Working for money or respecting your values?

Working for money or respecting your values?



As a freelancer or entrepreneur, there will come a time in your life when you will have to decide between receiving good money and standing for your values. One day, a client will knock on your door and request something that will make you twitch. But that client will also come with a promise of money and/or more work. What will you decide? Will you take the cash or will you decline and respect yourself?


Think carefully before taking a decision

It’s no secret we live in a Capitalist society, especially if like most of our usual readers you come from North America or Europe. We need money to pay our rent, food, bills and services. I’m not teaching you anything by reminding you all the other nice things money can buy. So spitting on a nice check or the promise of one is easier said than done.

Before deciding whether you’ll take a contract that makes you feel uncomfortable or not, ask yourself what is truly important to you. Are there causes or ideas that you support? How far will you go to support them? How will you feel if you knowingly act against them?

Similarly, take a look at your financial situation and decide if you can afford to decline the offer. If you are about to be kicked out of your apartment, this gray area might just be what you need to keep yourself afloat. Or it might also be a temptation that you will dearly regret later.

It all boils down to this though: What is more important to you; your values or the money?


Don’t fool yourself

If you agree to take on the offer, no matter of what nature it is (pornography, oil, fur industry, political party, religious ad, meat industry, etc.), you WILL be actively contributing to the industry you are paid to work for. Don’t fool yourself into believing that you are not doing anything wrong; as a salaried freelancer or entrepreneur, you might as well be part of the company that hires you and it would be the same. That said, you have to make sure you are okay with that before taking on the offer. Would you work for the company that is offering you money? If you are leaning towards no, don’t take the job. You will regret taking part of it later.


My personal experience

I got the idea for this article from a client who contacted me to improve the look of a newsletter she was about to send off to her VIP members. I agreed without knowing what the work was about (my mistake, really). When I received the file, I realized it was a fur coat sale, something I’m totally against, being pescetarian and an animal lover in general. In the end though I decided to do it this once, not because of the money (the amount was trivial so I didn’t care) but because I had already agreed to do it earlier. The moral conflict I was facing was keeping my word vs promoting chinchilla coats. I don’t feel especially good having done that (while working on the template I kept thinking of my friend’s super cute chinchilla, Chester) but being a reliable and honest person was a tad more important at that moment, especially since I was referred to her by another client. I made it clear however that I would not be able to work on more projects related to this industry in my next email and the client understood.


What would you do?

What would you do if you were in the same situation? Is there a cause you support? Is money sometimes more important than everything else?

About the author

Tina Mailhot-Roberge is a graphic designer, illustrator and co-founder of Veodesign. She holds a BFA in Design from Concordia University, Montréal. She loves to help people and wirte about arts, design, web and technology. Find her on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.