Go Where You Are Wanted
If you are like me, there have been occasions in your work-life where you either felt squeamish about accepting a new job because of concerns about the potential employer or wanted to leave a job because you had doubts about the employer. For me, the concerns I had about the employer I worked for revolved around ethics. The employer was selling products to customers at year end which had not been 100% inspected, a requirement of the contract with the buyer. The employer did it to inflate reported revenues and increase net income at the end of the fiscal year so that they could meet or exceed financial analysts’ earnings expectations. Working in the accounting department, I could not stand idly by and watch financial fraud occur, so I quit the job.
The Importance of Being Valued on the Job
This leads me to an article I read just a few days ago by Alaina G. Levine, writing for Science online. She addresses whether scientists and academics should weigh whether to work for an organization that doesn’t truly value what they bring to the table. She uses the example of when journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones announced she was not taking a faculty job at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her initial offer did not include tenure, unlike everyone else who had been given the exact same position before her. After the details of Hannah-Jones’s situation hit the media, the university relented. But the scholar, a recipient of a MacArthur fellowship (otherwise known as the “genius grant”), chose a different path. Instead of going to a university that did not value her, she found another organization that did: Howard University was more than happy to extend an appropriate offer of tenure, so she took her talents, knowledge, and expertise there.
Her friend, journalist Yamiche Alcindor, wrote on Twitter: “Go where you are embraced, celebrated, valued and supported. Go where you don’t have to fight for people to see your brilliance. And avoid spaces if they barely tolerate you, even if they’re familiar and beloved.”
Levine states that “It’s an important message to hear because you may pine to work in a particular lab or be tempted to take a job that will add prestige to your CV, thinking that is your route to success. But if you end up in a situation where you’re devalued, it’s often not worth it because you’ll end up unhappy and unproductive, and more importantly, it will take a toll on your well-being.”
The same applies to workers in all industries, institutions, government, NGOs, etc. The advice to go where you are wanted and valued is universal. If you do not feel the job offers what you want in terms of collegiality, support from superiors, micromanaging, the possibility for advancement, not having faith in your skills, or just plain having ethical doubts, it’s best to turn down such job offers because it becomes a lot harder to leave the employer once you are invested in time and monetary requirements.
Admittedly, it can be hard work to find this kind of situation. First, you need to know that you have value. Don’t let anyone talk you into believing you’re worth less than what you know you’re truly worth, given your diverse set of skills, knowledge, and experiences. Then you need to locate employers who will see your value and will give you an environment where you can thrive.
Look For the Warning Signs
Levine addresses one way to assess whether your employer values you is by identifying several markers including the following.
- Does the organization value its employees?
- How does your boss support you in challenging times?
- Why do you love working here?
- What is the best part of your job?
- What tools and resources are you given to succeed?
- Does the organization provide equal support to all employees?
- Is there flexibility for employees who care for kids or other family members?
- Does your employer demonstrate compassion in the face of a family health issues?
- Do you feel free? Can you bring your authentic self to the workplace?
Listen for how the person answers these queries, she says. Are they enthusiastic and specific? Or are they evasive, providing only generalities?
The Importance of Workplace Culture
The important point is these are signs of the workplace culture, an essential ingredient of how you will be treated on and at the job. For example, in today’s work environment a critical issue to address is to assess the employer’s view on treating employees according to their needs, assuming, of course, those needs are valued and an integral part of their lives.
Ask yourself: Is there flexibility for employees who care for kids or other family members? Just imagine if the answer was ‘no’, in the COVID environment we have endured for more than two years. Many people have different lifestyles because of their personal or home requirements that are valued and given our recent experience with a remote work environment, should prompt employers to allow for flexibility to get the job done whether it is at the office, remotely, or some combination of the two. If you run into a situation with these red flags, Levine says “it’s probably a better course of action for your career and mental health to turn down that job offer.”
This is easier said than done. I am a realist and believe if you do take the job with those red flags, perhaps you can deal with at least some concerns internally. By taking the job with your doubts it gives you an opportunity to prove your worth and then go to your superior and/or HR and discuss the relevant issues.
Regardless of what you do, let me remind you that you can communicate your concerns to me, and I will provide the best advice possible, and you will remain anonymous. If you decide to do this, you can submit through by website or email me at: [email protected]. Everything will remain confidential.
I also want to point out that my "Workplace Ethics Advice" blog was rated #5 in the list of the 20th best blogs dealing with CSR. Here is the entire list: Top 20 Corporate Social Responsibility Blogs and Websites in 2022 (feedspot.com).
Blog posted by Dr. Steven Mintz, The Ethics Sage, on March 10, 2022. You can sign up for his newsletter and learn more about his activities at: https://www.stevenmintzethics.com/. Follow him on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/StevenMintzEthics and on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/ethicssage.