March 29, 2011

Doing unethical jobs, ethically!

In this entry, I want to share my view about a CSR mindset. What initiated this thought in me was the situation about a job offer to one of Paul's students a while ago that Paul shared with our class. First of all, thank Paul for your sharing!

I want to start by another family story.

My mom is a teacher in high school. In Vietnam, where the majority of highschools are run by government, at the end of every academic year, there are accessment and rewards for teachers and schools with high graduation rates. However, for entrance recruitment, there have always been classifying process for students's marks from top to lower ranking schools. Students whose marks are not high enough fall into what is claimed schools of type B and top schools are type A.

I have no ideas how teachers are ranked as well as allocated, probably due to their graduation marks as well. The teaching rewards and high titles, not much suprising, normally go to high ranking schools with workaholic students who during their highschool time have won academic competitions and stuck with tight timetables for most of the time with no other interests except for studying and the competing attitude could make students not good friends (I went through it so I know how it was ...). My mom always see it's such an unfair rewarding system although she is working in a type-A school. To her teaching experience, she found it a lot harder to teach non-hard-working students, who might be not as quick or as bright as others or not enthisiastic in studying. When a teacher comes to a class with noisy and unprepared students, teaching might not be as an enjoyable job as when they chose it. Being patient and being strict, raising their voices quite often when neccessary, facing bad-behaved students sometimes ..., type-B school teachers are those should be rewarded the most. With type-A school students, a teacher play a role mostly as a facilitator. However, for type-B school teachers, they have to play their roles as motivators, directors, facilitators, advisors ... it is a lot more than knowledge in the subjects they teach. At the end, hard-working students graduate with higher rates anyway and it is a lot of efforts required to improve type-B school records. The system just tends to make a bigger and bigger gap between quality of two types of schools.

However, teaching in a type-B school doesn't mean a teacher is not good, there are just different sets of skills to improve different types of students (to facilitate, to direct, moticate ...). It is them who decide their attitudes toward the jobs. The way others look at one job doesn't mean the one who does it would make it that way! No religions tell their followers to kill people but why some do it? Some one play a role as a follower, does it mean he/she would contribute less than the leader? For me, it is the mindset that one choose driving his/her in the jobs, the job titles might not tell everything.

Coming back to Paul's sharing, working in an industry which is seen as unethical by others, doesn't mean all people there are unethical. It is down to how robust a person's ethical mindset can be, which is important in all jobs, all industries, I think. Is it sure that people with commonly ethical job titles such as doctors or medicians are always ethical?

Moreover, for people with an ethical mindset, I think, they might need to take into account different factors more than their expertise to do jobs which are harmful to others rather than those that help. It is just another set of skills that an ethical-mindset person needs to do a claimed unethical job ethically.

In the end, in my opinion, it is the mindset that matter to one's intergrity, not the job title!



- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. Hi Anh,

    Great entry. My opinion on where you work is what you want out of life. Is money a motivator, or is recognition or there can be a billion such combinations and it will be hard to state all! But why does Greame “teach” he is a trained BlackBelt? or why does Paul teach? He could be doing anything he wants ….. or why am I studying whereas I already had a job? It is us who decide what is ethical and what is unethical depending on our perceptions/values/culture. So for someone working for a tobacco company and still being ethically right would be ok and maybe working at a tobacco company I would consider it as NOT being ethical. It depends on how we see things and what we set as our acceptable limits. But at times we have to compromise on what we believe in, I hated the targets in my job but to have one I had to meet them. So I set my ethical limits on a different criteria for as long as I got a different job, which was the case with the student in Paul’s story.

    But as you have pointed out there are somethings which are a NO NO under any circumstances….. like for instance a person starts working with terrorists and says I have STRONG morals and I am ethically a right person so its ok that even if I work for them!! Sorry for the example just wanted to make a point here ;) just my thoughts ….. :)

    29 Mar 2011, 21:08


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