What are your thoughts about working for an "ethical" company/industry?

I was thinking to myself about what industries I would not want to work in because of what they’re engaged in. Here’s a few I came up with:

  • Arms, munitions, WMD production.
  • Cigarrette manufacturing (and anything to do with it).
  • Health insurance (your claim has been DENIED!)
  • Any company with a bad environmental record.

basically any industry that profits from the pain and suffering of human beings.

I may be a bit of a hypocrite because I do work for an insurance company (the IT dept). Their main business core is Home/Auto/Commercial. They also offer high end Health Insurance plans so they rarely deny anything.

I’m also single with no kids. If I was out of a job with three hungry mouths to feed, I reckon my tune would change.


It really depends (IMHO) on the level you are holding them to.

For instance: I worked for a large Home Mtg company, and my job was in finance, to help the divisions, regions, areas and branches maintain high profitability. One of the ways they did this was by using certain “code words” on the HUD Good Faith Estimate, which would mean they wouldn’t have to refund overages to the suckers who were getting the loan.

Then when I got sick of screwing mortgage customers, I worked for a real estate developer in finance, and I got to learn about how often real estate developers get subsidies from the local city in order to build something. This was done because otherwise we could not “bridge the financing gap” and heaven forbid you actually reduce your profit at all.

Now I work for a scientific company, and I found out about how terribly they treat the people in the labs, with long hours and pitiful pay.

If you have standards, as I do, that says “these practices suck” then you end up changing jobs a lot. Then again, I am in finance, so an aspect of my job will always be improving profitability, and it just gets ugly. But as IT, you (obviously not you personally) are necessarily supporting what I do.

If its just that you are against the outright stuff like you mentioned, then you can pick and choose fairly carefully. But it seems like every job I go to, I see someone getting royally screwed. I gotta get out of finance.

Indeed, it depends how wide you’re willing to cast the net. I would not want for Walmart because of the way they treat their employees or because they import so much cheap Chinese crap (people getting paid 4 bucks a day). For that matter I may not want to work for anyone profiting from sweatshop labor.

If you work for an insurance company, you ain’t gonna have the moral high ground over anybody.

That said, touchy-feely do goodnik warm fuzzies are nice, but you can’t pay a mortgage with them. It’s a tough world, and you have to do what’s best for you, short and long term. As a middle aged guy with an eye towards retirement if I can ever afford it, right now I’m open to job offers from Satan, PETA, the Democratic Party, or anybody else that pays better than my present gig.