Saturday, January 15, 2005

What to do...

Dig if you will a picture... Let's call my friend Ellis. Let's say he works for one of those companies that owns everything. Well, not really everything, but let's say that they own a big part of something you use every day (not toilet paper).


He's not a fan of this company, although the pay is good and the benefits are, let's face it, benefits. But there are limits. This company just had a series of layoffs not because they were losing money but because they wanted to make more money. Ellis finds this borderline immoral. It's rather like telling somebody "You've made your numbers, but we've decided we want bigger numbers and we're taking it out of your job. Toodles."


This large company has a sales conference (2 or 3 day boozeup at a hotel) where individuals chosen from successful divisions get to party. And a few lucky souls win a free trip to sunnier climes. Ellis was invited to the conference in October, rolled his eyes at and declined. Who wants to join a back patting session for a company one does not respect?

In November, he gets invited again. Declines. In December, he gets a letter saying that the meeting is a mandatory party (sort of You WILL take of the dip and chips!) so he talks to his manager and once again politely declines the invitation, suggesting that perhaps somebody else from his division would enjoy it more. His manager says he will take care of it all.

In January his manager explains that Ellis is not being taken off the guest list since he has actually won the aforementioned trip to sunnier climes, and refusing the trip is a career-limiting move (which to him is rather like being told You might get tossed out of the Leper colony, young man, if you don't keep up your quota...). This might be a good hill to die on. But unemployment is never a treat, even when faced with the fact that accepting the trip would be unsavory to his moral being. So...

...what to do? He's trying to devise a mutually face-saving gesture; asking the company to donate the cost of his trip to the Red Cross. No top brass can be too pissed off with that. Ellis can play the 'selfless' card, and he looks good. And some good karma enters the equation in toto, sowhat can go wrong?

What indeed. I've worked for money-to-throw-around companies and we're-watching-the-pennies companies and we're-watching-the-pennies-but-looking-like-we've-got-bags-of-money-weighing-us-down companies (an interesting paradigm), but nobody's ever offered me a trip I didn't want to take. What can he do? Grit his teeth and enjoy a vacation? Get fired over declining a few days in the sun? Or try being decent and risk a backfire? Questions. Answers?

1 comments:

poutineq said...

It must be nice to work for a company that can afford to spend money. But sometimes you need to do what you feel is morally right, even if others don't understand.

Is this worth getting fired, or even quitting over? Not to most people, but if "Ellis" feels that way, he needs to do what he thinks is right.

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