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Are/were you for sale? Trading principle for pay.
Old 02-22-2010, 03:52 PM   #1
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Are/were you for sale? Trading principle for pay.

Todays rash of spam got me thinking about paychecks and scruples... have you ever had a j*b that furthered an undertaking, action, individual or business that you found personally reprehensible? Spammers get paid to spam and I wonder how they feel about that.

I'll go first... I had a job once (long ago) running a daycare facility for a chain daycare provider; the kind of place that is a childcare factory. Kids were kept safe and healthy but in classes too large for their own good, cheap food, gravel playgrounds etc. The owners of the facility actually had a helpful booklet on how to avoid being cited by state inspectors and after some time, I finally found other employment.

Have you ever been paid to do something you weren't proud of?
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Old 02-22-2010, 04:03 PM   #2
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Good thread.
I was in a position such that I was the lead evaluator of certain things that would result in monetary awards. I recall being "told" what the outcome should be in certain instances. Enough said.
It cost me major political points, but I stood my ground and did not let the "influences" come to pass. Objective was my middle name.
If I was overruled, the final decision did not carry my signature.
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Old 02-22-2010, 04:27 PM   #3
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When I was 18, I got a job working for a bookstore. Ah, the glamour of it! Or so I thought. It wasn't a job "up front" dealing with customers, though. I was in charge of the mail order department.

The bookstore owner had me sign any letters or communications "Jane Clark", and answer the phone as "Jane Clark". This should have been a CLUE, but I was just a naive kid.

Basically, whenever we got a check in, it was deposited. But then if the book ordered was out of print, or the publisher was out of stock, I was to type up the refund check and file it. I couldn't send it back to the person. If the person called, I was to promise it would be sent soon and stall as much as possible, but then not send it. When they threatened to sue, I would transfer the call to the bookstore owner.

I had an entire WALL of bookcases full of boxes full of alphabetized typed out refund checks that were never sent by "Jane Clark".

I felt so bad about it. I also had issues because the man working under me (that I was training as a typist and file clerk, who could barely hunt-and-peck type) was making twice the pay I was. When confronted with that, the bookstore owner said it was because he was a man and would have a family to support one day (at that time, he and I were both single). After a year working there, one morning I just didn't go in. And in fact, I never returned. They must have been used to it. No communications from them either, except for my W-2 in the mail the next year.

I always wondered if that guy was told to answer the phone, "John Clark".

Becoming a federal employee many years later was refreshing, in comparison. I neither saw, nor did, nor was asked to do, anything slimy like that.
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Old 02-22-2010, 04:44 PM   #4
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Are you kidding? Done something I wasn't proud of? I was in sales.. (that should answer it)
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Old 02-22-2010, 05:07 PM   #5
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It sounds like what W2R had to was borderline fraud, what an ugly introduction to the world of work. Anybody know would this be covered under the whistle blower statues now days.Of course how many 18 years old would know about such things.

I actually had somewhat the opposite experience. I once proposed doing something moderately deceptive (I figured that's what marketing was ) and the VP marketing heard about it and not only said no but hell no.

The VP was so ethical it was amazing. He was a huge baseball fan and in 1989 his beloved Giants were playing the Oakland A's in the World Series. As a major advertiser in the World Series, CBS couriered him press box tickets on Friday the day before game 1. He refused to accept them, saying it could be viewed as form of bribery. (I guess in theory government employees have to do the same thing.) I argued that if he didn't accept the tickets they would just go to waste. Finally, he agreed to let the tickets be raffled of to employees in the headquarters building, and some lucky maintenance employee got two of the hottest tickets in town.

To show that no good deed goes unpunished. Dennis went to game 3 of the series only to have the game canceled by the Loma Prieta earthquake. The series resumed 10 days latter in the middle of collapsed freeways and aftershocks, but Dennis could not go and his life long team was swept in 4 games by the A's.
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Old 02-22-2010, 06:30 PM   #6
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....

Have you ever been paid to do something you weren't proud of?
Yes, literally. Of course, I was once young and desperate... for a long time. The one I can tell about: I lasted a half day (actually an evening) as a telemarketer. That's not the part I'm ashamed of. I'm not proud of the fact that I went back to that slimy phonebank and demanded my four hours' pay. They made a big production of it, put me through some hoops and paid it in cash. It helped pay the rent in my hand-to-mouth existence.
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Old 02-22-2010, 06:49 PM   #7
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At college one summer I had a terrible time finding work and ended up cold-calling people and telling them they'd won an incredible book of coupons, which our drivers would deliver for just $35. On my third day of work I showed up to find cops taking the office mgr away in handcuffs. They shut down the place. I started to suspect I wasn't cut out for telemarketing.
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Old 02-22-2010, 06:51 PM   #8
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Thank you for that, clifp. It gets so old when people think all sales/marketing people are just greedy/lying creeps, because I know it is definitely NOT true.

However, as for me, I've had to grin and bear it many times when customers had temper tantrums in front of me for various reasons (the wife's car broke down, another salesperson, a stupid employee, they were having a bad day, etc.).
You learn to deal with it and just let everything rolllllll off your shoulders. If you internalize it, you quit selling totally because it gets too wearing on you. So, yeah, I've had to do alot of things I wasn't too proud of...like being nice to the creepiest guy in the world because he was a regular customer or tolerating come-ons from a guy you wouldn't go out with if h*ll froze over. All part of the job.
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:41 PM   #9
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Todays rash of spam got me thinking about paychecks and scruples... have you ever had a j*b that furthered an undertaking, action, individual or business that you found personally reprehensible? Spammers get paid to spam and I wonder how they feel about that.
Have you ever been paid to do something you weren't proud of?
I volunteered to stay in the Navy for an extra six years if they'd send me to graduate school, pay me an extra $60K bonus* over that period, and continue to let me work with nuclear weapons & high explosives...

At the beginning (grad school) I found it fascinating, not reprehensible. Even sea duty wasn't too bad. But that was before I knew about something called "staff duty". When I ended up doing that I quickly found out it was incompatible with family, spouse, liberty, and a whole other bunch of my life's priorities.

I didn't know how to do anything else other than grit my teeth and sleep deprivation get through it. But eight years later when spouse was faced with a similarly tempting "irrefusible offer", she knew what to do.

*The only Navy retention incentive that's ever been proven to perform, EVER, is more money. Not "quality of life", not "job satisfaction", not "choice of homeport and duty type". Money. Lots of it.
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:47 PM   #10
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I've certainly been in situations where I was asked to undertake some treatment that I felt was substandard or unethical, and I have protested, sometimes to my personal cost. But this case of a colleague of mine (a senior resident in surgery) takes the cake. As a surgical resident, he was asked to remove a testis during a hernia repair by a surgeon who believed that that was indicated for the integrity of the repair, and dang the consequences. He walked out of the operation.
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Old 02-23-2010, 12:21 AM   #11
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Wow isn't there some kinda of oath that doctors take Good for your colleague, although I would hope most surgeons would draw the line at removing a guy's balls who goes in for a hernia operation!.
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Old 02-23-2010, 08:23 AM   #12
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At college one summer I had a terrible time finding work and ended up cold-calling people and telling them they'd won an incredible book of coupons, which our drivers would deliver for just $35. On my third day of work I showed up to find cops taking the office mgr away in handcuffs. They shut down the place. I started to suspect I wasn't cut out for telemarketing.

Hmm..so it was you who tricked me by saying I won that book of coupons?

That actually did happen to me when I was in college. But not during the summer, so it couldn't have been you. At least I did end up putting to coupon or two to good use.
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Old 02-23-2010, 08:41 AM   #13
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The only Navy retention incentive that's ever been proven to perform, EVER, is more money. Not "quality of life", not "job satisfaction", not "choice of homeport and duty type". Money. Lots of it.
Nords,

Any chance you have a link to an actual DoD or Navy public document with these conclusions? I am currently trying to convince my CEO that $$$ is the only think that will prevent a mass exodus from the company; but, he hasn't bought it so far.
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Old 02-23-2010, 09:45 AM   #14
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Yes; currently work in a place like that. Yes, currently looking for new employment. Hoping my reputation isn't permanently tarnished by the current place.
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Old 02-23-2010, 10:50 AM   #15
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Nords,
Any chance you have a link to an actual DoD or Navy public document with these conclusions? I am currently trying to convince my CEO that $$$ is the only think that will prevent a mass exodus from the company; but, he hasn't bought it so far.
Don't think so; I couldn't even link to a private document. Lemme poke around a little and ask some shipmates.

The subject is a perpetual cynical discussion among the assignment officers that actually have to make the tough decisions on who goes where when.
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Old 02-23-2010, 11:01 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Onward
At college one summer I had a terrible time finding work and ended up cold-calling people and telling them they'd won an incredible book of coupons, which our drivers would deliver for just $35. On my third day of work I showed up to find cops taking the office mgr away in handcuffs. They shut down the place. I started to suspect I wasn't cut out for telemarketing.
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Hmm..so it was you who tricked me by saying I won that book of coupons?

That actually did happen to me when I was in college. But not during the summer, so it couldn't have been you. At least I did end up putting to coupon or two to good use.
Small world? My outfit was also selling $35 coupons; were yours also for restaurant deals? I don't remember the blurb I was to read from having anything to do with a fake contest but apparently people were buying. Every time a coupon book was sold, some bells and whistles went off and the supervisors praised the telemarketer who gleefully turned in the information. I did know several people who bought the coupons books and liked them a lot. The people who ran the show stayed about eight weeks and then moved on to the next small city.
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Old 02-23-2010, 11:28 AM   #17
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Never did anything unethical or questionable. I did find workmates who did even though it was unnecessary. I suppose certain people always seek the easy way.

The conflict that I had was not reporting them. I justified that because I felt it was the management's responsibility. And when I was rewarded with a job in management, I made sure it did not happen on my watch!

(I must admit that I play with telemarketers sometimes to see if I can put them off their script.)
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Old 02-23-2010, 12:12 PM   #18
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were yours also for restaurant deals?
I think they were for restaurant deals. And I remeber a big fanfare when somebody sold a booklet. So you and I probably worked for the same company, or at least similar companies.
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Old 02-23-2010, 01:47 PM   #19
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Having been first a corporate lawyer dealing with labor issues and later HR manager itīs obvious I ended up doing things against my principles if I wanted to keep my job/position. They werenīt dishonest or unethical, nothing like that. But ceratinly not fair to people.
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Old 02-23-2010, 06:36 PM   #20
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Small world? My outfit was also selling $35 coupons; were yours also for restaurant deals? I don't remember the blurb I was to read from having anything to do with a fake contest but apparently people were buying. Every time a coupon book was sold, some bells and whistles went off and the supervisors praised the telemarketer who gleefully turned in the information. I did know several people who bought the coupons books and liked them a lot. The people who ran the show stayed about eight weeks and then moved on to the next small city.
Looking back, it's actually pretty funny. I recall the called kept on wanting me to buy the coupon book. Eventually, he'd do the fake contest thing but I incorrectly answered about three questions. Finally, he gave an easy sports one. Being young, I didn't know better and really thought I won something.

At least the coupons weren't bogus. One Sunday night I was totally broke (college budget) and the dorms didn't serve meals on Sunday's.
The light bulb turned on and I searched through that coupon book and found one for an Arby's sandwich. When you are starving, an Arby's sandwich surely did hit the spot
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