is up to you, but you might want to take a few things into consideration when making your decision.

  1.  How much do you want to please the boss?  If you’re new at the job or are vying for a promotion, you might feel like you need to go above and beyond your regular job description to make a great impression.  If you’ve just been accepted into the law firm of Best, Job and Ever, for example, putting in some late nights might be necessary in that particular corporate culture.
  2.  Are your expectations realistic?  Sometimes you may be asked to do something that you feel is “beneath” you or your position.  Examine your own take on the situation to make sure you’re not jumping to conclusions.  Maybe it’s not usually the Office Manager’s job to empty the trash, but if that’s the way it works in your company, you may need to readjust your thinking.
  3. Is it worth losing your job over?  Some things are just more important than others, and only you know where to draw that line for youself.  For some people, a strict dress code is not just a nuisance, it’s also a deal breaker.  For others, having to wear a tie or pantyhose is just a part of going to work every day.
  4. How does it make you feel about yourself?  If you’re being asked to do something that goes against your basic principles or seems particularly unethical, then you really have some soul searching to do.  You might need to review the earlier questions when deciding how to move forward. 
  5. Could you go to jail for it?  Just because something doesn’t seem immoral to us doesn’t mean it’s legal.  Consider the ramifications of following through on your boss’ request; and if it can get you a criminal record, it might just be time to walk away.

One of the joys of being a freelancer is that I get to be my own boss.  That doesn’t mean that clients don’t ask me to do things I’m not comfortable doing.  Once a client wanted me to make up testimonials for their products and sign them with bogus names.  The devil on one shoulder said I would get extra money for it, while the angel on the other kept pointing out that it felt wrong, wrong, wrong!  I had to determine for myself whether to decline that part of the assignment based on my personal convictions or if I needed to walk away from the entire project altogether.

 There are aspects of freelance writing that I find distasteful and dishonest, but my take on them may differ from yours.  I hate it when blogs “scrape” other blogs for material.  Even if they’re offering a link back, I don’t think it’s worth it.  There are also software programs that “spin” articles to get a bunch of similar pieces that will still pass as “original” content because of the use of synonyms and altered phrasing.  In fact, you will find employers out there who will hire you to do this by hand.  I would never do this type of work, and I don’t have a lot of respect for those who do. 

 Whether you work in an office, on a farm, or in a factory, you may find that there’s a time when you have to decide where to draw the proverbial line that you just won’t cross. 

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    On October 26th, 2007 at 9:59 pm, timothy k sebers said:

    hey love what your doing.

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