My friend and I had a nice chat yesterday about shitty jobs. Think: using your body to make better tip money at a restaurant.
Working conditions aside, some jobs just don’t sit well with your moral compass.
“This is cruel
I think this crosses ethical boundaries
I feel so bad about this…”
are all natural, warranted gut reactions. So the question becomes:
should you pass up a job because it doesn’t align with your values?
No. Sometimes you need it despite how uncomfortable it makes you (note: if you’re being harassed at work, or any other thing that’s ILLEGAL under the law, please don’t put up with it).
In Arlene Dickinson’s book, Persuasion, I learned that she used to hold a job as a collections caller. Maybe I don’t have the title right, but the gist of her job was calling people who were behind on their bills (for reasons she knew all too well, coming from poverty herself) and pester them for payment. Sometimes she’d even have to drive over to their homes and serve them with court summons. She hated it.
But circumstance prevented her from quitting: she had four kids who needed to eat. What you can pull from Arlene’s problem is this:
sometimes you don’t have the luxury to take the moral high ground
You just don’t. And Arlene putting her malaise aside for the sake of her children, or you waiting tables because your education won’t pay for itself, is honourable.
Hell, plenty of students take on sugar daddies to pay their way through school. [Before you judge: McGill University is the #2 fastest growing ‘sugar baby’ school. The issue is literally in our backyards.]
Obviously there are concerns for personal safety when you’re sugar babying yourself out to strangers, but the way you do what needs to be done shouldn’t be a point of judgement on you as a person.
Don’t apologize if you weren’t born with a silver spoon – parents who set you up with the right connections early on – and have to take a few dirty (not illegal, please!) jobs to make things right for yourself.
Nobody knows what your situation is, and sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. Plus, as long as you have your sights set on something better for yourself, I think its okay. Your hard work will pay off when you finally start enjoying the luxury of following your moral compass.
Still uneasy about it?
a little support:
Here’s Scott Laufenberg’s article, published by the American BAR Association (that thing lawyers are a part of), on having no choice in representing a client. My favourite tidbit is:
Many people understand that representing the person or issue does not equate with accepting or endorsing what a particular client does.
And this article about how expensive school is:
Among all students who graduated from four-year colleges in 2012, seven in 10 left with debt.
Its okay that you’ll sometimes have to take your values out of the equation so you can get things done. As long as you do it responsibly, you’ll be okay.
So, yes, you have my permission to wait tables wearing questionable outfits. And to do anything else you need to do, because you need to take care of you.
Just be safe about it.
P.S. What do you think about this issue? Do you agree or disagree? What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to earn money?