Ethics in business|Ethik am Arbeitsplatz


Today, I couldn’t help but ask myself what happened to ethics in the business world. Surely, we’re all facing difficult times with a global economic crisis and whatnot, but I was always under the impression that this doesn’t necessarily lead to a cutthroat world. While I’m aware of the fact that “speaking bad about your former employer” could result in me not getting hired by possible future employers, I also believe in honesty and integrity. As both of these values have been treated like shit, I have to speak up – even if it means that it could be taken against me. It’s just that I have to get this out of my system.

As most of you know, I’ve been hired by a Berlin based company a few months ago. I got along very well with most people there, especially with the head of the company that always struck me as a nice and honest person. During my first week in the company, he asked me if I would know someone who were able to work as a programer at the company. I told him that a good friend of mine would definitely be interested in this opportunity, however, he has been unemployed for quite a while. Nevertheless, he’s a top notch programer and he would certainly be up to the task.

One interview later, my good friend had the job. It seemed to good to be true; Heck, being able to work together with one of my best friends at a nice enough company felt like a dream come true.

My bubble burst 4 months later when I was made redundant. Despite the fact that I had been promised I would be kept even after the project I was assigned to ended for me, which didn’t happen in the end, I never complained. Further, I got told that I would receive a call once the contracts with some important new business partners were signed and get a new job then. As far as I know, these contracts were signed recently, you may guess if I ever received a call…

Still, I kept quiet. My friend finally had a job after years of unemployment, so even though I was treated like shit, this whole thing had some positive side effect…

Today, my friend was made redundant. Two weeks before the end of his probation period. Surely, if you only read the few lines I wrote just now and if you had no insight into the whole thing, you might come to the conclusion that this was “bound to happen”. However, no one saw that coming; at least not someone who had listened to my friend recently who could go on and on about the work he had already finished and what still needed to be done.

As it turns out, he was only needed to develop the necessary classes, documentation and some more stuff for an upcoming software project. The implementation, the “easy part”, can now be done by some intern or student or some other cheap employee. I can’t help but get mad. Certainly, budgets are always tight, but here we had a man who had done an excellent job. Who LIKED his job. Who got along very well with his co-workers and especially his boss. Who was paid a ridiculous amount considering his experience and qualification, but didn’t complain. Heck, he even moved for this job. And all he got out of it was some months of experience and some money (which doesn’t help if you recently moved).

Is this really what the business world turned into? Is there no place for ethics anymore and can only companies survive that treat their employees like shit? Can you share your experiences as I’m dying to know if we just got very unlucky or if these are the new rules that everyone needs to adapt to now?!

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  1. #1 by Peter Banck on January 8, 2010 - 17:28

    Has Been like that in Sweden for years.. at some firms at least.

  2. #2 by Matthias on January 8, 2010 - 11:27

    I remember when my wife had a job at a tax company and was kicked prior to the end of her probation time. And it wasn’t because she was not good enough, but because she was too good. She managed to reduce the overhead of workload, she managed to get everything back in deadlines, and she was also able to get along with everyone in the company. But effectifly she made herself redundant.

    But instead of getting rid of the worst employee and keeping a good one, she was fired because it was the easiest move for the company. Getting rid of someone during the probation time only costs you a wave and your done. Getting rid of someone else costs you a lawyer and time and money.

    That’s one of the worst aspects of our employment laws. It doesn’t help the best workers, but only thoose that have a job. The rest is screwed. 🙁

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