Ethics -v- job

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Astaroth, Jan 2, 2018.

  1. Astaroth

    Astaroth
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Messages:
    3,680
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +886
    As a contractor I move around companies a fair amount and so hear a lot about what companies are potentially planning to do etc and fortunately have been in a position to not accept any projects that I didnt want to do (eg making 200 people redundant to offshore their activity to an offshore provider) as they've all come about at interview stage rather than whilst mid contract.

    Clearly there are some things that are legal but may go against your personal principles... do you do them anyway because they're part of your job or are there lines where you'd rather lose your job than do whats legal (and realistically encompased within your role)? If you were paid 50% more to do it would your morals still stand?
     
  2. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Messages:
    52,580
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    167
    Location:
    Romford-ish
    Ratings:
    +32,978
    Would I ever do anything 'unethical'? - no.
    Does everyone have the same measure of 'unethical'? - also no.

    Is 'making 200 people redundant' unethical? Anecdotally, anyone I know who has been made redundant has done massively well out of the deal - maybe they had particularly ethical HR managers :)
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
    • List
  3. Astaroth

    Astaroth
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Messages:
    3,680
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +886
    The first point is key, hence asking where the line is and if it is movable.

    Perhaps the example was a poor one - I cannot say if people did well out of it as I took another role instead but inevitably there will have been some who were under 2 years service so presumably got nothing. I do have better (or worse depending on your perspective) examples but they take longer to explain which some may say is "just business" and others would say are wrong...

    A project to make your renewal as absolutely forgetable as possible given they bumped prices by 20-50% for existing customers and once renewed there were large cancellation charges. Some may say unethical, others may blame the customer for not being able to remember or not acting on the one reminder we did send (looking a bit like junk mail) a month in advance.

    Doing a "sell your house for cash" website where the site owners ideas of maximising revenue from vunerable people was a real eye opener from bogus estate agents lowballing its value (of which the person only receives 80% anyway) to extortionate rents with crazy escalations with the intent to get them out ASAP despite all the copy talking about it in similar vein to equity release mortgages and giving retirement income without losing your home etc. Or perhaps these people should just have been more financially astute and bought a better pension.
     
  4. 273K

    273K
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Messages:
    1,016
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    116
    Location:
    Merseyside
    Ratings:
    +980
    My first job out of uni was at a small specialised engineering company that supplied a range of industries, including defense. They didn't directly manufacture anything deadly, but designed things for the MoD, missile manufacturers, and nuclear submarine makers. I used to try to avoid those projects, but this wasn't always possible. Interestingly when first working on these projects I was surprised how I just focused on the immediate need to get the job done, out of loyalty to the company and its reputation - the immediate need to make money to stay in business. Only afterwards really thought about the wider ethical picture. In the end I moved jobs for several reasons, one of which was my personal reservations. I wouldn't work for a company involved in that sector again, even though it tends to pay better.
     
  5. Dony

    Dony
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Messages:
    17,583
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    near Newry, Co. Down
    Ratings:
    +10,217
    How far would you go to bake a cake?
     
  6. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Messages:
    52,580
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    167
    Location:
    Romford-ish
    Ratings:
    +32,978
    I used to be involved in a lot of MoD contracts - we deliberately avoided anything 'lethal' (like missile guidance) and stuck to support/defence like optimising logistics, surveillance, radar etc
     
  7. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Messages:
    52,580
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    167
    Location:
    Romford-ish
    Ratings:
    +32,978
    I'm definitely at the 'do no harm' end of the scale. I know some would do 'anything for money - it's all legal right blud!' but I'm not there.

    One I did hear about from family was a sharp practice for a developer to build a house and sell it and the land, and hope the buyer didn't notice a thin strip of land held back between the property and the pavement - unsurprisingly called the 'ransom strip'. The unwitting owner would then have to buy that for whatever the developer wanted in order to gain legal access to their property. All legal, I'm sure.

    Similarly I wouldn't 'give all my money away' to a firm in [insert sunny locale] and then 'suggest' they buy a mansion for me to live in.

    That's just me though.
     
  8. captainarchive

    captainarchive
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2006
    Messages:
    13,228
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Derby
    Ratings:
    +3,895
    Making people redundant and ethics are a bad example because redundancy is sometimes necessary to improve a business and can save jobs in the long run. I worked for a council where we made 3000 (yes thousand) cleaners redundant. Including the two who cleaned our office. I was able to sleep at night because The Council kept the contract in house, although we had fewer cleaners, they had improved conditions of service, more hours and higher pay and there was a lower cost to the Council Tax Payer.

    People have a different opinion about what is ethical as opposed to what is illegal. I've never done anything in work I've felt uncomfortable about and turned down job offers where they've been contrary to my moral compass. I've even walked out on jobs, the last one I can remember was a sales job where they encouraged you to do 'related selling' trying to get customers to buy things they didn't really need. Most of the people I was working with had no problem with it but I just didn't like the idea of selling unnecessary goods to businesses some of whom weren't doing well thanks to a recession.
     
  9. BlueOrange25

    BlueOrange25
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2004
    Messages:
    769
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Ratings:
    +366
    It depends.

    I wouldn't work for a company that makes weapons. I also wouldn't (want to) work for an organisation that advocates any kind of bigotry or discrimination in or outside their organisation.
     
  10. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Messages:
    52,580
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    167
    Location:
    Romford-ish
    Ratings:
    +32,978
    A friend of mine left a good role in a high-street bank back in the early 2000s because he wouldn't do the unethical, later illegal, PPI upselling.
     
  11. Swiss Tony

    Swiss Tony
    Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2017
    Messages:
    50
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    11
    Location:
    Manchester
    Ratings:
    +23
    "Principles" don't pay the bills. If it's legal, then do it. Some people bang on about "ethics" while being totally happy with their pension fund investing in tobacco companies and arms manufacturers. Not knowing is not an excuse by the way, if you wanted to find out you can do, but of course you would only do that if you cared.
     
  12. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Messages:
    52,580
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    167
    Location:
    Romford-ish
    Ratings:
    +32,978
    I seem to be paying the bills, principles intact.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Funny Funny x 1
    • List
  13. koeman

    koeman
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2010
    Messages:
    1,612
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Burnley, Lancs
    Ratings:
    +463
    Redundancy isn't necessarily non ethical. As long as it's all legal I'd not have an issue with it.

    I've had to let people go many times in my life, never nice but unfortunately part of the job.
     
  14. 273K

    273K
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Messages:
    1,016
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    116
    Location:
    Merseyside
    Ratings:
    +980
    Not everything that's legal is ethical.

    ... and not everything that's ethical is legal.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • List
  15. nheather

    nheather
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Messages:
    18,657
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    167
    Location:
    Horsham, West Sussex
    Ratings:
    +8,524
    You have to know the full facts.

    What if there is a company with 1000 employees that is struggling.

    Make 200 redundant and outsource the work - company survives.

    Don’t make any redundancies, company collapses, all 1000 out of work.

    Cheers,

    Nigel
     
  16. Astaroth

    Astaroth
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Messages:
    3,680
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +886
    The company in question made $375m profit that year which is inline with prior and subsequent years.

    Now that isn’t to say that an individual business unit wasn’t struggling and could have been closed rather than offshoring the back office causing the loss of further jobs. I don’t think it was the case as it was a global programme so the headcount impacted was much bigger but cannot say for certain.

    PPI sales is an interesting one, certainly some wouldn’t consider it miss-selling to say risky customers could only get credit if they bought insurance (like mortgage providers can still insist you insure your home). Likewise some really bad misselling was done in the thought they were helping the customers because the insurer was bound to honour the claim (as was the case with my ex who used to handle claims), give them the loan paperwork and the claim form to get it written off for their terminal cancer in the same appointment.
     
  17. WeegyAVLover

    WeegyAVLover
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2007
    Messages:
    4,696
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Scotland
    Ratings:
    +1,653
    I work in IT and there is nothing I have not done for a paycheck :)

    However I work in IT so my job really does not matter. I cannot think of anything unethical I could be asked to do that would go against my principles.
     
  18. BB3Lions

    BB3Lions
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2009
    Messages:
    14,484
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +6,051
    What if you was asked to delete a bosses personal files with dodgy incriminating porn photos?
     
  19. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Messages:
    52,580
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    167
    Location:
    Romford-ish
    Ratings:
    +32,978
    "our team has overspent - I need you to delete some transactions from the database..."
    "this customer has a red-flag against their account - I need you to remove it so that we can sell them some products"
    "install some spyware on everyone's machines - we are going to try to fire anyone who spends more than 30 minutes a day on the web"
    "please approve me access to this database so I can see some secret info - I need it for sales information to make some l££t. Don't worry - I've checked and it's not 'illegal'"

    + lots more besides :)
     
  20. Doug the D

    Doug the D
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Messages:
    8,334
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Dorset
    Ratings:
    +13,054
    I think @imightbewrong hit the nail on the head with his post #2. Every person has a different ethical threshold. Personally, I don't like it that people I work with treat staff below them in the 'pecking order' with anything other than respect - I have made complaints to senior management about it too.

    I won't lower my standards to their level by being rude or agressive towards others. I'm sure my stance is seen as a little odd by some, considering my military backround, but I don't care really.
    Most civvies I've discussed it with seem to think that the army is full of people shouting and screaming obsenities at each other on a day-to-day basis, when that's simply not true.

    It's quite easy to treat others how you want to be treated. :)
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
    • List
  21. WeegyAVLover

    WeegyAVLover
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2007
    Messages:
    4,696
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Scotland
    Ratings:
    +1,653
    LOL!!!... I work in large financial institutions that have done some dodgy things and used sharp practices but all of those scenarios are almost impossible to do without approval from a great many people, a large amount of paper work, a chain of change control measures & approval from a management structure... at which point if you have not said no to this request then one of them will.

    That all said I provide disk for storage & configure backups, so I defer to my previous point my job is meaningless & there are no “unethical” bits to it. [emoji4]
     
  22. Astaroth

    Astaroth
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Messages:
    3,680
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +886
    So enabling these things through creating the IT systems, and possibly even suggesting ways to make the practices even more "sharp" which the business missed in its requirements wouldn't be an issue for your ethics? Similiar to others who said they were "just following orders"?
     
  23. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Messages:
    52,580
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    167
    Location:
    Romford-ish
    Ratings:
    +32,978
    "Hey - a customer claims we messed up a past transaction - it's only on backup - you will get a request to restore it later - any chance you could 'lose' it?"

    I work in large finance also, and there are a lot of 'opportunities'. I write software so you can imagine the possibilities of adding some 'back door' or 'white list' or other 'circumventer'.

    Many of my colleagues need to do 'compliance leave' - i.e. spend at least six consecutive business days away from their desk, just in case they are constantly fiddling with some system to keep themselves off the radar :laugh:
     
  24. MrSossidge

    MrSossidge
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Messages:
    6,171
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    East Riding of Yorkshire
    Ratings:
    +5,019
    My wife had to do this when she was with RBS.
     
  25. Astaroth

    Astaroth
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Messages:
    3,680
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +886
    We did too but it was 10 business days; amusing when I then moved to another company also in FS and wanted to book a 14 day holiday assuming it'd just be a normal thing to do and was surprised to hear that anything over 10 days had to have a regional MD's sign off (but then they were probably happy for you to be doing dodgy things as long as they were still making money - there were a host of "buying services/solutions" from family members etc even though the companies IT staff had developed it etc.)
     
  26. WeegyAVLover

    WeegyAVLover
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2007
    Messages:
    4,696
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Scotland
    Ratings:
    +1,653
    LOL! The answer to that one is a doddle. We do not do restores, it’s the platform team you need to speak to. The platform team only has read access to the tape libraries so can only read the data to restore it and cannot remove data.

    Then if someone asked me directly it would be a simple “no! Sorry that is not possible” in an email cc-ing my boss, her boss & her bosses boss.

    I am hardware so as I stated I have no ethical issues. But then that does come down to your own ethics rather than being put in that position.

    However that said again their are arguments & justifiable reasons to put back door, etc options into software during testing phases. However your ethics & company standards should have these removed prior to going live & also testing should of would hopefully find these along with stringent security stress testing.

    LOL! I have no idea what that is all about but do you work for the N. Korean government by any chance as your ethical scale is off the hook... LOL!

    I am not judging you just want to know their contractor day rates! [emoji4]
     
  27. Astaroth

    Astaroth
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Messages:
    3,680
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +886
    So you don't mind what your hardware is used for? Happy to spec up the kit required to run modelling software for biological weapons etc?

    Its common in banking and not uncommon in insurance to have a minimum holiday period once per year for all staff; amusingly however in my experience it is only staff and not contractors or consultants, perhaps some admission on salaries there.
     
  28. Mr.D

    Mr.D
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2000
    Messages:
    11,193
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Ratings:
    +1,236
    I once threatened to quit if another employee was refused a meagre payrise and resigned as a result. This employee had often worked atrocious unpaid overtime to deliver projects and was severely underpaid for the responsabilities they’d taken on board voluntarily.

    As a result I was given a lot of abuse by senior management and accused of blackmailing the company.

    My response was to tell them they had until 6pm to make the employee happy or I’d send my resignation letter. Whenever they hurled something threatening back at me I replied with the current time and the remaining countdown till 6pm.

    10 till 6 they asked for another 24hrs . I said this was a reasonable response and they could have until 6pm tomorrow.

    Employee got his payrise. Then some of the same slimeballs who had threatened me during the debacle were all patting me on the back saying how much respect I’d won from the workforce , of course by that point it was the only way they could save face in front of the core workforce who had inevitably found out what had gone down from office gossip.

    Apart from that there was an unfortunate incident where a colleague worked himself to death despite me warning him to get himself home for months. He couldn’t delegate correctly to his subordinates (who were a moronic rabble : each and every one) and was working 24/7 in order to make it up. I brought it up again and again over the two years I worked alongside him and warned him I did not want to find him dead at his desk in the morning. I told him to fire his incompetent team and build it back up with decent people with common sense and me and a couple of other senior staff would take the load off him in the meantime (we usually had to rescue his sude of things towards project delivery anyway). His health declined suddenly and he ended up off work for a couple of weeks by which point he was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer.

    He wasn’t very old and had kids. I couldn’t even face going to the funeral as I felt I should have forced him to go home even though he wasn’t technically my responsibility. We weren’t exactly close friends but I wish I’d done something more , I should have gotten him fired or something. To this day I’m positive he would still be around if he’d been gotten out of that job he couldn’t handle.
     
  29. Astaroth

    Astaroth
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Messages:
    3,680
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +886
    The most underhanded one I was on the receiving end of was when after 1st year of uni I went back to my parents and had a summer job at the place I worked for before going to uni. My next door neighbour who was my age and a good friend also went back to work there too but she worked on sales whereas I worked on escalated complaints.

    I got called into HR after a couple of weeks and got told that they'd over estimated the need for sales agents so were going to end all the temps but they knew I was friends with one of them and so either I could A) keep the £2/hr premium for being on escalated complaints and they'd get rid of her or B) I could stay on the team but lose my extra £2/hr and they'd keep her on

    Nice to have a choice or just blackmail?
     
  30. SteakAndCake

    SteakAndCake
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    Messages:
    6,507
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +6,256
    I personally believe that everyone has their price and there's probably nothing I wouldn't do if the price was right.
     

Share This Page

Loading...
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice