Don't Sell Your Soul For a Paycheck
We spend most of our lives at work. Even when we're off, we find ourselves anxious about a potential promotion, stressed over rapidly-approaching deadlines, or merely wondering if we remembered to shut down the computer properly.
When something consumes so much of your life, it is important to ensure that it is indeed aligned with your personal goals and values, to feel that those stressors aren't in vain. It's vital that the company mission is something that you're interested in and passionate about. For most, work boils down to money. Some may consider that the most important aspect. While money is important, the means by which the money is gained is important as well.
I recently had a position that was a good fit for me. Not perfect, but good. There were aspects of the job I enjoyed greatly and the pay was pretty good. The thought of promoting to a higher position definitely crossed my mind. Although I liked the overall concept of the company and at times, I found the position to be extremely gratifying, there were certain tactics that the company used to garner money from customers that I did not agree with.
My main gripe was with the online order form and a certain page that tended to confuse customers. In an email to the leadership, I explained that we constantly receive complaints about this page/service in particular and I felt like I had discovered the disconnect. Due to the ambiguity in the wording, customers were unaware that they were enrolling in a particular service.
When I realized how tedious and detailed site-development is, it became abundantly clear that the ambiguity on my company’s site was intentional. It was a devious attempt to trap our trusting customers. Making matters worse, customers weren’t able to get their money back immediately. They’d have to jump through all kinds of hoops. I’m sure my company hoped that they would get exhausted and just relinquish the funds.
I raised my concern with leadership and it seemed to get swept under the rug. Certainly, because it would create a financial hit if my issue was addressed. This tainted my view of the company; I felt that they put money over morals. I knew that that was something that I didn't want to be associated with.
In contrast, I recently received an opportunity to work with Earnin and even got a chance to visit the Headquarters. I immediately recognized that it is a company that prides itself on integrity and altruism. What impacted me the most was that they were constantly picking our brain for feedback on the app itself, and what ideas we might have to improve the product/community. This made me feel as if our input was valuable and significant.
About midway through the day, a few of us were asked to provide opinions on a new feature that may be introduced to the app. This process was very meticulous and the product manager was very interested in our thought-process as we walked through the pages of the app. He wanted to know what we expected to happen if a particular cog was pressed. He asked if certain actions were to be expected if we made a certain selection. During this process, my mind drifted off to the issue with my current employer. This instantly made me reevaluate my affiliation with them.
If it’s not obvious that there was a vast difference between these two companies, here’s my final example: I distinctly recall overhearing my team-manager casually (and somewhat proudly) stating that he’s selfish. Conversely, a director at Earnin, Katie, told us the story of her senior thesis and it was nothing short of poetic.
She had asked students what types of things they’ve done to deface the campus. They listed the usual things, littering, spitting, vomiting. So to put things into perspective and adjust their view of their wrongdoings, she invited them to a tent on the beach and told them that they have to do those same things to her, with a bucket of vile substances on hand for them to drench her with. As expected, they had a difficult time obliging the requests, yet still managed to do so. Afterwards, they were instructed to clean her body, clothes and hair, as a representation of righting their wrongs. It’s no coincidence that a person with such a holistic view of life was a staff member of a company like Earnin.
Regarding my role at my current employer, as I mentioned, it was a good fit, but not perfect. Every day, I found myself eagerly waiting for the next break/ lunch. Even worse, I dreaded the inevitable conversations with puzzled customers, confused as to why money was withdrawn from their account.
I made a decision that I would no longer be a part of the corruption. With a few month's rent paid, and a somewhat decent backup in place, I spoke with leadership and reiterated my stance.
They were sure to remind me that I was compensated well, which is true. For that compensation, I was willing to offer my time, patience, and attention, but my integrity was not for sale.
I feel so free and my conscience clear, knowing that I stood behind the words I delivered months ago. Money is important, but we must remember that it's a tool and not our master.
— Quentin Moorman, Austin, TX