How Did You Feel When You Were Instructed To Do Things You Didn't Agree With?

Discussion in 'Jobs I Have Had' started by Ken Anderson, Jun 25, 2023.

  1. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    At some point in the working lives of most of us, we were probably asked to do something that we didn't agree with. This may have been something that you had a moral or ethical objection to, but it might simply have been something that you didn't think was a good idea. How did that make you feel? Give examples, if you're inclined to do so.
     
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  2. Hedi Mitchell

    Hedi Mitchell Veteran Member
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    Selling the morning after pill to teenagers. I did so but managed to throw in my 2 cents worth when same young male came in less than two months to buy again. I explained to him, this is not birth control.
     
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  3. Teresa Levitt

    Teresa Levitt Veteran Member
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    when starting new job with post office. they'd have mail that was not delivered during a carrier's route...they'd have new people take out..after 5 pm...winter..dark thirty!
    bad neighborhoods in the city!
    dark..going up on people's porches..or sliding in door slot...could get you killed!
     
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  4. Thomas Windom

    Thomas Windom Very Well-Known Member
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    I only have one instance I clearly remember and I told him (my boss at the time) OK but then went ahead and did what I knew was right anyway.
     
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  5. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    I had a boss tell me to sit on someone's Purchase Requisition because that department had not been going around us and not following the rules. The Requisition was for items crucial to getting a customer's project completed on time, so I processed the order anyway. My boss was infuriated, calling me a traitor and a backstabber and all sorts of names. He was a piece of work, replaced by someone who was even worse.

    I worked in an environment where there was a lot of turnover at top levels of senior management, and they we all in it for themselves, lining their own pockets with vendor kickbacks. It got so bad that my vice president quit without having another job, the director (my boss) quit without having another job, and there I was without a shield from the corruption. (I gotta chuckle at the blunt conversations I had with some of those people. If I was gonna be without a job, I was going down telling the truth.) Many times I'd demand an email directing me to do some things so that neither I nor my staff would be left holding the bag...I did not always get the documentation I wanted. It's discouraging to do the right thing, and have those above you corrupt the business and smear you in the process. It' even worse having to tell your ethical staff to engage in corrupted activities. I covered their butts, even when it exposed me. What a nightmare.

    It seems that everywhere we look, either power corrupts, or only the corrupted achieve positions of power. This stuff is the main reason I never endeavoured to move above positions of middle management (or go into politics.) Your daily life in the higher echelons consists of little more that interacting with those who are enriching themselves and jockeying for position, "best interests of the shareholders" (or of the citizens) be damned. I understand that no organization can function if every employee demands to set their own personal standards, but there are minimum universal ethical standards that "should" apply to everyone.
     
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  6. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Veteran Member
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    Can't remember it ever happening. At least not about anything important.

    The only boss I ever had who would do unethical things, learned early on not to try and get me involved. Her M.O. was to call employees into her office individually and try to smear other employees behind their backs. The goal was to divide everyone into two groups: "for me" or "against me."

    The purpose of the "for me" group was to support her when she made a decision that turned out badly. The purpose of the "against me" group was to blame for the failures. Typical narcissist behavior.

    I'm not sure how far the "for me" group was asked to go, because I wasn't a member. She would get even at raise time. ;)
     
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  7. Thomas Stillhere

    Thomas Stillhere Very Well-Known Member
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    I never did anything I really didn't want to do. Working was a necessity but not an absolute requirement to work for someone or place you couldn't stand. Never had an issue getting a job because jobs were available and hard to find people qualified to do certain jobs. One of the worse jobs I ever had was working for zapata oil and gas in Houston. The company was one of many owned by George Bush but it was a terrible job and place to work. They were still using some old ditch diggers that had the retractable booms that required a crane and a fool to work on them. Hard to follow my timeline but I think I left there and found a job at an oil field equipment company way out on the north side of Houston. It turned out to be a terrible job also and I started working with a friend I was trail riding with, he was framing houses and doing cornice and other things and I really liked that for a while. Learned a lot and to this day I could build my own house without paying for someone to do the work other than the inspections and cement work. Yep that would be a stretch for me today at 75. Got up this morning my left knee was bad I had shooting pain all the way to my chest every time I sat my foot down walking to the kitchen to make coffee. I had a short talk with myself and laughed it off.
     
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  8. Cody Fousnaugh

    Cody Fousnaugh Supreme Member
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    First, Ken is this sort of like being hired for a certain position/job and then being told to do something entirely different?

    Back in the early 90's, I was hired to do Shipping & Receiving for an engineering/electronics manufacturer. With the paper ad, nothing was stated about doing pick-up/delivery work with my own vehicle and paying for the gas I used. The Shop Manager and his Assistant's vehicles were nearly new whereas my Datsun King Cab was definitely older. My water pump went out and it cost me $400+ to replace it. I talked to the Engineering Manager, who was in charge of both Shop Manager and his Assistant, and told him that I could no longer do pick-up/deliveries in my vehicle. I also told him that that duty was not listed as part of my job.

    Well, after that talk, the Assistant Shop Manager started doing that job.
     
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    Last edited: Jun 25, 2023
  9. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Supreme Member
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    I don't remember any specific incident of being asked to do something immoral or unethical, but I was instructed many times to do things I didn't want to do, or in a way that I didn't agree with. I'd usually grumble to coworkers but do as I was told. It usually just made me feel irritated but resigned to the task since they were paying me to do the job.
     
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  10. Faye Fox

    Faye Fox Veteran Member
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    On non union jobs, I did what I was paid to do as long as it didn't violate safety rules or state laws. If I didn't agree with it for personal reasons and/or it violated my beliefs, then I quit on the spot. Johnny Paycheck was my favorite guy to quote. :D

    On union jobs I filed a grievance. I never won one single grievance even though the companies demands were in violation of the contract. It was always a gray area and it slipped through the cracks. They always made some token gesture like taking me out to dinner and repeating the old horseshit about having strength to accept the things I couldn't change, no doubt what these bosses learned in substance abuse treatment. That is the reason I now say contracts and laws are only as good as the lawyers you can afford to fight against favoritism and corruption.
     
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  11. Ed Wilson

    Ed Wilson Veteran Member
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    I don't remember any job where I didn't do things according to the book. What comes closest is, hurrying to get equipment out the door that was promised by an unreasonable schedule, and this was equipment for the nuclear Navy. The space shuttle Challenger disaster was the result of such pressure to launch.
     
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  12. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    You should have had me as your shop steward. Perhaps because I enjoyed fighting them, I won grievances that I wouldn't have even ruled in my favor.
     
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  13. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    When I first started in EMS, the protocol for EMS companies was to go through the motions of doing CPR on people who were clearly dead and unresuscitable. Unless rigor mortis had taken place, the head was separated from the body, or there was obvious decomposition, we were supposed to work the call as if the patient had a chance. It was cruel to give unreasonable hope to families, who had sometimes resigned themselves to the fact that their loved one was dead, as well as a complete waste of our resources, and we'd get yelled at for bringing a corpse into the emergency department. The legal theory of the time was that paramedics were not doctors, therefore we could not diagnose death. We got around that sometimes because one of our paramedics was the elected justice of the peace, and JPs were empowered with declaring death, despite the fact that no medical training whatsoever was required of JP. Fortunately, they changed the protocols sometime in the 1990s, allowing paramedics to determine whether a patient was viable or not. Of course, we would still err on the side of resuscitation, or if the family insisted.

    Other than that, I don't think I was ever encouraged by an employer to do anything morally objectionable. Although I was sometimes aware of unethical things being done, as long as they didn't involve me or do harm to someone, it wasn't any of my business.

    Because I hated taking orders from people who were dumber than I was, I often resented some of the stupid things that supervisors would tell me to do, and if there was ever a way to circumvent these, I would do so. For example, after a union was voted in at a company where I was employed as a drill press operator, I was told that I could no longer change broken drill bits. Sometimes, I would have to wait ten minutes for the bit-changer (or whatever his title was) to come around. So, when no one was looking, I'd change the bit myself.

    While working at a paper bag manufacturing company, a new plant manager instituted a policy where machine adjusters were required to complete reports on every task that we did throughout the shift, including the time started and the time ended, and the time taken. Mine looked something like this:

    11:27-11:32 (5 minutes): Changing a tucker blade.
    11:33-11:35 (2 minutes): Filling out this stupid report.
    11:55-11:56 (1 minute): Lining up a roll for #5.
    11:57-11:59 (2 minutes): Retrieving my report form from the office.
    12:00-12:01 (1 minute): Filling out this stupid report.

    That policy didn't last long.
     
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  14. Cody Fousnaugh

    Cody Fousnaugh Supreme Member
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    Another thing to add to my #8 post, working for that engineering/electronics manufacturer: While I was still on my 90-Day Probation Period, the Shop Manager and I got into it over something. He said to me, "Just remember, Cody, you are still on your 90-Day Probation Period." I looked at him and said, "Bo, you and this company are as well. You can let me go as well as I can quit!". He backed off and later apologized.
     
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  15. Faye Fox

    Faye Fox Veteran Member
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    I was the shop steward hahaha! I was fighting the company and the union that was in bed with them politically. It was usually over the company trying to force us into signing letters to congressman to let them know as drivers we supported whatever the company and union decided was best for us (more correctly them) or shaming us when we didn't donate to United Way and showing special treatment to those that did donate.

    The lesser things never required a grievance filing. Usually, it just took one of the guys telling the boss that I was headed for his office and I wasn't happy. He knew if he didn't reach some kind of agreement, that I would go over his head. I honed my drama skills long before SOC hahaha! :D:D:D
     
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