Job safety and job ethics

I made a 2 year commitment to the first company that hired me out of college.  I said I would do that job and not quit.  I had a safe job.  I was over educated and working hard. “Safety first,” I thought.  I was happy to make that commitment.  A year into it I got a sweet job offer. A huge promotion into another company.  I was torn.  I couldn’t take the new job.  3 months later I was laid off by my old company.  I had made a commitment to my company, but they could not keep their commitment to me.

Ah, this is obviously some strange usage of the word ‘safe’ that I wasn’t previously aware of. —  Arthur Dent in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy”

Since then I have learned a few things about “Safety First” and job ethics.

“Safety” is important.  Just remember, you are only safe if your company is making money and you are a significant part of that money making machine.  By the way, all that safety goes out the door if someone buys your company.

Job ethics works just like a contract. A contract is of no effect unless both sides receive something of value.  You should live up to your commitments.  Absolutely.  But, if your company is not living up to their commitments, your side of the commitment disappears too.

Staying with the company was the right thing for me to do.  The company was sold a month before I was laid off, and 75% of the capacity of the whole industry was cut over the next month after the company was sold. They had to lay me off.

I learned to feel good about fulfilling my commitments.  I also learned to be careful about what I commit to.  I paid a steep price.  I learned, and have used what I learned for the rest of my life.  It was worth it.  I made a 3 year commitment to EDS a little later.  I fulfilled that commitment too.  That also was worth it.

Something to do today

What commitments have you made?  What are the commitments made back to you?

Write down both sides of the agreement.  Does it make sense when you look at it today?


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