toxic jobs

Personal stories about toxic jobs and workplace woes.

June 02, 2012

be honest and ethical at work

Morgan is 23, in her first job, and she's eager to move on to a more lucrative position with a larger organization so that she can have an independent lifestyle. One thing she learned when her parents split up is that you will never be respected if you don't have ethics, and she is very careful about making her next career move because the last thing she wants to do is stuff up her future career.

“It is always tricky - and in some cases unethical - to search for and gain a new job while you’re still employed,” says Morgan, “and I want to do things properly so that I don’t stuff up my future career.”

“In view of the sometimes highly unethical work practices of some employers -- and the intolerable situations some employees find themselves in at work – I tend to agree that worrying about ethics under these conditions is a waste of time,” says Morgan, “but I wouldn't do it myself, no matter how bad the employer was."

"Not all employers are unethical – mine certainly isn’t," says Morgan, "and in most cases we all have special bonds with our employers that need to be recognized and given respect."

"These bonds aren’t as strong as marital bonds," laughs Morgan, "but they are bonds and for this reason I think it's important to be upfront about finding a new job while employed. This is especially the case if you've been employed for a considerable length of time, have privileged information about the company or have family contacts with anyone working for the company."

"Look at it from your employer's angle," muses Morgan. "I wouldn't like it if someone I was paying to put in a day's work had his or her mind on another employer and was using my facilities to job-search."

"Take it a step further," says Morgan. "Would you like it if your partner were sleeping in your bed but making arrangements to move out and sleep in someone else's bed?"

"So, if we do have a special bond with our employer and there is basic trust between us," says Morgan, "it is not just plain good manners to tell our employer that we’re looking for another job."

"If an employer is reasonable," says Morgan, "then he or she really shouldn’t mind that you need to make telephone calls to recruiters and prospective new employers, and time off to attend interviews while you are still working."

“I really believe that this sort of honesty will be appreciated and remembered.”

“I am aware, though, that most straying employees are not upfront about their intentions. Telephone calls, emails and time off to attend interviews become furtive endeavors entailing a great deal of deception.”

"If you don’t have a special bond with your employer, and he or she has totally ignored any legitimate grievance you have at work," says Morgan, "then I agree that you need to do what you need to do in order to take care of yourself."

"In my case, though, I am just bored where I am and in order to ensure my future career survival I need to be honest and ethical."

Read more of Morgan's story:

  • ethics and headhunters
  • uncomfortable living with stepmother

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