Should My and My Company's Values Align?

By Marina Krivonossova on December 9, 2020

The current job market really isn’t the greatest for students and recent graduates. It was already hard enough to find a job before COVID-19, but the situation has become even more painful in recent times. It seems that now, you’re expected to feel grateful for every opportunity and job offer you receive. But what if you’re offered a position with a company whose morals and values don’t align with yours — what do you do then? It might feel silly to pass up on a lucrative offer that could help build your experience and put money in your pocket. However, it can be mentally taxing to work in a place that advocates against what you believe in. The following article is meant to provide some insights into reasons for and against working with a company whose values don’t align with yours. At the end of the day, the choice to accept or reject that offer is yours. But here’s 8 things to consider before you make that decision.

Reasons to Take That Offer

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1. Make money. When you’re a young adult who’s trying to find their place in the world, one of the most important things to consider is money. “Will I be able to pay my rent on time? Will I manage to put food on the table? Can I afford to get around the city? Can I manage to pay off my student loans in time?” These are just a few of the questions that I’m sure are clouding your mind when you realize that your expenses are your own personal responsibility. And when you get a job — even if it’s not with a company whose values don’t align with yours — you’ll be getting money out of the deal. Probably more than you’d make working in fast food and retail. So, if the money is looking good with that offer, you’ll probably be tempted to go for it.

2. Gain job experience. Imagine — you spent years of your life in college. You read those books, you studied for exams, you stressed every week. And after all that… you’re stuck working a minimum wage job that has nothing to do with your field of study. All because you wanted to preserve your integrity and avoid becoming a corporate sellout. Or, you can put your values to the side, and take advantage of this opportunity to gain valuable job experience in your field of interest. Sure, you might not agree with everything this company stands for. But won’t it look awesome on your resume when you apply for your next job and they see what reputable company employed you previously?

3. Build your network. Not everyone working with the company whose values don’t align with yours is a bad person, corporate sellout, or some other negative thing. A lot of those people are there to make money, build up their resumes a bit, and meet the right people who can refer them to future worthwhile opportunities. So, why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of that job offer to build your professional network? You could meet your next boss, your next colleague, or your next business partner. Even if you’re working in a company whose values don’t align with yours, you can still find worthwhile individuals with whom to network.

4. Learn skills for the future. Just because their values are different from yours, doesn’t mean they can’t teach you a thing or two about your professional field of interest. You could still come out of that job opportunity with new skills that you’d otherwise be missing out on. Values don’t have to align for learning opportunities to be present.

Reasons to Ditch That Offer

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1. Preserve your integrity. To some people, their integrity is incredibly important. It’s what makes them themselves. If you’re someone who feels that taking a job with a company whose values don’t align with yours will destroy your integrity, then you might want to reject that job offer. You don’t want to take a job for the monetary and professional benefits if it’ll destroy you in the process.

2. Minimize mental exhaustion. It can be mentally exhausting to give your time to a company whose values don’t align with yours. You may feel like you’re starting to lose parts of yourself, or you may feel like you’re wasting your time on a cause you don’t support. If you’re prone to being influenced by the type of work that you do, then rejecting that job offer might be something to consider.

3. Freedom to call a company out on their nonsense. When you reject the job offer of a company whose values you don’t agree with, you’re presented with the opportunity to explain why you came to that decision. Now’s your chance to explain what values they stand for, and why it makes the idea of working for them sound unappealing. Whether this will have an impact on the hiring manager or the company as a whole — you never know. You’d be surprised at what the words/actions of just one person can do.

4. Avoid working with people you may not get along with. While it’s certainly not guaranteed that every person working for a company whose values don’t align with yours will hold those same values, it’s certainly a possibility. If there are things you feel strongly about that the company advocates against, there’s a solid chance that many of your coworkers will hold that same stance. And because their company is there to back them up, you can bet they’ll be likely to share those perspectives. After all, why wouldn’t they say things in support of the company that employs them? If this is something that you feel may bother you, or if this is something you’d like to avoid dealing with on a regular basis, it might be time to reject that job offer and continue with your job search.

As you can see, there’s a fair amount of arguments both for and against taking a job with a company whose values don’t necessarily align with yours. Nobody can tell you what course of action will help you reap the most benefits — that’s something you have to decide for yourself. But after weighing out the pros and cons of each option, as well as after taking into consideration what factors are the most meaningful to you, you’ll be ready to decide whether you can work with an organization whose values you don’t support.

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