Usually, professionals are employed at companies with similar values to their own. That is more conducive to growth and means that an employee is more likely to grow in the company and perform better.
However, sometimes we can work at a company with values generally align with our own that decides to pivot. Professionals may find themselves tasked with working on a project that does not align with their values.
For example, you may work at a tech company that builds virtual sports games. That may be your expertise and your passion and something you absolutely love to do. One day, your supervisor invites you into the meeting room with your colleagues. Your supervisor excitedly tells the team about an exciting new product that they will be working on. There is only one problem: This game is a game that involves shooting and other forms of violence and that doesn’t sit well with you.
What would you do? (PS: Let us know your thoughts in the comments on Women On Topp!)
Act with integrity
I would always argue that you should always try to act with integrity and stick to your values. Arrange a meeting with your supervisor and higher managers and share your concerns with them first.
Tell them sincerely that while you love your job and all of the products you work and genuinely wish for the success of the games, this particular project is at ethical odds with you. Try to communicate this in an objective way rather than in aggressive manner – being too animated may make it appear as though you are accusing the company of taking on an unethical game.
Once, I was asked to be the lead on a project that didn’t sit well with me. I spoke to my supervisor and the general manager and they were very understanding. In most cases, especially if the product you don’t like is an outlier amongst the other products, the management at your company will respect and honour your request, especially if you reason with them that it is coming from a moral stance.
Don’t be a martyr
When you do find yourself refusing to work on a particular project and your managers are not as understanding as you’d like them to be, you’ll need to assess your options.
First, figure out how important this particular principle is to you. Would you be willing to walk away from your job if you fail to negotiate your way with your supervisors?
Secondly, assess how important your job is to you and what your responsibilities are. If you are unhappy working at a particular project but are supporting your family, I would not recommend leaving your job. I would personally find another job before I left, even if that meant working on a project I didn’t like on a temporary basis. If your family responsibilities are minimal and you have a lot of savings, then it would prove easier to leave your job on moral grounds.
It is important to figure out your priorities before you leave your job and not make rash decisions if the consequences mean your family suffering.
In addition to that, if you do work in a company with values at odds with your own, you might want to consider moving on in
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