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Joe Szynkowski: The 7th principle: Turn down opportunities misaligned with your moral compass
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Joe Szynkowski: The 7th principle: Turn down opportunities misaligned with your moral compass

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A couple months ago, we introduced the first of seven main principles of our Work Happy Manifesto, a philosophy we created to inspire and equip workers everywhere to better enjoy their professional lives.

This week marks the end of our series!

In case you missed it, here’s the full list.

Joe Szynkowski: The 6th principle: Go out of your way to mentor and mobilize others

• No. 1: I work happy because I deserve to.

• No. 2: My career does not define me; I define my career.

• No. 3: My networking strategy starts with face-to-face, not email-to-email.

• No. 4: My goals are aggressive, and my work ethic is relentless.

• No. 5: I surround myself with positive people who have pure motives.

• No. 6: I go out of my way to mentor, coach, motivate, grow, advance, mobilize, challenge and inspire others.

• No. 7: I turn down opportunities from companies misaligned with my moral compass.

So, without further ado, let’s jump right in.

No. 7: I turn down opportunities from companies misaligned with my moral compass.

In the fictitious fantasy world of equal opportunity and work happiness, every boss and employee complete their tasks with total integrity. Rules are followed. Data is uncorrupted. Intentions are pure.

And then you have corporate America.

Joe Szynkowski: The 5th principle: I surround myself with positive people who have pure motives

According to a recent study by the Opinion Research Corporation, 25% of professionals said that in the past six months they have witnessed a colleague acting unethically (18%), illegally (7%) or in a harassing or discriminatory manner (14%).

Meanwhile, professionals are hungry for job opportunities with above-the-board companies. Ninety-four percent of surveyed workers say it is “critical” or “important” that the business they work for is ethical. Eighty-two percent say they would prefer to be paid less but work for a company with ethical business practices than receive higher pay at a company with questionable ethics.

Stand up or stick it out?

When your company puts you in a situation that compromises your ethics, you may feel conflicted. Should you stand up for what you believe is right or acquiesce for the sake of your paycheck?

For anyone who has been in this situation, you know there is no easy answer. We’d all love to believe we would jump atop our soapbox and wax poetic about the unwavering status of our moral compass in the face of unethical business practices.

But the paycheck!

For professionals without a safety net of savings or ample career opportunities, deciding whether or not to bend their ethics for monetary stability can be a real challenge.

Challenge your boss

The tension between reporting and allowing shady behavior in the workplace is fraught with complications but the most valuable employees are ones who will speak up.

LRN Corporation published a report this year titled, “Confronting the Root Causes of Misconduct,” that found only 46 percent of surveyed employees say their leaders support effective sanctions or penalties on senior executives and high performers who are involved in misconduct. And that only 44 percent of leadership teams seek employee feedback on ethical culture via surveys, focus groups, or diagnostics focused on trust, respect and transparency.

When you are fighting against this preconceived notion of ethically lax leadership, you may find it difficult to raise your voice. But finding the courage to do so is not impossible, rather dependent on your understanding of the situation and confidence in your job status.

Find morally aligned companies

While some of the aforementioned statistics are more gloom than glee, it’s not hard to find many ethical companies, especially right here in Southern Illinois. Job-seekers should always research their prospective new employer’s business reputation before accepting a new role.

Joe Szynkowski: The 4th principle: My goals are aggressive, and my work ethic is relentless

Here’s how:

Check the BBB: The Better Business Bureau is focused on fostering an ethical marketplace where businesses, employees and customers trust each other. Visit to find a BBB Accredited Business or see a business’ BBB rating. To find what you are looking for, you can enter the type of business, business or charity name, keywords, phone number, website address, or email address in the search bar of the BBB’s home page.

Search Glassdoor: Visiting is a must-do for job-seekers. The organization is one of the world’s largest job and recruiting sites, and is dedicated on increasing workplace transparency. Use their site to find millions of the latest job listings, combined with a growing database of company reviews, CEO approval ratings, salary reports, interview reviews and questions, benefits reviews, office photos and more.

Ask around: Especially in a smaller job market like Southern Illinois (relative to major metros across the United States), you likely know someone who is connected to your target company. Ask your friends and family for any such connections. Poke around on social media to find out more about the business’ background and what current and past employees are saying about the organization.

You deserve to work at a company where workers are free to speak up, report misconduct and contribute ideas.

Hold out for these opportunities. They exist.

Joe Szynkowski is a Sr. Director for NuVinAir Global, a Dallas-based company disrupting the automotive industry. Thanks to technology, he does so happily from his home east of Marion. Email for more guidance on work happiness.


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