“I’m just doing my job.”
We’ve all said this at some point. Perhaps it was in your first retail job when someone got indignant because you insisted you had to check their i.d. Or maybe you were vegan but found yourself serving steaks at Outback to get yourself through college.
This weekend, I found myself reflecting upon a personal inner conflict from a couple of years ago involving a household name that’s suddenly back in the headlines.
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Image via NBC
On Friday, another member of Trump’s inner circle was arrested. This time, it’s someone I had a tenuous connection to. I was working on digital marketing for a new book by Roger Stone, so it was my job to spread his words as far and wide as I could online. I only sat in on a couple conference calls with Stone, so I didn’t have to work closely with him or his team, but I did spend a fair amount of time trying to make sure his book sold well.
Image by Charles Stile via northjersey.com
I didn’t read it—not most of it, anyway—but what I did read left me feeling thoroughly conflicted. I was accustomed to promoting books whose views I didn’t agree with, and in fact, there are plenty of other books I happily promoted knowing that, although I didn’t agree with them, their points of view were valid and rational.
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I valued our company’s stance on that matter, that views from all sides should be promoted, considered, and made available to the public. But me, I think it’s important that those points of view be supported by facts and reason. Words matter.
Views from all sides should be promoted, considered, and made available to the public.
“I’m just doing my job,” I told myself. And I did it the best I could. I knew I wasn’t working for a newspaper. It isn’t a book publisher’s responsibility to fact-check, but it’s an individual’s responsibility to maintain personal integrity.
I’m proud of the company I worked for, the colleagues I got to learn from, and the hard and smart work that I did there. But I think that this experience has made me more discerning in my career moves, not because that company isn’t excellent, but because I’d like to situate myself where I can do hard work without that brand of inner conflict, however occasional it may have been.