Morality of jobs and what am I supposed to DO for the rest of my days on this earth?

I graduate from university in Summer 2008, and am finding it morally taxing to think about what kind of a job would be pleasing to the Lord.

Most, if not all major/minor businesses are focused on profit maximisation and therefore (at least indirectly) serving the Devil , and as an employee it would be expected that one work towards the same goal (the nature of a capitalist society rewards those that increase shareholder value with higher pay etc…).

When the very basis of potential work environments is morally bankrupt, can one really work there with a clear conscience? Where are we, as Christians, supposed to go? Self - employment? Surely it is not a universal panacea?

It seems being a Catholic and having a job that pays enough to eat and sleep somewhere are awfully incompatible in this day and age.

If anyone has any suggestions, or advice, it’d be greatly appreciated.

In Jesus Christ,

The CCC offers wisdom regarding business - I’d suggest reading section
IV. ECONOMIC ACTIVITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s2c2a7.htm#2432

**2432 **Those responsible for business enterprises are responsible to society for the economic and ecological effects of their operations. They have an obligation to consider the good of persons and not only the increase of profits. Profits are necessary, however. They make possible the investments that ensure the future of a business and they guarantee employment.

Magic,
Why are you seeing this decision in black and white? Yes we all have to make a profit to survive… Making a profit is not evil… gouging others and cheating to make a bigger profit is sinful. Some of the wealthiest guys I know are good strong Catholics. It is what you do with your funds that makes a difference right? My boss donated and financed the money to build a Catholic HS in our area. He couldn’t have done this if he didn’t make alot of money could he? Or hire people based on their need instead of their ability in some cases… within reason of course. He doesn’t hire people for the headquarters that don’t know their stuff, but when he needs manual laborers… why not?

My advice… be ethical, don’t cheat anyone, treat people under you fairly… and above all, don’t be afraid to make some decisions based on your heart not your head… what I mean by this is… do what is right not what is cheapest.

What is important is to live your faith in your vocation. I am a Catholic salesman. Part of my job is maximizing profits for my company, and I do that while dealing with my customers and vendors in a fair and honest manner. I won’t do things contrary to my faith, so my choices of entertainment venues for clients is a little different than some salesman may choose.

BTW…there are of course vocations very pleasing to the Lord. Pray for discernment…maybe you are being called to a holy vocation. :slight_smile:

Um. I say, just get off your keester and go get a JOB! Make your mother happy.

Anything that is blatantly offensive to the Lord will be obvious. Making a profit is not offensive to the Lord.

Question: What is the definition of “profit”?

Answer: It is the difference between “income [or revenue]” and “outgo”.

If income or revenue ] is lower than outgo, you lose money [generate losses] and go out of business.

If income or revenue ] is higher than outgo, you make a profit and stay in business.

That’s it.

EVERY “non-profit” organization actually makes a profit. They have to. They just call it an “operating surplus”. If they fail to make a profit / fail to generate a surplus, they … go out of business … they fold.


We can get into semantic arguments and accounting arguments about what is a REASONABLE profit, but that’s for a different thread.

It is extremely difficult.

There are many jobs, such as working for a clothes shop, which on the face of it should be a perfectly unexceptional way of earning a living.

Not a bit of it. They want “a graduate with drive and passion for total quality of customer service”. They don’t really mean “passion”, of course, and if they saw the real thing they would run a mile. But they do mean a level of commitment that they are not morally entitled to demand. “Customer service” means “manipulating customers”, of course.

On the other hand if you take a low level job you will find that very distressing as well. The poisonous realtions, the boring hours, the endless reminders that you are someone of low status in the company. If in addition you are educated you won’t even find it easy to make friends with other workers. That’s a very dangerous solution.

What I say is that if you can get any two of money, good people, and interesting work, you are probably doing as well as is realistic. Obviously if you can have all three you are deeply blessed. Don’t worry about whether your work provides a socially useful purpose or not. If God is calling you to some special service, He will call in His own good time.

You are privileged to have gone to university; now take advantage of your education and get the most out of it as you can. If you are called to work in social services; or something that is less corporate; that is for you to decide. I think what you bring with you as far as what is morally correct is of course important. Follow your faith in all things. And the best of luck. Congrats!

There seems to be a hangup on profit.

What I said in my OP was that profit maximisation was immoral when it became the focus of the business.

I am aware of the necessity of some profit to remain in business.

Since, however, profit maximisation underpins the very economy in which we operate, it is difficult, if not impossible to find a business that operates in accordance to God, and not to money.

This is the essence of my problem. Profit maximisation is really a signal that all is not right within the firm.

Thank-you for this, but it doesn’t go so far as to recommend what we ‘non-business enterprise owners’ should do about seeking employment. Thank-you anyway though!

I understand all this, but (at the moment) it is not **me **running the show, and giving jobs.

I am the one searching, and all I see are job positions in immorality. My question is, what do other Catholics do? What are we supposed to do?

And what about when someone wants to buy ‘a product’, but you can see they can’t afford it, and it will put them in real financial trouble? Your job obligation is to take their money anyway, right? To maximise profits at the expense of others. In a closed economy, if person ‘A’ wins, then by definition person ‘B’ loses.

At the moment, this seems like the easy way out!!:cool:

Is life so simplistic?

Imagine for example, that I am drafted in to work in the I.T section of a department store. I am positioned to deal with all online (website) photographs and keeping stock up to date. Simple enough? Oh, yeah, one of the products is lingerie. What do you do? Refuse to put it up because it turns women into objects for men? Or tow the party line?

We are supposed to be of service to others. “The laborer is worthy of his hire” - Jesus said that.

To work is to be of service to others. It may be something as mundane as selling fried chicken or plastic siding for houses, or it may be as exalted as the work of Mother Teresa, but the bottom line is, to think of the customers, and be of service to them. Even Mother Teresa received a wage for her services - she gave most of it away, but she did get paid for what she did.

Every job has a customer, including jobs where you aren’t actually working in retail or food. To work is to be of service to the customer. Your customers are, first, the person who hired you, and next, the people who are hiring him.

There are very few businesses that are actually corrupt - such businesses don’t survive for very long. (Which reminds me - try to avoid working for start-ups, if you can possibly avoid it. Start out your working life in a stable, proven company, and learn the ropes the right way from the very beginning.)

If all you see are jobs of working “in immorality,” either you are looking in the wrong sort of newspapers, or you have a strange definition of “immorality.” It is not “immoral” to work as a desk clerk in a sales position, truck driver for a delivery company, or as a warehouse worker.

Indeed.

On the other hand if you take a low level job you will find that very distressing as well. The poisonous realtions, the boring hours, the endless reminders that you are someone of low status in the company. If in addition you are educated you won’t even find it easy to make friends with other workers. That’s a very dangerous solution.

What I say is that if you can get any two of money, good people, and interesting work, you are probably doing as well as is realistic. Obviously if you can have all three you are deeply blessed. Don’t worry about whether your work provides a socially useful purpose or not. If God is calling you to some special service, He will call in His own good time.

I am not worried about the social usefulness of any job, but the morality of the job in general.

For example, management in a hospital might seem like a morally neutral job, but, what if you become in charge, and try to ban all abortions, or the giving out of contraception? You’ll be out before you can say ‘pro-life’.

And yet all jobs in modern society involve, to a degree, an infringement of our beliefs and morals. The example of being in charge of a hospital is a clear cut example, but this exists everywhere.

You could that decision after you get the job. You are posing objections that will never exist for you if you never go to work.

I think you’re afraid of adulthood.

No. Not at all. That would be really bad for business, in the long run. Don’t work for anyone who requires you to behave like that, because they will be out of business (and you will be out of work) within a year.

Remember the golden rule of sales - if they say “No” you don’t talk them into it. (Give them two opportunities to say “Yes,” because the first “No” is usually just a knee-jerk reaction - if they say “No” the second time, when they’ve had a chance to think about it, then you don’t push them any further.) Rather, you move on to the next customer.

Remember, the relationship is more important than the sale. Build up good relationships, and sales will take care of themselves. :thumbsup:

This is indeed the position I started out from, but being a truck driver may involve being asked to go from A-B in 20 mins, when it is only possible by breaking the speed limit. What do you do? Not do it? Get fired.

Or what about the secretary who is told to lie to clients about the doctor being available for the rest of the day?

Or the sales assistant who is told not to mention any problems the cars he is selling suffer from. What does he do when a customer asks if there are any problems?

Yet these are simple jobs, it gets even more complicated when the jobs involved middle - senior management.

Imagine a general store manager. Sales are low so HQ sends in a plan. Raise the price of chocolate cookies, and then after two weeks, halve it so people think they are getting a bargain. Offer it as ‘half price - limited stock so hurry!!!’. This is a deliberate con, the price is only slightly lower than the real price, but people think they are getting a great deal. If you refuse to do it, you will be swiftly moved on.

Or the accountant, who is asked by a major client to report the $50,000 spent on senior managerial luxuries as a simple cost for stationery so that shareholders won’t know? What should he do?

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