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How To Work For A Company That Does Not Share Your Values

Updated on December 11, 2016
FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist with applied experience in corporate human resources and consulting.

Invited For A Swim? Already In the Water?

Working in controversial industries such as alcohol, pharmaceuticals, oil & gas, and tobacco requires a special set of considerations.  Be satisfied with the choice you make.
Working in controversial industries such as alcohol, pharmaceuticals, oil & gas, and tobacco requires a special set of considerations. Be satisfied with the choice you make. | Source

You Vile, Vile Crocodile: Working For A Controversial Company

Quick. Think of three employers you would never work for. As in ever.

Not for all the money in the world. Not even if a recession was raging and work was scarce. Or if they promised you excellent training, better-than-average benefits, and flexible work arrangements.

Chances are, you've named some of the companies in unpopular industries (such as those in the table below). Or maybe you've blacklisted other organizations renown for their

  • unethical business practices
  • cutthroat competitiveness
  • large lawsuits
  • disdain for their customers, or
  • political leanings.

9 Of the Most Unpopular Industries In America

Industry
Largest Publicly Traded Companies
Alcohol (aka Beverages)
Constellation Brands Inc. (STZ), Molson Coors Brewing Co (TAP), BEAM Inc. (BEAM)
Banking & Financial Services
JP Morgan Chase (JPM), Bank Of America (BOA), Citigroup Inc. (C), Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), American Express (AXP)
Firearms (guns and ammo)
Smith & Wesson Co. (SWHC), Sturm Ruger & Co Inc. (RGR)
Federal Government
largest agencies: Department of Veteran Affairs, Department of Army, Department of Navy, Department of Homeland Security
Gaming/Gambling
Caesars Entertainment Corp (CZR), International Game Technologies (IGT), Bally Technologies Inc. (BYI)
Law
n/a
Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels
Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM), Chevron Corp (CVX), Conoco Phillips (COP)
Pharmaceuticals
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Pfizer (PFE), Merck & Co. (MRK)
Tobacco
Philip Morris (PM), Altria (MO), Reynolds American Inc. (RAI)
Largest publicly traded companies, by revenue. Sources: TD Ameritrade, Wikipedia, and U.S. Office of Personnel Management

Wine, Spirits & Beer: Could You Work In This Industry?

Alcohol use is linked with 1 in 25 deaths around the world.
Alcohol use is linked with 1 in 25 deaths around the world. | Source

Reader Poll

What employer would you NEVER work for? (Select your answer below by industry.)

See results

A Hard Truth: Not Everyone Can Work At Apple

But here is the truth, however hard it is to swallow: We cannot all work for well-loved corporations like Costco, Disney, and Google, just as we cannot all be nurses and firefighters, teachers and engineers.

Someone needs to be the auditor, the lawyer, the stockbroker. Similarly, some of us have to work -- that is, choose to work -- for companies that are:

  • manufacturers and distributors of harmful products
  • magnets for public controversy and lawsuits
  • providers of notoriously poor customer service
  • environmental polluters and/or
  • ethical bottom feeders.

Job applicants and employees of controversial companies often grapple with this difficult truth. They must reconcile their employer's reputation with their desire to provide for themselves and their family.

Do you know where you stand?

Get Right With Yourself

Before accepting a job offer and launching your career with a maligned employer, you have to get right with yourself. If you choose to work for a controversial company, being comfortable with your employment decision will require self-knowledge as your foundation.

How do I know? I worked at one such organization for almost six years. I made the choice that was best for me at that time.

This is not a rant on any industry or employer. (That would be too easy, and the internet is already full of those.)

It is also not an attempt to either encourage or dissuade others from pursuing any given career path. Rather, it is a reasoned set of observations based on my experience.

Here are issues to consider as well as survival tips.

Firearms & Ammunition: Would You Work In This Industry?

On a per capita basis, residents of the United States own more guns than any other country in the world.  Rounding out the top five: Yemen, Switzerland, Finland & Serbia.
On a per capita basis, residents of the United States own more guns than any other country in the world. Rounding out the top five: Yemen, Switzerland, Finland & Serbia. | Source

Do You Know Your Own Values?

Knowing your own values can help you decide about working for a controversial company.
Knowing your own values can help you decide about working for a controversial company. | Source

Tip 1: Understand Your Own Values and Priorities

When your values are in sync with your employer's, you feel like you belong. Work also feels less effortful.

However, not everyone takes the time to look inward. That could be a mistake.

An Example Of Mismatched Values

I once knew someone who left a corporate job at a large forest products company to work at Ben & Jerry's. (This was before the ice cream start up was acquired by Unilever.)

If there was ever a mismatch between an employee's personal values and those of an employer, this was it! He had left a good-ol'-boy organization that shared his conservative values for an employer with a grassroots, liberal-leaning company culture.

Within just days at his new job, he knew it was a poor fit. He disliked his new employer's flip-flop wearing, innovation-loving, environment-supporting, LGBT tolerating ways. He was back at his old job within a mere two weeks. (He's lucky they took him back.)

Feeling Lucky? The Gambling Industry Is Also Controversial

Gambling is a $5 billion a year industry in the United States.  Approximately 2-3% of Americans suffer from gambling addiction.
Gambling is a $5 billion a year industry in the United States. Approximately 2-3% of Americans suffer from gambling addiction. | Source
Humans may have a genetic fear of snakes.
Humans may have a genetic fear of snakes. | Source

Why Are Snakes And Other Reptiles Associated With Evil?

Hyperbole was surely in play when Carl von Linné, the Swedish naturalist and the Father of Taxonomy, claimed the following:

"Reptiles are abhorrent because of their cold body, pale color, cartilaginous skeleton, filthy skin, fierce aspect, calculating eye, offensive smell, harsh voice, squalid habitation, and terrible venom ... ."

Throughout human history, cold-blooded reptiles have gotten an especially bad rap. Snakes are perceived as prototypical examples of reptiles and have often fared the worst. They have been commonly associated with nasty dispositions, sneaky behavior, and deadly threats. (Think: Medusa and the tempting of Eve in the Garden of Eden.)

But can anything be truly this evil, or is there something else going on -- something deeper?

Fear and Loathing of Snakes

Psychological research has found that snakes hold special significance for humans and other mammals.1 This is believed to be the result of evolutionary pressures, as individuals who successfully avoided snakes could survive to pass along their genes.

Humans have thus developed a specialized neural circuitry that enables us to recognize snakes more quickly than other stimuli (e.g., frogs, caterpillars, and flowers). In fact, the human brain reacts to seeing a snake even before we consciously realize that it is there.2

We also learn snake fear more easily than fear to other conditioned stimuli.3 Even among people who have never encountered a snake, there is a high prevalence of snake phobia; simply seeing pictures of snakes can be enough to activate a phobia.

In Their Defense

As afraid as humans are of snakes, they may hold the keys to important medical advances. For example:

  • Venom from the Southeast Asia pit viper has been used to develop an experimental drug that prevents blood clots.4 Such clots can lead to stroke or heart attack.
  • A protein found in the venom of the Southern Copperhead has been found to inhibit the growth of cancer tumors.5
  • Hannalgesin, a drug derived from the venom of King Cobras, is up to 200 times more effective than morphine in providing pain relief.6
  • Venom-derived drugs are also being investigated for the treatment of melanoma, asthma, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's.7

Thus, that slithering, despised creature may someday same your life. Look closer at what you fear using fresh eyes.

Looking Within

Look within before you venture into any employment relationship. What are your fundamental priorities in life? Understand your own values and priorities in key areas, such as:

  • Achievement & Competition: How comfortable are you with intense competition, as opposed to collaboration? Do you strive to be the "best of the best?"
  • Creativity & Innovation: To what extent do you seek routine and the status quo vs. new ideas and ways of doing things? How comfortable are you with risk and the possibility of failure? Do you generally prefer to think about past occurrences, present reality, or future possibilities?
  • Communication Style: Can you comfortably give and take brutally honest feedback? What emphasis do you place upon listening? Upon telling one's story persuasively? Do you prefer a formal, hierarchical style of communication or one that is more relaxed and informal? What is your tolerance for conflict?
  • Diversity & People Treatment Issues: How important are issues of inclusion to you? How do you define fair treatment? How much do you enjoy working with people who are very different from you?
  • Integrity & Trust: How important is it to you that people acknowledge their mistakes and take ownership for their role in an issue? How important is telling "the truth, the full truth, and nothing but the truth" (vs. "spin")? How essential is delivering on one's promises? What priority do you place upon behaving in an authentic, genuine manner? What is your tolerance for missteps?
  • Family/Community: How important is work/life balance to you? How well do you tolerate one area of your life encroaching on another? How important is giving back to the community for you? How important is it that you be well regarded by your family and in your community?
  • Environment and Animal Rights Issues: Are there specific environmental and animal rights issues that you have strong opinions about?
  • Quality and Customer Service: How important is it to consistently meet standards and expectations? To what extent do you tolerate defects and errors as inevitable? How do you regard customers?
  • Religion and Politics: How important is it that you act in accordance with your religious and political beliefs? (For example, some religions have strong opinions regarding tobacco, alcohol, gambling, guns, etc.) How easily can you reconcile earning a living doing something that is discouraged by your personal beliefs?

Understanding your values and priorities should help you determine the type of organizational culture that you would suit you best.

In addition, assess your motivations for seeking work at a maligned company. Is it money, benefits, a stellar leadership training program, lack of available alternatives, or something else?

Goals and Time Horizon

Some employees seek very specific outcomes, such as completion of a training program that will make them more marketable. Or, they set a specific time frame (e.g., staying 2 years). Therefore, consider whether you intend to spend the rest of your career with the company, or are just passing through.

Knowing that you're just passing through and are after something specific can add perspective. (Be sure to keep that part to yourself.) You can always change your mind later, but understanding your goals and intended time horizon will help you to later determine when it's time to move on.

Before Diving In, Understand Who Else Will Be In the Water

When researching a prospective employer, most people rely on the company website and its recruiters.  Don't be naïve.  For a realistic picture, seek information from multiple sources.
When researching a prospective employer, most people rely on the company website and its recruiters. Don't be naïve. For a realistic picture, seek information from multiple sources. | Source

Who's Got Your Back?

Do your research to learn about company culture and what to expect as an employee.
Do your research to learn about company culture and what to expect as an employee. | Source

Tip 2: Do Your Research. Seriously.

Most people do a lousy job researching their prospective employer. They rely solely on the company website and its recruiters to provide information about company values, products, environmental impact, involvement in the community, and future business outlook.

However, is that information accurate and unbiased? Don't be naïve. Particularly with controversial companies, you need to know realistically what you're signing on for so that you can make an informed decision. Is this a company where you can be happy?

While it is useful to review a company's mission statement, vision, and values, there is often a gulf between what a company says it is and what values it embodies in practice. When you interview for jobs, you present your best self, don't you? Companies similarly present themselves in self-serving manners.

Know What's Behind That Smile: Do Your Research

Make an educated decision about who you work for.  You always have the option to turn down an interview, withdraw your application from consideration, or decline a job offer.
Make an educated decision about who you work for. You always have the option to turn down an interview, withdraw your application from consideration, or decline a job offer. | Source
Research a company by considering multiple sources, not simply the company website.
Research a company by considering multiple sources, not simply the company website. | Source

Reader Poll

Which of the following is the biggest "deal breaker" for you, when it comes to employers?

See results

Eyes Wide Open

A study of Fortune 500 companies found that companies that pursue a socially responsible agenda (e.g., corporate philanthropy, compliance) are in fact more likely to behave in socially irresponsible ways.8 This is especially the case when companies have CEOs that are extremely vocal about their ideals.

Your lesson in all this? Do your research. The best indicator of a company's values is its behavior.

For example:

Diversity: If diversity is a key personal value, then you need to know where the company truly stands on the issue. The company may tout diversity as important, but who occupies key leadership positions?

When you Google the company, have you noticed whether there there are noteworthy discrimination lawsuits/settlements, or insensitive public statements by the company CEO? Is the company recognized publicly for its diversity (e.g., Diversity Inc.'s Top 50 Companies For Diversity)?

Work/Life Balance: If work/life balance is important to you, know what insiders say about a company before you sign on. The company may say it advocates work/life balance, but what do current employees say on employer review sites such as Glassdoor.com?

Thoroughly research your prospective employer so you can go in with your eyes wide open. If you'll be swimming with alligators, wouldn't you want to know?

Ah, What Beautiful Teeth You Have!

Do your research, then compare your values and priorities with those of the company.
Do your research, then compare your values and priorities with those of the company. | Source

Tip 3: Draw an ethical line in the sand.

Maintain your own integrity and self-respect by drawing an ethical line in the sand regarding what actions you'll tolerate, what you're willing to do on behalf of your employer, and what is a deal breaker.

How Others May See You

If you work for a controversial company, you may be perceived as evil.  Develop thick skin for insults, and know who you are.
If you work for a controversial company, you may be perceived as evil. Develop thick skin for insults, and know who you are. | Source

Working for a controversial employer may impose special challenges that you wouldn't have to face with other companies. Consider the following:

  • Are you willing to explain and defend your company's actions to outsiders?

Companies expect that even off the job, you'll behave in a way that does not malign or discredit them. Even if you're not authorized to publicly speak on behalf of your employer, outsiders will perceive you to be a representative of the company or even an advocate. They'll ask you questions about company-related events in the press, for example.

  • Can you handle having family, friends, and strangers hurling insults against not only your employer but also its employees?

Ever heard of guilt by association? Or being known by the company you keep? Insults can come in the form of snide remarks, jokes, name calling, rants, etc. You'll need to develop a thick skin.

  • Can you defend your decision to work for the company with a straight face and a clean heart?

Especially after accepting a job offer, you'll encounter questions about why you want to work there. Answering the question for yourself will make this easier.

  • Can you look in the mirror and be proud of who you are personally and professionally?

Know who you are, separate from your identity as an employee. Ultimately, it's your opinion that matters most.

Cigarettes: Could You Work For A Tobacco Company?

The leading cause of preventable death in the United States is smoking.
The leading cause of preventable death in the United States is smoking. | Source

Tip 4: Maintain outside professional relationships.

Avoid insularity by maintaining professional relationships outside the company and industry.

Particularly in companies that are mature, insiders become tight-knit. Employee indoctrination in "the way we do things here" is strong, and insularity is often rebranded as loyalty. Their voluntary turnover is low. Employees set themselves apart from the larger community by living close to other employees and traveling in the same social circles.

Such organizations become shrouded in a culture of secrecy as their bureaucracy increases and communication becomes self-centered. Decision making tends to involve consulting other insiders.

As employees lose touch with the interests of outsiders, learning slows regarding what is going on outside the company -- technological advances, trends, skills needed to stay marketable.

Time To Drain the Pond?

"Time to drain the pond" refers to layoffs.  Survive outside the pond by staying current.
"Time to drain the pond" refers to layoffs. Survive outside the pond by staying current. | Source

Results of such insularity can include:

  • disconnection from customers, the community, and competitors, and
  • less corporate empathy
  • lower innovation
  • lower levels of efficiency.

As an employee, you can avoid falling into this trap by maintaining professional relationships outside your company and industry. (Better yet, develop new ones, too.)

Join professional organizations. Keep in touch with former schoolmates and colleagues as they move on to other industries. Volunteer your professional skills in the community. Stay on top of current development and training needs in your field, even if your current employer doesn't value those skills.

Just because you've chosen to swim in the corporate pond doesn't mean you have to stop growing.

Tough Hide, Good Heart

Judge employees of controversial companies on their own merits.
Judge employees of controversial companies on their own merits. | Source

Share Your Experience in the Comments Section Below

Have you worked for a controversial company or industry (one that doesn't match your personal values)? What was your decision making process? Are there things you wish you had known?

Tip 5: Keep A Healthy Perspective.

So you made a choice to work for a company that is controversial -- perhaps even hated by some. The need to make choices do not stop there, however. Just as you make a choice when you accept a job offer, you also make a choice each day that you decide to show up to work, each time that you provide the full strength of your ideas and work effort.

What's right for you is your call. Just as we cannot all be teachers and firefighters, we cannot all work for well-admired companies. And even if you blacklist a given company or industry, doing so can become a slippery slope. Will you also blacklist that company's suppliers, consultants, and businesses that sell its products? That list could be ever expansive!

Even the best-admired companies like Amazon or Coca-Cola can meet with controversy.9 Companies fall from grace while others recover. If the fit is right, then working for a controversial company can be as challenging and rewarding as working for any other firm. It depends on the employee.

As long as you can look yourself in the mirror and be proud of yourself personally and professionally, do what is best for you. Someone will take that job. Will it be you?

The Slippery Slope: Maintain Perspective

Blacklisting an employer can be a slippery slope.  Will you also blacklist that company's suppliers, consultants, and businesses that sell its products? Your list could be long.
Blacklisting an employer can be a slippery slope. Will you also blacklist that company's suppliers, consultants, and businesses that sell its products? Your list could be long. | Source

Tip 6: Don't Be Surprised If You're Bitten From Time To Time

Sharks, alligators, and snakes can be very unpredictable creatures. Thus, if you swim with the alligators, don't be surprised if you get bitten on occasion.

That's because reputations are often earned. (You did your research, right?)

Make your choices, but always maintain a Plan B. Careers, like our lives, are ultimately about survival.

Snakebitten. Are You Surprised?

"€œLook before you leap, for snakes among sweet flowers do creep."€ - German Proverb
"€œLook before you leap, for snakes among sweet flowers do creep."€ - German Proverb | Source

Summary Points: Tips For Job Seekers and Employees

  1. Understand your own values and priorities. When your values match your employer's, you feel like you belong, and your work is less effortful.
  2. Do your research. Do not simply rely on the company website and the word of recruiters. Google the company. Find out what current employees say.
  3. Draw an ethical line in the sand. Know how far you'll go on behalf of your employer and what actions are deal breakers.
  4. Maintain outside professional relationships. Avoid insularity by staying marketable and connected.
  5. Keep a healthy perspective. No company is perfect. Someone will take that job. You decide.
  6. Don't be surprised if you're bitten from time to time. Careers, like our lives, are ultimately about survival.

Notes

1Öhman, Arne, and Susan Mineka. "The Malicious Serpent: Snakes as a Prototypical Stimulus for an Evolved Module of Fear." '+windowtitle+'2003. Accessed January 27, 2014. http://www.psychologicalscience.org/journals/cd/12_1/ohman.cfm.

2McLendon, Russell. "Study: Fear of snakes may be genetic." Mother Nature Network. Last modified December 14, 2011. http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/blogs/study-fear-of-snakes-may-be-genetic.

3Moscowitz, Clara. "Why We Fear Snakes." LiveScience.com. Last modified March 3, 2008. http://www.livescience.com/2348-fear-snakes.html.

4Ubelacker, Sheryl. "Drug derived from snake venom could prevent blood clots, researchers say." The Globe and Mail. Last modified December 8, 2013. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/drug-derived-from-snake-venom-could-prevent-a-leading-cause-of-death-researchers-say/article15817314/.

5American Museum Of Natural History. "Using Snake Venom Protein to Fight Cancer." AMNH. Last modified March 1, 2012. http://www.amnh.org/explore/news-blogs/q-as/using-snake-venom-protein-to-fight-cancer.

6 Keber, Paula. "News - Using snake venom for medicine - The Weather Network." www.theweathernetwork.com. Last modified July 23, 2013. http://www.theweathernetwork.com/news/articles/using-snake-venom-for-medicine/9860/.

7Holland, Jennifer S. "Venom: The Bite That Heals - Pictures, More From National Geographic Magazine." National Geographic Magazine. Last modified February, 2013. http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2013/02/125-venom/holland-text.

8Belsky, Gary. "The Downside of Corporate Social Responsibility." TIME. Last modified December 3, 2013. http://business.time.com/2013/12/03/the-downside-of-corporate-social-responsibility/.

9Fortune. "World's Most Admired Companies 2013: Full List." CNNMoney. Last modified 2013. http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/most-admired/2013/list/?iid=wma_sp_full.


© 2014 FlourishAnyway

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    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Susie - Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. To be able to choose self-employment is a wonderful gift.

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 2 years ago from Minnesota

      It has to be a real struggle for many in the work a day world. I have been self-employed in one way or another most of my life. I'm glad I haven't had to deal with such issues. There is a lot read on this hub and you are a good writer, Flourish.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Tori - That sounds like a terrible experience. I'm glad that you made the decision to move on rather than stay in an unhealthy environment.

    • Torrs13 profile image

      Tori Canonge 3 years ago from California

      I can recall one company in particular that I struggled to work for. It seemed like a good situation going in, but it ended up being a terrible experience that left me feeling beyond stressed each day. It finally got to the point where the director was being unethical and several reports were made to HR. By the time I left, I handed an HR person over two pages of notes that I had made based on unethical practices and concerns.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Jeannie - Yeah, it's probably not a ton of fun unless you are a good ole boy. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 3 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      It's funny how what one person finds unappealing, another person would find wonderful. I would love to work for a company like Ben & Jerry's. I've worked with "good ole boys" before... not fun at all!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Great example, Sheila! Sometimes it's not just about the money.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 3 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      I had a chance to work for a company where I could make a lot, and I mean a lot, of money. However, the "sales" practices were not honest and I would have to be misleading people. I couldn't do it! Instead, I decided to "retire" from the work force and help hubby with our vending machine business. I have to feel good about what I am doing or I just can't do it. Great article! :)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Michael - Definitely true. It's best when you feel like you belong.

    • michaelrbasso profile image

      Michael R Basso, PhD, MBA, 3 years ago from USA Greater NYC area

      Perhaps the phrase, "be yourself, free yourself" is an important one to consider within the context of organizational fit.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Wesman Todd Shaw - Glad you enjoyed this. We each need to make our own decisions. For example, what was right for me in working for the company and industry I did could be terribly wrong for the next person. That's some profile photo you have there; it certainly leaves no question on where you stand! Thanks for stopping by.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 3 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Outstanding webpage you've created here, and a very nice job you've done of it.

      For the record, I'd absolutely love to work in the firearms industry, and wish every single person in the USA of adult age owned a gun for their own personal protection and for the right to procure their own foods if they so choose to eat meat.

      Anytime I see words in a title such as "values," or "morals," well dangit, I'm suckered right on in there.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      JustCrafty - The picture you paint does not sound good, but I wish you the best. Take care of yourself.

    • profile image

      JustCrafty 3 years ago

      Waiting for D-day with my employer.

      I have a boss who gets away with not doing his job because his boss thinks he does a great job and I am the worst employee in the world because I actually do my job.

      I have ammunition that shows he hasn't done his job in months but sure no one is going to be interested in looking at them but will be interested in letting me go for not doing his job.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Nell - Your friend did what was best for her. It wouldn't have worked well for anyone in the long run! Thanks for stopping by.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi, when I worked at my recent job there were about at least three people I hated! but I have never hated my work, saying that my friend was going to go into a lab that did work with animals, testing and so on, she got the job, then totally changed her mind, she said she couldn't hurt animals even if it was for testing meds etc, great article! voted up and shared, nell

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Crafty - When I worked in HR during a massive layoff (who knows, for perhaps the same company you are referring to???), I was uninvolved in layoff decisions but heavily involved in reviewing the massive number of internal employee complaints that came afterwards. Precisely the issue you are referring to -- advertising a job that had just been eliminated in a layoff -- occurred there too. Discovering what went on behind the scenes in deciding who got canned and who didn't can be a hefty eye-opener regarding corporate vs. personal values. One of my HR bosses early on in my career -- someone who used to have exceptionally solid values and actions that matched -- often said publicly that companies eventually get what they deserve. I've never forgotten that.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      What an amazing article! I know someone who worked for one of the companies listed above. They had a massive lay-off recently. While pursuing job leads, he came across an opening for his job at the same company. He called his ex-manager and asked if he should re-submit his resume. They were planning on re-hiring about 10 workers.

      Pfizer is located where I live. A few years back there was a huge ordeal with them. They built this beautiful water-front facility. Homes were taken in a lawsuit by eminent domain. Big deal on the news. Then, they just moved out after taking away homes from people. They still have some operations in town, but nothing like it used to be. At one time, people used to move here to seek work there.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      WriterJanis - It is definitely all about personal priorities. It may make for some uncomfortable moments or even a sinking feeling every time you go into work, but you'd be providing for your family in the best way you could in the circumstances. Tough call sometimes, huh?

    • WriterJanis profile image

      Janis 3 years ago from California

      It would be difficult to work for a company that had different values then mine, but a paycheck versus no paycheck comes to mind and I have a family to take care of.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Mona - Thank you for reading and commenting. I wish your daughter the best of luck in landing a position that suits not only her talents but also her values.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      This is such a well written and structured hub, with good research backing it up. I appreciate your article and the fact that you add your sources in the end. Wish I read this when I was still a working girl. I'm pushing 60 now. However, I will pass it on to my daughter, who is landing her first job:)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Thank you, Eddy.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Interesting and thanks for sharing .

      Voted up and shared.

      Eddy.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Frank - I guess it really depends on the person and what other options they feel they have. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      this is indeed an insightful hub Flourish.. with so many folks out of work I would suggest never turn down a job.. you don't have to like it, but do your best in it... I dunno, just how I feel, but nonetheless you stirred emotions here in me

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Just Crafty - When I worked in HR in the state of Maine years ago, it was a very employee-friendly state when it came to unemployment compensation claims, worker's compensation, and Maine Human Rights charges. Some states are much less sympathetic to employees even before they hear the facts. Take care of yourself.

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      JustCrafty 3 years ago

      I loved your article. I have been with the same company for 19 years but I have reached the line in the sand and am hoping that the company will either see that the bosses have a different line or they just get it over and fire me so I can get on with something else in my life.

      No respect and not much of incentives to stay when your boss is protected by his boss and neither do their jobs correctly but get paid dearly.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Joelle - That's some great pretending. I never knew that went on. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

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      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Great hub, Flourish! I would have a hard time to work for a company that not fit my values. As you said, it's not easy to find a perfect fit.

      I remembered a colleague of mine had a sister who worked in the tobacco industry. She was a non smoker but because she had to meet clients, she always had to have an open pack of cigarettes in her purse.... for me it would be too much.

      I love your illustrations who speak volumes!

      Have a nice evening!

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      grand old lady - Thank you for reading and sharing. I hope this will benefit college kids and others who are considering job offers and career moves.

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      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      These are great tips. Wish this article existed when I was young and worked in offices. Hope all young people get a chance to read this. Voted up, and will share on fb (so my old fogie friends can pass it on to their children

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      PegCole17 - Everyone has to feed their family and pay their mortgage, and it's nearly impossible to say what we won't do until faced with the possibility of applying, interviewing, accepting a job offer, and then working with a company. If there are any reservations along the way, it's important to explore them, because they will likely stick. Although I was able to rationalize working for the company that I did, not everyone else was. Reputations are definitely earned.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Nicholas - Yep, I know what you're saying. Golden handcuffs.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Michael - On the employer's side of things, RJPs, structured interviews and recruiting from established company-friendly channels can help an organization ends up with employees who exercise good "fit." Employees and job applicants often still get surprised because they haven't done sufficient research about companies or haven't given a full consideration to the values issue before accepting.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Devika - Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! Hope you are doing well.

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      Peg Cole 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      This insightful glimpse into our employment choices is a thought provoking philosophical topic. I'd love to say I'd NEVER work for so and so, but if it came to losing my home or feeding my family, it may not be true. Could I play the role of Rose the Riveter working in a bomb factory? Maybe. Maybe not.

      One time I interviewed for a job at a university in a lab. To get to the prospective hiring manager, I was escorted through a maze of laboratory animals in cages with all sorts of animal experimentation ongoing. I immediately knew I could never take that job, no matter what.

      I worked for over a dozen years at a major corporation where I saw some really shady practices - but mostly they were done by the nefarious people in charge at the moment, rather than aligning with the corporate philosophy.

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      Nicholas Carangi 3 years ago from Michigan City, Indiana

      I really appreciate you laying this out. My employer compensates me well, but there are no values aside from profit in the companies charter. It is really disheartening, but a 100k is hard to find these days elsewhere. Help us!

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      Michael R Basso, PhD, MBA, 3 years ago from USA Greater NYC area

      It can be important to use realistic job previews, structured interviews and to try to informally understand the interests of employees and potential ones to 1) Assure a good fit within work teams 2) Have employees who other will listen too;

      including sharing of values, ideas and concepts

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      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      How To Work For A Company That Does Not Share Your Values is another one of your greater hubs and you brought on a unique topic. Well thought of and so much here to think about.

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      Rohan Rinaldo Felix 3 years ago from Chennai, India

      A great hub again! I quit my job at an ad agency because I felt it was too commercial and we had to promote the products of unethical companies. You have the knack of finding meaningful things to write about!

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Dean - Work is a huge part of our lives, so it's very important to be able to look yourself in the mirror and be comfortable with what you're doing and who you're spending 1/3 of your day with (or more). Thanks for reading and commenting.

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      Dean Walsh 3 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Work takes up such a big part of our lives, so its really important to make sure that you are comfortable with what you're doing - but you're right that we can't always be picky so this is really useful information.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      drmiddlebrook - No company is ideal; you're right about that. Employees have to consistently check their personal values and decide to stay or go when the company has racked up too much of the "ick" factor. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. Have a great day.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      ologsinquito - Thank you for the kind compliment and for pinning. Knowing where to draw the line is a real challenge for many people.

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      ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

      This is absolutely excellent, with such good advice. No company is perfect, but each of us has to decide what is acceptable and draw our own line in the sand. This will go on my newly created Business and Work board.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Heidi - When selecting employees, I/O psychologists refer to the "can do" factors (knowledge/skills/abilities), the "will do" factors (motivational factors), and the "fit" factors (whether the person meshes with the given org culture). Usually if a company doesn't select an applicant out, then the applicant self-selects. (But people have to know themselves and do their research!) The guy I knew who didn't fit at Ben & Jerry's felt like a fish out of water. He had even moved his family halfway across the country to Vermont. He shuddered when he told the story, but for others their start-up, wacky culture would be a great fit.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Mari - Thanks for reading and commenting. For many people, this is their reality, as they count on their career at a controversial employer to pay their mortgage and feed their family. I did well then I got out.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Deborah - Yep, I thought of them, too! I just came from shopping there -- a soul crushing experience. Cannot imagine working there for a career. Well actually, when I was a teenager I worked there for two days. If that wasn't motivation to never work in retail, I don't know what was.

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      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 3 years ago from Texas, USA

      Excellent advice and suggestions. I've worked for employers that, after accepting the job, I found out our values and ethics were not aligned. Always an "uncomfortable" situation to be in. Although it's nearly impossible to find a company that will be a complete match, it's still a good idea to learn as much as you can about a potential employer before you accept a position. In these economic times, unfortunately, we often have to say "yes" to jobs and companies we'd rather say "no" to, but this is the world in which we live. When that happens, we have to do exactly what this article advises, putting our goals first, and making the best of the situation.

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      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Such great questions! I agree that no company that has a huge public presence is without controversy and detractors. As well, perceptions do change over time, for the better or worse, depending on circumstances and public opinion. Some of this is influenced by how a company responds to challenges both within and outside the organization.

      And one factor that often gets glossed over when people apply for jobs, even if there's a values match, is company culture. (Great example of the guy who went to work for Ben & Jerry's.) There are a ton of "role model" companies that I would never, ever work for. I have worked in situations where the culture match was not ideal and it was very frustrating and stressful.

      Another fabulous hub!

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      dragonflycolor 3 years ago

      At first I was afraid and even petrified, but you gave quality tips on how to assess your career moves. I wish I had this when I was younger! There are so many variables that make working harder and harder each day, it's a wonder those industries are still in business! Thanks for the great hub. Voted up!

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      Deborah Neyens 3 years ago from Iowa

      Interesting article. The first company that came to mind for me was Walmart.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Thanks, Dora! These days we have to work so many years that it just doesn't make sense to be unhappy. Finding a job that fits your values is important.

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      Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Great instructions and insights-- especially for those who are still in the workforce, on the importance of personal values and being able to maintain those values on the job. Very helpful to the satisfaction of employer and employee. Voted Up!

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Faith Reaper - What a great perspective. I bet you are great at what you do keeping state government employees and public officials on the straight and narrow. We sure could you your help here in Virginia!

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      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Awesome article! Speaking of ethics, for the past 19 years I have worked for a state government commission that attempts to keep public officials and employees ethical. What an arduous task, but at least I am working on the other end of the ethical side and not on the side of the unethical! Before that, I always worked in insurance, and I was not real happy with that field. I will leave it at that lol.

      I love your great imagery here, which help to bring home your great points. I could never work in the gambling industry for sure.

      Up and more and sharing.

      Blessings,

      Faith Reaper

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Donnah75 - So many people fail to do their research on prospective employers, then they're surprised once they're on the inside. Working in a controversial company can be rewarding if you have a clear sense of purpose as to why you're there.

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      Donna Hilbrandt 3 years ago from Upstate New York

      It is so good to see you explore this idea that we need to put our efforts behind those we can support. Working for a company that we don't believe in is stressful and can tear us up inside. Making a career move can be hard and take time, but it is worth it.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Writer Fox - Thanks for the suggestion. I will make reference to that. It seems that no company is beyond reproach. I had thought of including a table of the top 5-10 most admired companies on Fortune's list, then displaying what PR issues they, too, have struggled with. Then I thought gosh, that sure is giving other companies a break.

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      Writer Fox 3 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      This is a wonderful, in-depth article. You do make some important points. It's not always easy to find the ideal job and people are very fortunate when they do. There was a lot of bad publicity about the way Amazon treated it's employees during the holiday season that you might want to include here, too. Voted up and pinned!

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Jackie - Thanks for reading and commenting. Everyone has their own "deal breaker" list, and I'm eager to see people's responses to those polls.

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      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      billy picked a great one; I was thinking of them today. It would be impossible for me to work for ones like them, out to destroy all they cannot control. Great thought went into this; thanks for sharing.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Bill - Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I think about all the college kids graduating in the next few months. They've probably already been interviewed and will be getting offers soon. Who you work for definitely affects the rest of your life, as you're there 8+ hours a day.

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      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Flourish. Very interesting hub. This is definitely food for thought. I've never really thought about this before but now that you have me thinking about the issue there are definitely some companies I would never work for. Great job.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Thanks for the compliment, Bill. I never thought of them, but you've got a great point.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      What a great article. Very interesting and one that is very applicable to today's society. The first business I thought of was Monsanto. No way no how would I ever work for those crooks. I love this article; well done.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Suzanne - Thanks for stopping by. Trying to change what doesn't want to be changed is like spitting in the wind.

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      Suzanne Day 3 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      Fantastic hub, I really enjoyed reading it. There are some real shonky employers out there. My personal pet hated ones are the ones where they sell nothing of value and you wonder what you are doing within the world working there, plus the ones where the customer service is crap, so you join the crap team to "make it better" and of course, nothing can change due to bad organisational policies. Thanks for the useful info and voted "useful"!