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SuperMouse's avatar

Would you take a job in an industry you abhored if you were unemployed with no other propsects?

Asked by SuperMouse (30845points) September 26th, 2012

If you were unemployed and got a job offer with say a cigarette manufacturer or a company that made ammunition or some other business whose industry you might be morally against, would you take the job or would you keep on looking?

I know there are a lot of variables to consider, such as how long you have been unemployed and what hangs in the balance without your paycheck. But for the sake of this question let’s say you don’t have a starving family and aren’t on the verge of losing your home or anything that dire.

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23 Answers

chyna's avatar

I would take the job and look for another one while working. I have heard it is easier to get a job while you are employed than if you are unemployed.

Taciturnu's avatar

Honestly, I could not work in a place I had strong convictions against. I’d rather flip burgers for 80 hrs a week than take a cushy job somewhere I morally could not stand. I currently have the lowest paying job of my adult life (not flipping burgers), but know There are some fields i couldnt do, regardless of my Qualifications for it. I’m very passionate as a person and simply know I would fail in an industry I didn’t believe in.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

No thank you. Once upon a time, the hotel company I worked for merged and then later split from a casino chain. Several friends went with the latter. Down the road, they encouraged me to follow suit with the enticement of how much money they were making. Ethically, I will not choose to work for a business that caters to a potential addiction.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I hate to admit it, but to be truthful, yes. And I would get out as soon as a better opportunity arose. I advocate for me, not for my employer. And nobody but me will take care of me if I become destitute. And if I’m destitute, I will be no help to anybody, no matter what my ideals.

rojo's avatar

I concur with @Espiritus_Corvus much to my chagrin.

josie's avatar

What are your choices at that point? Answer…of course. Don’t forget it is easier to find a job it you are already on a payroll. You have to start somewhere. Who will pay your bills if you do not take the job? If you say me, shame on you.

Jeruba's avatar

No. I was unemployed and looking for some time. This was before widespread use of the Internet, when newspapers were still the best place to search for jobs. I would not even read the help-wanted ads of businesses I knew I would never work in. I just skipped those sections entirely so I wouldn’t be tempted. It’s easier to stick to principles when you don’t flirt with the alternatives.

(And I was never on unemployment or any other kind of governmental assistance.)

poisonedantidote's avatar

I would want the job even more if it was in an industry I was against. I’d rot them from the inside and cause them problems. A couple of companies come to mind.

Having said that, nothing would haunt me for acting that way. The way I live my life, it would never be a problem with a future employer so to speak. If I had a chance of it hurting my career I would not take the job.

I would never do it and do it well, it would be either troll them or pass.

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t think I would. But it might not be my conscious choice. I once tried to work for the oil industry, but they were not interested in me one bit. They could tell who I was, I think.

But if I didn’t have to, I wouldn’t work at a place where I know I’d be miserable. That kind of misery is a killer. Literally. Better to live on handouts than to do work that kills your soul.

Of course, that’s easy to say. Harder to say what you would do if you were in that situation. However, for better or for worse, I’ve always done work I believed in, except for one month when I did work purely for the money. I failed out of that job so fast I felt like I was in a revolving door. But all my life lessons have taught me I’m no good unless I am doing something I believe in.

marinelife's avatar

In the circumstances you describe, I would not.

wonderingwhy's avatar

No, because I don’t have to. I’ve sacrificed income in the past because of ethical concerns, there are a couple bridges I don’t believe I can be bought across. As the circumstances approach the point of, say, bankruptcy it would become increasingly difficult to turn down; but even then there are limits. Hypothetically reaching those edges is an interesting thought process of how far I’d go, as you said, there are a lot of variables. It’s not a circumstance whose limits I’d care to test empirically.

rooeytoo's avatar

I would work anywhere to keep from starving or going on unemployment. So I would take the job and keep on looking for something better.

DWW25921's avatar

Absolutely! My family is more important than my job. If I have to take a hit for the team to pay the bills I’ll do it.

blueiiznh's avatar

Yep. When the choice comes down to keeping your home for your family and staying on your financial commitments, the priority becomes very clear.
Once on your feet again, you can then reevaluate if it meets your long term goals and direction.

filmfann's avatar

Yes. When I was a kid and teen, I hated the phone company. I learned a great deal about them while I was vandalizing their shit. When my dad told me I had to get a job, or I would work for a friend of his, who was an undertaker, I got a job with Ma Bell. Retirement, health care, full time.
I sold out.

woodcutter's avatar

Take the work and like it. If you have some other revenue stream then it might be easy to turn your nose up at a chance to support yourself. But most of us have to pay bills. Q: How many people really love their jobs? A: If you are a business person who has employees you would say all yours do.

JLeslie's avatar

If I did not really need the job, probably not. But, if I was starting to feel nervous about not having a job (I would not have to be desperate) then probably I would, but I could never work in sales in the company. It would depend how much the product offends me, and how much blame I have towards the company and how much towards the people who use the products. That’s how I would rationalize it anyway. I would also keep looking for another job in an industry that interests me.

Jeruba's avatar

Not everyone faced with such a question is supporting a family or paying a mortgage, and not everyone spends every last cent of a paycheck so they can’t survive a period of unemployment. When I made such decisions, I had no dependents, and I felt that I did have my priorities straight.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Interesting question. Particularly as such decisions result largely from a system of our own creation and dependency of our own making. It’s a shame and curiosity that there isn’t a greater apogeal push towards changing the practice to better fit the society it serves.

wundayatta's avatar

Sometimes it is an unwitting mistake to take a job you hate. You do it for all the right reasons: to take care of your family; to be a productive member of society. But what you forget is that you are not a cog in a machine. You are a person.

These kinds of jobs can wear you down, fill you with stress, depress you, and eventually disable you. Sometimes, they depress you so much, that some people have killed themselves.

In the long run, that isn’t helping your family. That isn’t achieving the things you set out to achieve.

My wife’s last job was soul-killing, and we didn’t really realize it. Rather, I realized it, but she felt she had to do the noble thing. I knew she was miserable, but I had no idea how miserable. Finally, she realized how bad things were and asked if she could quit, and I said, “Finally! I’ve been waiting for you to quit for a long time.”

In the last year at work, she had gone on anti-depressants. She had stopped understanding my jokes. She had stopped wanting to do anything fun. She just doggedly took care of the kids.

Within a few months of quitting, she was laughing again. Somehow, I had become funny again. She went off the anti-depressants and the sleeping pills and she was sleeping better and feeling happier and happier.

That job nearly took my wife from me. And I’m sorry, but no amount of money is worth my wife. People may think they are doing the noble thing, but in my experience, people way discount the importance of their own mental health. They think they are much stronger than it is possible for people to be.

A job like that destroys your soul, and I say that as an atheist. If you lose your soul, you get depressed and if you get depressed, you could potentially end up losing your life. You could end up on disability.

People do what they have to do, or so the cliche goes. I think you’re playing a dangerous game when you consider taking a job that will destroy your soul just for money. Money is important, of course, but the person is far more important than as a wage-earner. There is always another way. The only excuse for doing something like this is ignorance. If you do it, do it with your eyes wide open, and be prepared for hell.

Coloma's avatar

I’ve spent my whole life avoiding situations like this, I hope I continue to. Life isn’t worth living if you’re miserable in your work.

downtide's avatar

In the situation you describe, no I would wait until something else came along. However in reality, if I am not working I will certainly be destitute and starving, so in reality yes I would take the job and carry on looking for another.

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