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Why I Put Myself Before My Career

career opportunity
Ashley Kim
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Published on February 5, 2015

Nobody wishes they could work for a company they don’t trust, but when a good opportunity presents itself, how hard would it be to say no?

For those who have dreams of climbing the corporate ladder, there is often a “whatever it takes” attitude, and we end up sacrificing time and relationships for the good of our career. But where our own morals are involved, the situation gets trickier.

I was recently presented with the opportunity to be promoted at a company that I love working for, but whose CEO has made some controversial statements that I find myself morally opposed to. As a low-level employee, I would not have been promoted to a high or very important position, but it would have been my first step in that direction. Faced with the dilemma of choosing between advancing my career and sticking to my moral beliefs, I chose the latter.

With articles about companies that are discriminatory against people based on their weight, sexual orientation, looks, race, and religion circulating the Internet, and CEOs making their fair share of controversial statements as well, it begs the question of who the people are that work for these companies. Should someone who works for a company that holds beliefs they disagree with quit their job?

Not necessarily.

But when you work for a company that operates on principles you do not agree with, or that you even condemn, you need to be held responsible for the repercussions you may face in the future. Every single job you hold is a part of your job history, and your job history is something closely considered by prospective employees.

Even though promotion would have only brought me a step above being the lowest level employee, I knew that taking the step to advance my career at a company is an investment of my time, and it didn’t seem worth it to rise up, albeit in a very small way, in a company that I do not feel adequately represents my interests, or that I do not adequately represent. Had I taken the job, I’m pretty sure that I would have been mentored by knowledgeable and kind people, and I probably would not have felt the direct impact of the beliefs that I disagree with while on the job. But at the end of the day, the best work comes from employees who strongly believe in what they are doing and who they are representing, and work experience and resume builders are not worth sacrificing your integrity. In all fairness to both sides, it’s best to work for a company you trust.

Ashley Kim

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