Less than a year ago, I moved from a job at a nonprofit whose mission I was deeply passionate about to a higher position at a nonprofit in a different industry. I was previously very underpaid and almost doubled my salary in this new position. However, because this role is outside of my field of expertise, my job satisfaction is not as high as it was at my previous job.
My concern is that my salary is 20 to 30 percent higher than comparable jobs in similar organizations. Although my employers hired me based on my years of experience, it’s now clear to me that the job doesn’t really require my level of experience. This nonprofit could easily pay a significantly less experienced person a lot less money to do exactly what I do.
This brings me to the part where I’m guilty: I don’t need to work 40 hour weeks to do my job well, and I don’t. I meet all deadlines, attend all meetings, hit all goals, but also take long breaks and leave early. In previous jobs, my passion for the field made me take on extra tasks and work overtime. But since I don’t feel the same way about this job, I don’t go any further.
Am I doing the wrong thing by using additional resources in a job that I’m not willing to go above and beyond? Should I tell them that they created an incorrectly escalated position? I’ve been applying to other jobs, but it’s a competitive field; It can take a while to start something new, and I can’t afford not to have an income. — Name withheld
From the ethical:
It’s a decent boost to think about whether you’re giving your employers the best value for money. But let’s put your questions into perspective.
First, your work appears to make a significant contribution to the work of a worthwhile organization. You’re not marketing Marlboros; Your organization has a mission that, while not close to your heart, represents a social good.
Second, you are doing your job well. It doesn’t take you 40 hours a week to do it, but that must be true for a lot of people. He also doesn’t seem to be misrepresenting how he spends his time with management.
Third, the salaries of the occupations are distributed around an average, and it is common for those with more experience to be paid more. If we were to replace people simply because their salaries were higher than average, those annual raises that organizations routinely dole out would automatically result in the longest-serving employees being laid off. (In which case, employees would respond in kind, jumping ship whenever a more lucrative offer came along.) Because of the way we pay people, fair income is fair income over time; the correct comparison is not simply with people at work, but with people in their professional stage. And of course, in nonprofits like everywhere else, salary programs are designed to attract and retain people with the relevant skills.
The real problem is that you’re not as excited about this job as you were about the last one. So a big question is whether you could reconfigure your job to be more rewarding, both for yourself and the organization. You think your employers would be better off hiring someone else to do what you are doing for less money. That is true only if you take the job mandate as fixed. One way to contribute to an organization is to shape your work around your talents. Good managers know this.
The question in the previous column was from a reader who, as a teenager, had a summer fling with a woman who would become a famous singer. This happened before his marriage, and for decades he never told his wife about it. He wrote: “I am in the habit of playing this artist’s music, partly because of the personal connection and the memories he evokes. Not long ago, my wife commented that I’m a ‘big fan’. I smiled, nodded, and changed the subject. My fear is that sharing this connection with my wife would jeopardize my continued enjoyment of this artist’s work. No jealousy I’m sure, just mild banter that I could do without. An ethical omission?
In its response, Ethicist noted, “So, for decades of married life, you never mentioned your summer with…well, readers can fill in their favorite from the category of famous pop singers who emerged in the mid-1980s. This is amazing. . And yet, the link does not have the kind of inherent meaning that would make its disclosure mandatory. Each couple develops a cultural microclimate: their own set of expectations, conventions, values. Whether not mentioning this relationship is ethically concerning depends on the norms of your microclimate.” (Reread the full question and answer here.)
recognizing the “microclimate” of individual relationships is perfect. I was also involved with someone who later achieved great visibility. Because of my field, I could simply share with my spouse: “I worked with her years ago. In fact, we dated for a summer. A good person!” For us, it has never been a problem. What came before we met is considered just that. — Steve
there is little to gain by revealing this matter from a long time ago, and much to lose. Although the writer is sure that his wife will have fun and not be upset, he cannot know for sure. By revealing the affair decades after the fact, he risks making her very upset. And for what purpose? — Stan
Both the ethical and the author of the letter seems to have overlooked a possible outcome. Perhaps the wife would not be jealous or make fun of him, but she could sense that for the past three decades, her husband has been thinking of another woman every time he plays this artist’s music, even in his presence. Don’t you think it could be very painful? — raili
Someone else Do you know about your adventure? If I were your wife, my first reaction would be: How the hell has this never come up before? Tell him if you’re really sure he’ll have fun, but make sure you get a point of view on whether he can share the story with someone else in your circle. — Daisy flower
In a moment of open communication, the letter writer should tell his wife that for years he never revealed to her that he had an affair as a teenager with someone who is now famous. Make it a guessing game for as long as it takes (a few days?), and when the singer is revealed, hopefully the wife will say, “Aha! That’s why you played so much of his music! — beto