That’s what fabled career blogger Penelope Trunk seems to be saying. Read her story here.
Essentially, Penelope Trunk argues, Sarah Palin plays by the new rules. When you’re done, just leave. Don’t complain that you can’t do what you want. Just do it.
As commentators point out, this reasoning seems a little off. Sarah Palin was elected to an office. She chose to accept this commitment. It’s a moral contract.
I believe (and have always said) that you owe your employer just what your employer owes you. Can you be fired with two weeks notice? Does your Employee Handbook or contract call for two weeks notice? Then when you are ready, quit with two weeks notice. Don’t offer more. Don’t worry about those poor folks back at the office who work overtime because you are gone.
Sometimes you will encounter ethical dilemmas. Here’s a true story.
Mortimer was hired to work at University of Offbeat, somewhere in the Southeast. Mortimer knew he was earning well below the market for his position. About four weeks into the term, Mortimer got an offer for a new job at market rate – an increase of several thousand dollars. Mortimer offered Offbeat a chance to match the offer. Offbeat declined. Mortimer left.
Was this behavior unethical? Many would say so. But here’s the flip side.
What if Mortimer said no, out of loyalty to Offbeat? Mortimer’s career would have taken a huge step back. Not only would he lose the thousands of dollars, he might not have gotten an offer in future at the same level. Job openings in his field are tight. Additionally, by hanging around at Offbeat, Mortimer would brand himself as “low end” of the market.
Offbeat recovered. But let’s look at their ethics. Offbeat asked Sam, a full-time untenured professor on a yearly contract, to cover Mortimer’s courses. Sam wanted to be a good citizen. Offbeat offered him a few thousand dollars a course. They saved thousands of dollars by losing Mortimer and taking advantage of Sam.
Sam worked his tail off. At the end of the school year, was he rewarded? No way. The university fired him because he hadn’t done enough research. He was too busy teaching.
Are we required to be ethical in unethical places? Does self-interest trump commitment?
You decide. Comment below by clicking on “comments.”