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Old 03-05-2004, 01:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
Professor of Drinkology
Professional Quandry ... need advice

I'm going to try to compress a long story into as short of a space as possible, and still maintain the ghist of the entire tale. I realize that upon completion, there may be details missing and as folks chime in with advice on the matter, I'll post updates.

To begin to understand my story, you need to have a *little* background. In December of this past year, I graduated with a degree in Technical Communications from Mercer University. The details of what my degree implies would take the length of an entire seperate post, but let's summarize my personal objectives as "web development" and say that my degree fits this objective.

As an undergraduate student, I worked 2 parttime jobs during my Junior and Senior years and still maintained fulltime credit hours (15-17hrs per semester). Also weighing in on my schedule was my college fraternity and a summertime internship. So, since graduation in December, I've been fairly relaxed -- charging up for the next phase of my life ... the job hunt and future employment.

I haven't sent out many resumes, and have been fairly slow to build my professional network in these months.

Now, the meat of my story. The internship from the summer of 2003 gradually developed into 1 of the 2 parttime jobs that I maintained during my time in college. In fact, I still working for this small marketing and webdesign firm in my college town, but I do so remotely. The firm is fairly pleased with my efforts, which leads into their recent offer.

I received an email today, from my boss at the small firm asking how much money it would cost him for me to become a fulltime, *local* (750miles from my current home) employee. I'm pleased that he is interested in taking me on as a fulltime employee, but I have a problem.

Some more background: During the four years that I was involved with my college fraternity (at a small, private Baptist affiliated University) I was the Chaplain. As that officer, I actively pursued religious development activities for my friends in the fraternity and it really became a part of how I defined myself, my life. In fact, I received a national honor for my work in religious development from my national fraternity. I am a devout Christian (even though I mess up in some areas of my life) and I have always been adametly opposed to the drug culture. But its also been a personal policy to not force my personal beliefs on others as long as they did not force their's on me (with regard to partaking in drugs). I've had close friends that smoked pot, and I don't have any problems with that fact. I've never been around it, and never assisted it.

Over the summer, I lived with several individuals that smoked pot as a regular thing -- inside my house and around my house, even after I requested that they not. I eventually backed down to not smoking when I was around -- which they were *still* unable to abide with, so I moved out. Pot was just SO important to these folks. During that time, I was miserable and scared for the consequences for myself if they were ever caught either smoking or in simple possession on my rented-property (they were also tenants, so I could not kick them out).

So, you should have a general idea for where I stand with regard to drugs. This is relevant, because my current employer is interested in undertaking an initiative to produce and market a website to sell drug-test countering supplies (drinks for pot-smokers that will allow them to pass drug screenings). This would be the entire purpose of my employment -- to effectively sell these products via the Internet through a variety of methods that I won't go into here.

The Christian belief says to follow the law of the land and the law of God. I'm struggling to put this current job into that context. As a professional, I know its just a job and that you can't always pick the client. You've sometimes gotta suck it up and just do it in order to pay the bills and keep afloat, but to what loss? And what gain?

I'm caught between the fact that I want to move out of my parent's house and, in order to do so, I must accept a job (for rent $$). But, I'm also hung up on the fact that I can't really bring myself to accept this particular job ... at least, not yet. I wouldn't say that my immediate boss at the firm has been a friend; he is a member of my fraternity (how I originally got the internship) but I don't think that's weighing much on my mind. I do have a friend inside the firm -- he calls himself the CFO ... and generally "rats" me out to the bigger boss -- never in a harmful way however. He'll spill the beans for the dates when I'll be town visiting friends ... and a project meeting is usually scheduled as a result. He spilled the beans on the fact that I was attending a job fair this past week, and I think that might have played a role in the recent attention to bringing me on for fulltime work (My boss is afriad of losing me).

There's also the matter that this particular opportunity poses significant risk. As a Internet Marketing officer of this firm, I would be reliant on the major engines indexing my sites quickly and placing me in high relevancy. We're not even sure if the general market for this kind of product shops on the Internet. So, I could very-well be sitting out of work in a few months if this project fails -- but, that's true no matter where I go (in this world of "right-sizing" and pinkslips.). On the otherhand, if I am successful in the task, I can expect a rewarding career in the field of Internet Marketing -- not my original goal when I started my undergraduate study.

I also can't see myself growing professionally while working at this firm. There would be none of the opportunity for tuition reimbursement that larger corporations offer. Well... I would be working much more hands on than I might be for a larger corporation as an entry-level employee. Its a tough call. I'd have opportunity for more in-the-trenches experience, but lose out on the official education opportunities elsewhere. Do want to become a Sergeant or an officer? I'm not sure.

This boils down to a more central moral debate of whether or not I can "turn off" my distaste for a product and work as a professional or stick by my beliefs and turn down the offer. Writing things out usually helps me come to a decision, but this time I'm still stuck.

What do you all think? Help me debate this out in my head. I'm going to need to have a well-thought out position, either way. It'll either be for my parents (they don't know too much about the job and don't really like my boss for taking me pay-free for the summer internship) or for my current boss when I explain why I can't take the job. My folks will probably want to know why, too, but will be much more supportive if I do turn it down. If I decline the offer, I can also expect to see a termination of my parttime activity.

PS: Sorry for the stream of consciousness style of writing. I just did a data-dump on the page... too much info to do otherwise.
PPS: Man, this is long. My bad.

Last edited by tritium; 03-05-2004 at 01:52 PM..
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Old 03-05-2004, 02:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: Manhattan, NY
First and foremost, you have governing values that determing who you are. One of those is your views on drugs.

IMHO you answered it right there.

Unless you can bend your core values (which I don't recommend) you'll be able to have that gain of independence from your folks but you'll still be lacking in because the money earned was in effect blood money.
I don't care if you are black, white, purple, green, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, hippie, cop, bum, admin, user, English, Irish, French, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, indian, cowboy, tall, short, fat, skinny, emo, punk, mod, rocker, straight, gay, lesbian, jock, nerd, geek, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Independent, driver, pedestrian, or bicyclist, either you're an asshole or you're not.
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Old 03-05-2004, 02:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
Professor of Drinkology
Thanks for the thoughts, Cynthetiq.

How many folks actually visit this sub-forum? I'm not sure I'm going to get the same number of opinions in here than if I was still in General Discussion and that's what I need right now... more opinions.
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Old 03-05-2004, 03:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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here's a thread that I wrote about governing values. Maybe it will help you clarify what's really important to you.

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Old 03-05-2004, 03:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
No. It's not done yet.
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Location: sorta kinda phila
People take jobs they don't like to pay the bills. But do people have a tendency to take a job that is morally opposite (essentially) to their own beliefs. Usually the answer is no. I deal with a lot of people in a lot of different professions. The ones that take jobs to pay the bills generally don't last long in the job.

If this is the foot in the door move, it may be a valid choice. Not having "experience" (bs imo), could limit your job choices. Of course, have "Pot Smokers, Inc." on your resume may not be much better.

Weigh out the options, taking all aspects into consideration - money/full-time employment, experience, independence, philosophical issues, future employemnt, etc. - and decide are the negatives overshadowed by the positives.

(Like how I avoided an answer? Occupational hazard.)
Back into hibernation.
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Old 03-05-2004, 03:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
An embarrassment to myself and those around me...
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Location: Pants
Personally I'm going to have to agree with Cynthetiq. You have your set values and standards, and were I you, I'd stick to them. If you feel uncomfertable taking your job then you are not going to have very much job satisfaction, thus it may not be a good idea to take said job.
"Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever."
- Napoleon Bonaparte
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Old 03-05-2004, 06:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: In transit
Not sure how much this will help, but you said Christianity says abide by the laws of the land. While you may have moral issues against drugs, most of these products to circumvent drug tests are legal. Mabye I'm helping you justify something that you really dont want to do, but people buying these products are most likely trying to pass drug tests for their employer (I dont know where you stand on that, but I beleive anyways thats a gross invasion of privacy). Anyone , for example, whos on parole for drug charges and gets tested will be screened for all the masking agents as well. So you wouldnt really be preventing anyone from failing a test.. its all in what they test for.

But you have to go with your conscience on this one. Being broke and happy with yourself is better than being rich and miserable (IMHO anyways).
Remember, wherever you go... there you are.

Last edited by sprocket; 03-05-2004 at 06:42 PM..
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Old 03-05-2004, 07:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Location: missouri
Go with your conscience- no matter what came of this I doubt you could be happy, and that, while not essential, is surely a good idea, and nescessary if you are to do your best work.

on the other side, people sell products they do not belive in all the time, it is at this point just part of the game- a bad game maybe, but I would be far better off if I sold stuff that I did not like or belive in-
Thought the harder, Heart the bolder,
Mood the more as our might lessens
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Old 03-06-2004, 10:12 AM   #9 (permalink)
The most important thing about a job is that you enjoy what you're doing. To move 750 miles away to take a job that you not only wouldnt enjoy, but contradicts your moral values, does not seem to be the appropriate choice.

In my opinion, you should give yourself some time to get that resume out there, get that business card in the hands of a lot more associates, and wait for the right career opportunity to come along. You may want to move out of the parents' house, but you're in a situation where it sounds as though you can afford to wait things out, which would probably be very much in your favor.
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Old 03-06-2004, 11:14 AM   #10 (permalink)
Originally posted by WarWagon

In my opinion, you should give yourself some time to get that resume out there, get that business card in the hands of a lot more associates, and wait for the right career opportunity to come along. You may want to move out of the parents' house, but you're in a situation where it sounds as though you can afford to wait things out, which would probably be very much in your favor. [/B]
Quoted for emphasis. I agree.
"I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me."
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Old 03-06-2004, 12:15 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Location: Amazon.com and CDBaby
Your number one product is you. And your first, and most important customer is ... you! Can you take this job and maintain your self-esteem? What size paycheck compensates for that?

Having said that, I recommend WarWagon's advice. Good luck.
"Regret can be a harder pill to swallow than failure .With failure you at least know you gave it a chance..." David Howard
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Old 03-06-2004, 03:27 PM   #12 (permalink)
Location: beautiful NJ
I think that it would be a good experience and may help to pad your resume so that you can find a better job, but then the type of project it is might also hurt your chances of finding a better job. So I'd say to pass on it for this reason alone, nevermind your ethical reasons.
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Old 03-06-2004, 08:45 PM   #13 (permalink)
Along with everything mentioned above... From a Christian angle: If you are Christian and believe in God's sovereignty, then I don't think you should worry about what happens after you turn this offer down.
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Old 03-08-2004, 11:05 PM   #14 (permalink)
Professor of Drinkology
Originally posted by nash
Along with everything mentioned above... From a Christian angle: If you are Christian and believe in God's sovereignty, then I don't think you should worry about what happens after you turn this offer down.
You're probably right, nash. Thank you. Sometimes, you just need to hear it.

Thank you to everyone that voiced their opinions. It means a lot to me.
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Old 03-09-2004, 02:15 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Location: Liverpool, UK
If you're going to be critiqued for years to come for a project that is against your innermost beliefs, then to make a buck or two now and carry the stigma for years to come (on your resume) is not something you should have to deal with.

Plus the distance this job will pull you away from where you are now must be a negative.

Bide your time for the right opportunity. I didn't. Now I'm stuck in a job I detest. OK, I'm earning decent-ish money. But every month that I'm still here is wearing me down just because I took the first offer.

It's a toughie. But you'll make the right choice, I know you will.
"never mind that shit........here comes Mongo!"
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Old 03-09-2004, 04:17 AM   #16 (permalink)
Location: South East US
I agree with Cynthetiq and War Wagon,
You are beginning to get out in the real world and have oppotrunities to define yourself. You are not starving...yet. So you are not compelled to take a position doing work you find morally distasteful. Always try to find jobs where you can be proud to explain to others what you do, otherwise you will not be happy. If you had 3 kids to support, your choices may be different, and that would be OK too.
Good Luck,
'Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than open one's mouth and remove all doubt.
Samuel Johnson (1709 - 1784)
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Old 03-09-2004, 06:54 AM   #17 (permalink)
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This is the first of what could be several moral dilemmas you will face regarding your career over your lifetime. How do you feel you'd reflect on this job when you look back at your career when you retire? Why would you want to start your career by compromising your values?

Good luck
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