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Editor’s Note: Believe it, or not, we do get letters here at The Club occasionally. This one was of particular interest, so after some tweaking we decided to run it as a post (with the letter writer’s consent, of course). Hopefully you’ll find it of equal interest.
Growing up we are taught to distinguish right from wrong. When we’re young this is easy. For example it’s wrong to hit your friend if he steals your crayon. It’s wrong to cheat on your college final. But as we become an adult right from wrong is no longer black and white. We start to factor in consequences and how they may affect people, especially when it comes to our career.
Imagine you were just given an account by a senior level manager. This account has been tossed around the office since most people have refused to work on it. You’re relatively new to the company and eager for work so decide to look it over with an open mind. Your boss hands you the press kit and as you skim it you realize why it’s been refused. The thesis behind the account goes completely against something you’re very passionate about. It would be immoral for you to promote/work on this account.
I recently dealt with this situation. I was unsure of how to proceed and so I did what I believe most people would do; I confided in a select group of friends. Here is some feedback I was given:
Friend 1: My feelings. When you’re at the bottom, you do what you are told. You can go to the higher ups and state your case, but at the end of the day, if your job is to promote that account, you have to.
Friend 2: IMHO doing the right or wrong thing doesn’t vary with age. It’s either right or wrong (for you) at any age. It’s just a matter of what you’re able to do about it. Someone who happens to be a trust fund baby that’s just waiting for their payday could quit and not worry about it. Someone who actually needs their job can do less. Depending on how confident you are in your job security you could say, “No, I just won’t do it.” And back it up with, “I won’t do it b/c my heart won’t be in it and it’s best if someone else takes it or we get a freelancer for this project.”
Friend 3:I’ve been told to write about a bunch of controversial topics. You just gotta learn to suck it up and truck along.
Curious what I ended up doing? I put together my case and brought it to my supervisor. I am lucky enough to work for a company that stands behind their stated “open door policy.” He listened and told me I’d never have to work on an account that I wasn’t comfortable with. I’m not sure who will end up working on the account but in the end I feel I did the right thing for myself.
And so PR Breakfast Club and the PRBC community, did I do the right thing? Do you think I should have stayed quiet? What would you have done? Would you stick to your morals or do what you were being asked?