Henry David Thoreau once said: “A man had better starve at once than lose his innocence in the process of getting his bread.”
Just doing a job cannot justify doing something unethical, immoral, or dishonest. The guards in the German concentration camps, after becoming friends with the prisoners, would often justify walking them to the gas chambers with, “I’m just doing my job.”
Unfortunately, I still see people who are selling cars they know are defective, products they can’t deliver, Florida resort land that is nothing but swamp, dental work that isn’t really needed, financial figures that are not quite accurate, and “business opportunities” that don’t really work. What is it that you can justify doing just because it’s part of your job? Just because you have the ability to do something well is not enough reason to continue doing it – if it violates your values and common sense.
If your work doesn’t blend your abilities, your personality traits, and your values, you’re setting yourself up for deceit in other areas of your life. And for the invasion of ulcers, migraines, and other physical evidences of a less than authentic life. In the movie Cool Hand Luke, a guard says, “I’m just doing my job. You gotta appreciate that.” And Paul Newman responds: “Nah, Calling it your job don’t make it right, boss.” I agree.
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Don’t justify doing something you don’t believe in just because it’s part of your job now. Be the same person at work you would want to be at home or at your church. Don’t lose your innocence in the process of getting bread.
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