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Re: Another thorny ethical dillemma

Ethical Dilemma

Imagine you are a recent graduate with financial responsibilities in the form of student loans, plus perhaps a young family or aging parent who are dependent on you for support. Literally the ONLY job in your field that has become available to you after an extensive search is with a large oil company. The job is in many ways perfect for your skills, and pays very well, but working for such a company goes against deeply held convictions regarding environmental safety and the need to reverse climate change. Do your obligations to the bank and your dependants, not to mention your own desire to get ahead in your career outweigh your ethical conviction to environmental issues and principles?

How might the decision to take (or NOT to take) the job be rationalized?


The basis for ethical beliefs and convictions have their origins in several sources. Some of which are religion, parental upbringing, community, passion and friends. In this scenario the first thing I would so would be to identify the source of my ethical conviction. After that, I would carefully consider how much these convictions actually matter to me. Would I be able to live with myself if I take the job? Will I have a sense of fulfilment after every work day?

Some might argue that it would be unreasonable to turn down a job because of such a conviction. However, it should be noted that going against such strong convictions can result in stress resulting from a guilty conscience or lack of job satisfaction leading to depression. Job performance may also suffer due to these convictions( which defeat the purpose of taking the job for career goals). Sometimes, financial need and career progress are not the most important things.

If financial situation gets to a critical point, I might be tempted to take the employment on a temporary basis. Which is a tricky situation as I have seen people plan to work for an employer temporarily but they end up there for several years.

What would be ethically wrong in any case would be to take the job knowng fully well you will not be comfortable carrying out asigned tasks.


This article by josephson institute of ethics, makes for a good read on the subject




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