Discerning Employment


Hello all, this doesn’t necessarily fit in the family life forum, but I wasn’t sure where else to put it.

I am a recent college grad searching for employment. Last week I had a very promising interview with a large company (top 5 of the fortune 500), and they want to fly me to their corporate headquarters for a second interview. The problem is, this company is NOT a good corporate citizen. In the past they have been responsible for terrible environmental tragedies. Additionally, this summer I completed an internship with their largest competitor. During this time I heard stories of additional unethical practices and unsafe workplace conditions.

Here is the problem, do I accept a job with this company out of desperation due to the current economic climate? I mean, I have 25k in student loans to pay off! Also, my degree is in occupational health and safety, so I could make a small difference…

This is just such a terrible time to graduate, there aren’t many jobs available right now.

Thanks for some friendly advice.


That’s a tough one. Personally, I’d still go, if it’s your only option. Even though the company as a whole may engage in unethical practices, you don’t have to partake in it. I know it’s easier said than done, but you’ll be in a better position to judge once you’re there. If you don’t like it, you can always go work for another company, when the economy improves. Anyway, just my $0.02.


Do you feel I would be “selling my soul” in a way if I accepted this job over one that pays less/ does not pay for continuing education/ has less opportunity? I’m talking nearly double the salary of a smaller company.


When you go to the interview, remember that you are interviewing them to see they meet your expectations. Stories on the company grapevine may not be accurate. Research and check out their safety record. Ask question about their history during the interview. Keep all options open during these times… Best of luck on the job hunt.


Take the job.

I would be extremely wary of stories of bad corporate citizenship. Some of this could be liberal spin, or media spin, and then workers from other companies get hold of it and vamp it up.

Once you are actually part of the company, you may see an entirely different company that does much good in the world.

OR…you may decide that all the naysayers were right and that you must leave for the sake of your soul.

But at any rate, give the company a fair chance before dissing it. Don’t listen to gossip.

And remember–the “environment” is a really mushy issue that politicians toss around like a football. E.g., some things that seem very environmentally sound are actually contributing to pollution or some other bad ecological event, and vice versa. So until you have looked at it from ALL the different angles, you really can’t make an intelligent judgement.


Thanks for the advice everyone. I would just hate to feel like I “sold out” for money. Unfortunately, college grads can’t be too picky right now.


You have not been offered a job yet, so don’t put the cart before the horse. Especially don’t take the comments of the competitors as gospel truth.

Go on the interview, ask questions about your working conditions, corporate policies, or any publicly known events (ie, what company practices changed after the oil spill of '08?), but don’t bring up rumors or stories you heard in office gossip at the other company.

All your worrying may be moot if you don’t get the job. If they do offer it, you’ll have more information to make your decision with. Also pray, pray, pray.


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