Russell (zimzat) wrote,

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"Just doing my job" is no better excuse than "Just doing what I was told"

There is one point in my last post that I want to touch on further.

When a superior gives you an order that you know is wrong you can still be held personally liable for that action. This is known as the superior orders or lawful orders plea. It was made most famous in the trials after World War II when Nazi officers used it to shield themselves from the things they had done or had also ordered others to do.

I would like to extend this by proposing that we should follow this principle in our every day jobs. To use the defense "I don't agree either, I'm just doing my job" is no better now than it was then. We, as individuals, don't realize the buying power we have simply by voting with our feet. If you disagree with a fundamental aspect of your current employment, such as being required to take candy from babies, then find another job. Don't dally, don't put it off, do it now and put as much effort behind it as you can.

When everyone refuses to work or patronize at a place they disagree with then they will either shutdown or adapt. They'll pay more, have safer work environments, offer more vacation time, change management, sell better product, treat customers better, etc. This is only untrue in situations where the business is given a guarantee of attentive audience, such as a monopoly where they're the only ones who can offer a critical item or the government where everyone is forced to do what they say. It shouldn't take a union or government to make it happen.

If, on the other hand, you choose to work or patronize a business, then you accept responsibility for your actions. You accept any feedback, both positive and negative, that you, both personally and as a group, garner. You have decided your course and will see it through, regardless of the consequences it may create or because of the positive impact it will result in. You may at any time change your mind and your path, but you will still be judged for what you have done.
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