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Need advice ASAP.

BLUF: It seem that I have two options, which are as follows.

1. Resign without another job lined up.

    Or

2. Work to complete a project that I earnestly believe is unethical and as such potentially very damaging to the business.

Similar (I think) to the spirit of the Feedback model, I’m leaving out the details, which could be debated till the end of time and instead just stating what I perceive and feel.

Suffice to say I am not alone in my belief that the project is unethical and damaging. However, what is clear is that (including many in senior management), people have either stated or are behaving like they do not care or that they do not care enough to risk their jobs over the project.

Quite literally, many of the comments given to me by others involved echo this comment:

“…Yes it’s a train-wreck, Yes it’s unethical, Yes it’s going to severely hurt the long term success of the business. But what are you going to do? Quit?”

If I opt to stay, even if it’s only until I secure a new job, I will be expected to drive this project until its eventual completion (1-2 months). But completion would mean I played a key part in a process that by definition is contrary to the visions and values our company professes to adhere to.

Have any of you experienced a situation similar?

What did you do and what were the results?

Thank you for your attention.

mmann's picture

 There's a cast that addresses this, and I can't find it.  

The summary recommendation is, to seriously question if the project is truly unethical, or is it simply distasteful.

I'll keep looking.

--Michael

afmoffa's picture

First, MAnon, I'm very sorry to hear you're in such a terrible situation. MMANN had it right. The podcast was VERY clear that 99% of the "ethical objections" out there are really "I hate this idea" objections. It is permissible, perhaps even admirable, to quit a job because of "this idea is dreadful" objections, but resist any temptation you may feel to conflate the two types. Ask yourself:

  1. Is it unethical?
  2. Really unethical?
  3. I get that you don't like it. Me, I don't like instant replay in football. But that doesn't make it unethical, if you see what I mean...
  4. So we're 100% that the people you work for are asking you to do something dishonest or malicious?
  5. Then you need to print out some proof (no 007 nonsense, but print the relevant E-mails), print out your contact list, print out copies of your last two annual reviews, and take those things home and keep them safe in a drawer. You need to talk it over with your spouse or your best friend who has known you since way back.
  6. And then you need to demand a meeting with your manager, and demand a meeting with his/her manager, and you need to tell them you are prepared to resign because of ethical violations. It's not going to be a fun day, not even if they see it your way. Most likely you're out of a job.

It's terrible and it's scary and it's the only true response. The world will thank you. As will I. But you'd better be right.

jocadl's picture

Of course you will not be able to disclose here all your observations that lead you to feel so strongly about this project. But you may want to consider this: I've had countless situations where something seemed outrageous (sometimes even unethical) to me while I had incomplete information and hence a biased assessment of the situation. A good reflex would be to sharpen your senses, dig for information, talk to people (in a factual, calm way, without mentioning your ethical concerns), before coming to a conclusion too soon. As AFMOFFA wrote: You'd better be right.

Sure enough: If this is *really* an ethical issue, you deserve all the respect for acting with consequence as outlined above.

Good luck
Jochen

mmann's picture

 Manon,

I apologize for the delay in finding the casts relating to your issue.  Professional Subordination (Part 1 and Part 2) speak to the delineation between unethical and stupid.

  Good luck!
--Michael

MAnon's picture

I'll give both of those 'casts a listen and reply back with some additional feedback.

Thanks Again,

MAnon

Mark's picture

...with your lack of interest in sharing the details.  Every situation is different.

Mark