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Thread: Career-Related Ethical Dilemma

  1. #21
    Senior Member Array cafe's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halla74 View Post
    +1. The wise mouse hath spoken.

    Take the money and run, and look out for #1, Oh yeah, that's how it is in the business world, and your career is YOUR business.
    I agree with this and what others have said. All but a few businesses/organizations will eat you up and crap you out when they are done with you, giving you as little as possible in between. It's been a hard concept for me and my ultra-loyal husband to grasp, but we've learned the hard way.

    As far as I'm concerned, the employer sets the tone of the work relationship and the level of loyalty they inspire. Your current employer does not sound like a shining exception to business as usual. As such, they do not deserve heroic acts of loyalty, self-sacrifice, and devotion. If you are able to advance your career and your financial situation, there's nothing wrong with doing so, IMO.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  2. #22
    thankful Array PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
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    I have to wonder what exactly about this question is an "ethical dilemma". You feel some loyalty to your current employer, and that's admirable, but it's a question of an eminently more practical nature.

    Some of the advice in this thread is not taking into account all of the possible variables either, so I'll share some extra stuff in the hopes it will be helpful.

    I am going to assume only one thing here; that since you are applying to an "institution" for this new opportunity, you are applying to a place similar to where you are currently working, probably education and perhaps publicly funded as well. This assumption will play a role in some of the advice I offer below.

    1.) Using an offer from a new employer is the worst leverage to use in trying to negotiate a salary where you are now. If you are going to apply, just do it, and if you get the offer, leave (unless the job raises red flags for you / seems like a bad fit). No matter what happens at your current employ (you negotiate more money or they offer it to you to stay) AND you stay, you will only ensure some of your colleagues end up resenting you. People talk.

    2.) Be aware that if you turn down an offer from the new employer, you most likely will never get another offer from them again, for any position. You should be willing to leave your current position or write this new place off forever, basically.

    3.) Most likely, there's a lot of cross-talk between these two places, being so close in purpose and location. My point being - again, if you are going to apply for the new position you need to be ready to accept that your current employer will likely find out about it somehow. They may or may not hold it against you in the future, especially if you don't get the new job.

    4.) You work in a publicly-funded environment - one that (from the sounds of it) has a strong union, specific grievance procedures and salary based on time served. Benefits too. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples; don't underestimate the value of a government job. I'm not saying to sell your soul to them, but you should take into account ALL of the benefits, not simply the immediate financial gain.

    5.) I have worked in so many different places, in so many different fields. One thing that's constant: if you work for or with unpleasant people, all the money in the world won't make that place any easier or better for you. Good people are worth their weight in gold! If you get bad vibes in the interview at this new place, don't ignore them. Pay very close attention. They may be the only clue you get as to whether or not you will be happy, at least in the short run.

    6.) Using the rationalization that "they would cut your position in a heart-beat; why should you worry about being loyal" is an extremely poor justification for changing positions, or for any of your personal decisions or behavior, IMO. As I said above, this is not an ethical question; it's just a practical business decision, and one that people consider all throughout their career. So don't let it weigh heavy on you as some big moral choice - just logically weigh out the pros and cons, all of them, and act as you are best able to decide.

    7.) 6 months in a new position is not a long time. It would make me wonder about your resume if it were to cross my desk - why do you want to leave so soon after a promotion? But, over 4 years there is a plus, so the likely outcome is neutral. IOW, it wouldn't stop me from bringing you in for an interview, but be prepared to answer questions about why this new position is so attractive for you, and why you are ready to bail from your current job.

    Finally, as many other people have pointed out, if you feel all the pros outweigh the cons, go for it!

    I wish you good luck and all the best.
    "Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one."
    Eleanor Roosevelt

    "When people see some things as beautiful,
    other things become ugly.
    When people see some things as good,
    other things become bad."
    Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

  3. #23
    Alchemist of life Array Coriolis's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by nozflubber View Post
    tell your current employer about the new, better job offer, and how it suggests that your labor and contributions are being undervalued. See if they can match their pay offer, at the least. if not, then leave.

    Not only will it pressure them to pay you more, but if they don't put out, you will feel less guiltly later on about leaving, because you will have given them the opportunity to hold onto you which in all fairness, they do deserve that opportunity. don't keep them in the dark then leave, that's a shitty thing to do and it is likely to eat up a good infj's soul later on.
    I disagree, to a point. I would avise against saying anything to your current employer until you have a firm offer from the other employer. It would be bad to fill them in and then not have the other offer materialize and have no choice but to stay put with no improvement in your situation.

    Scott and Highlander raise valid points about: (1) whether you would be satisfied to remain where you are for more pay/promotion; and (2) whether current coworkers would be resentful if you successfully bargained for a better deal. Only you can evaluate these concerns.

    Peacebaby raises valid points as well, though with the stated significant assumptions about the nature of the two employers, and I disagree with (1). It is much harder to negotiate a raise when you must or plan to stay with the employer, since if they do not oblige, your only choice is to leave. With another offer in hand, you are already at this point. You get, in essence, their bottom line offer. If factors unrelated to compensation cause you not to want to stay, or if you believe resentment may be an issue, then yes: don't bother even to ask.

  4. #24
    Starcrossed Seafarer Array Aquarelle's Avatar
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    Jun 2010


    Thanks again, everyone, for the feedback.

    Peacebaby, the two employers are somewhat similar in that they are both colleges and in the study abroad office, but also significantly different. I currently work at a large, public research university, in one of the largest study abroad offices in the country (about 30 people). The potential opportunity is at a small, private liberal arts college, in a very small office of about 5 people.

    My current employer does have good benefits and a good union, but I am no longer in a union position. This is actually good, because the university does not work well with the union-- in my old position, which was union-represented, we went on strike for 2 weeks a few years ago, and for our efforts, the university gave us a $300 lumps sum. Whoop-di-ta. They probably saved a ton of money on that strike, since they didn't have to pay us for 2 weeks.

    The new opportunity has good benefits too. Maybe not quite AS good-- they pay a bit less into retirement, but still significant, my work schedule would be less flexible, and I may not get to do as much travel (which is good and bad... I like traveling, but I am slated to do a LOT for work over the next year-- I'm going to be away from home a LOT). And they do not have tuition benefits, but I'd finish out my last 2 courses of my masters at my current university anyway. I'd have to pay 2 semesters out of pocket, instead of getting 75% of it funded, but with the extra pay, I could afford it and that'd only be for 2 semesters, then the extra dough could go into our savings or oh yeah, buy diapers and baby food for a kid.

    That's really the big issue... I really think on my current salary we'd have a hard time adding a member to our family. And sadly, given that we just took a pay CUT, staying where I am now it would take me probably 4-5 years to work up to the salary that I'd make at the new place right away.

    While pay is the main reason I would leave, there are some aspects of my job now that I really dislike. Of course there are a lot of aspects that I love, as well. I'd just have to ask questions and observe to see if that would be any better at the new place.

    It's an ethical dilemma for me because really the main reason I would stay would be out of loyalty to my current employer. I know 6 months isn't a long time, and I would feel bad about leaving after such a short time, after they finally showed some confidence in me by hiring me for the promotion. But at the same time, if I'd have gotten the promotion the first time I applied, instead of someone less experienced than I was, I'd have already put in 2 years in my current position.
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