More Job Offers, and Professional Integrity

college grads job search professional integrity

I'm not going to go into the details of which is/was/will be a better job, but I wanted to talk about the concept of professional integrity. Basically, in this instance, my quandary was to pursue a new job opportunity at the expense of another. In this case, it may or may not have been in my best interests, but for the sake of the hypothetical, let's say it was in my best interests to take the Forbes offer. Should I have done it under those circumstances? Is it alright to walk away from prior obligations, leaving others in an awkward situation, for the sake of personal professional growth?

To me, the answer is obviously no. Even if offered a better paying job, in a field I wanted to work in, I don't know if I'd be able to just walk away from a previous job, especially if that company had begun to build its development plans around me. At least not until the growth had been consolidated and I'd been able to give some notice ahead of time. It just doesn't sit right with me, though I know a lot of people would (and have) scolded my naiveté and idealism. (With Zara, I did manage to give advance notice, and as a part-time employee, it was pretty clear I wasn't a critical member of the team anyway.)

In modern society, I get the sense that we ought to be cut-throat professional climbers, and if we're not, we're just going to end up stocking shelves at Wal-mart our whole lives. Whatever happened to doing what you love, because you love it, not constantly seeking a pay raise and running after the bigger paycheck? I see no problem with working an adequately paying job, but the job at Forbes would have been the first step in my short-term goal of living in the city. So I gave that up as well to stay where I am, but that too seems trivial compared to the contributions I am making and am being empowered to make.


Money was not actually an issue in this case, but for me, I've never been in the position where I had to decline an offer like this. Saying 'no' was harder than saying 'yes' would have been, but I guess that's part of learning how to hold a course. Having Forbes on my resume would certainly be valuable, but should I really be thinking of myself and my value as needing affirmations from external sources? It seems like a dangerous mindset to get into. But that said, positive professional affiliations are always part of those formidable people who bring value to their communities.

We are easily seduced by the big name, the large corporation with the safe benefits. So much so that we're often willing to give up our freedom, both in terms of time and creativity. I'm not saying Forbes is that, because it would actually allow me a lot of freedom and creativity, but the concept of the safe, secure job is one that a lot of people chase after. It's a lot scarier to stick it out on your own and face down the economic-industrial complex with nothing but your own business sense and cunning. There's no safety net, but there's also no limit on what you can do.

So for the moment, I've picked my road, and stuck to my guns. Did I make a mistake? Maybe. I think either decision would have worked out really well for me. I guess my 'problem' is a pretty trivial one in the grand scheme of things.

Thoughts on the job search for college grads, selling out, and working for money vs working for love? Post to comments.

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