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what's your moral compass?


JAllen
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obviously everyone here discusses tattoo shops and the things we all consider to be important about tattooing and the business related to tattooing as well as customer service and ethics of those doing the work.

so with that said, i'm just curious about others thoughts in regards to other companies. like if you knew that a company was shady and particiated in unethical behavior, would you still support and/or buy products from those companies. also, if you discovered that the company you worked for was involved in something that is unethical would you continue to work for them and if so, how long? would it weigh on your conscious?

i resist letting the whole cat out of the bag for many reasons but i'm always interested in others views of where they draw their moral convictions from and how strongly they stand by them.

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If it's a company I'm buying from, it depends what the issue is and whether I can afford to take my business elsewhere. I avoid products that (for example) are tested on animals or made in sweatshops where possible, but I'm not rich so it's not always viable.

If it's a company I work for... it probably also depends what the unethical behaviour is. If it was something hugely unethical and illegal (eg. racial discrimination, fraud) I'd report them to the relevant authorities immediately. If it was something I felt uncomfortable with but that wasn't illegal, I'd weigh up how I felt about it and, if it was bad enough, leave.

A job is important, but a conscience is moreso.

I might feel differently if I had other mouths to feed, but at this point I would definitely jeopardise my own job if the alternative was supporting something I knew was wrong.

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I would say I try to avoid companies who I have either moral dilemmas or conflicting viewpoints and in general I try to have the mindset of going to someone local vs a big corporation when possible, not even necessarily for moral dilemmas but for quality issues as well. One example is the Papa John's boycott. Personally I think the way he runs his company sucks and that's why his pizza and corporate pizza sucks in general, but I mean it's kind of a non issue, because their are so many ma and pa pizza joints around that make real pizza, why would anyone eat that garbage. I also understand the right of a business to run it as they see fit, as long as it's accordance of the law, but that does not go without my right to demand better pizza and support companies that are more part of our community. My moral compass does extend beyond the Pizza and even food, but I thought one example was enough.

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Gots to ride with @David Flores on this...I buy whatever I can from local stores. After that, if I have to go to a bigger store, I look for American Made. If I still can't find what I need, then I try to avoid the real culture-traps and go for the simple stuff.

AS far as boycotting or avoiding certain companies, oh hell yes. Used to wear nothing but Levi's, but stopped buying anything Levi Strauss associated after they started pouring money into the so-called "gun-control" movement. Anyone that wants to restrict my rights-any of them-doesn't need my money. Another beautiful example is anything owned, controlled, or influenced by George Soros. Again, if someone wants to restrict my rights, then they don't need my help to do it.

Politics...there are a LOT of people I do business with whose politics are divergent from mine, and that's all kool. Now, if they are making their politics a part of their business, that's different. Used to eat in a certain diner, owners are friendly, food is edible, place isn't too shabby. That changed when they hung out huge posters for the Presidential candidate of their choice during the 2008 election-cycle. Handed out pamphlets in the restaurant, buttons on everyone, like that. Well, when it becomes a part of the business, I can't support it anymore, and told them that.

Just my .02...

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I echo the sentiments of the folks above, in terms of supporting small businesses over large ones, and trying to balance spending money in places that don't go against my values vs. knowing that that isn't 100% possible. If I never did business with anyone or anywhere that had any objectionable politics, I'd probably starve and go naked, but I also hate the opposite argument--that it's so hard to live by one's values that we shouldn't bother. I think we all need to find balance in terms of what our limits are, what ethical constraints we know we can adhere to, which we prioritize, etc. We should hold ourselves to high standards, and not make excuses for ourselves, but we should not hold ourselves to impossible ones.

Now in terms of our own jobs--that's also tricky! It's all about, again, figuring out what our own boundaries are in terms of ethics. I actually teach this quite a bit in the context of the field I work in; we all, regardless of our chosen careers, need to find spaces for self-reflection and taking a step back to ask ourselves if our work is in line with our values.

I don't know what your line of work is, @JAllen but I have absolutely quit jobs before because they forced me to behave in ways that I thought was not right. I used to be involved in social work settings, and I worked in a few different shelters for homeless women and women at risk. One shelter was terribly run and really dehumanizing in its policies; I eventually quit after an unfortunate series of events made them go from "not my style but I can live with it" to "working here is making me do things that I am not ok with" in my mind, such as forcing the women who came to our night shelter to spend the evening in an unheated cafeteria when it was below freezing outside. Of course, organizations that treat their clients like shit are also likely to treat their employees like shit too, so getting out of there was a no brainer for me once we got to that point.

That said, some coworkers of mine, who are good people, stayed on. It's not that they had a lesser moral compass than mine, it's just that we all have different boundaries, and different dealbreakers. And of course, we all also have different levels of desperation re: how badly we need that job. (In the case of that particular one, I managed to line up another gig fairly quickly so that I could quit with no problem.)

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I don't research every company I patronize... but if I do hear something about a company that I disagree with (in a big way), I research to make sure that's true and, if it is, I no longer patronize that company. If my company was shady, I would definitely look for other work... not only because I disagreed but shady companies seem like they could easily fail and leave me high and dry!

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Where I live oil and gas is by far the biggest industry, it's steady work and pays excellent. I was a full time contractor for BP when they had the big gulf spill, while it was kind of embarrassing we were so far removed geographically that i didn't really identify with it.

BP sold us to the company I currently work for and within six months of switching over these new assholes had a spill into river within an hour or so from where we live. Ever since then I've been thinking about how to get out of this mess of an industry, but it's a lot easier said than done. We have a young family, 1 year old plus another on the way, so it's kind of tough to up and leave. That being said since then we've down sized our house, sold a vehicle and hopefully started to make the transition to when I do have the chance to move on and do something that I can live with.

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@Pugilist, I'm a tattooer but before that I worked for a financial investment company. I've quit jobs based on a difference of ethics before and there were issues that came up at the financial place as well but I couldn't make the urgent decision to leave since I had a family but I did work towards getting out of there.

I have the same feeling as most about supporting local business. Especially in this part of ohio, the economy is crappy so I feel a bond with local business owners in trying to make it work. Just to give a scenario that kinda prompted me to ponder these things is that I've been trying to sell my house for over a year and get moved back to atlanta. The wife and kid have been there for almost 2 years. Things have been a struggle here and I've been trying to explore ways to try and make a move happen if this house doesn't sell soon. Someone suggested that I do cable installation as a second job since I've got some tech and mechanical skills. The thought of having to do it is a bummer on many fronts. Firstly, I haven't had cable for over 15 years because I think its bullshit. Secondly, I don't want to do anything other than tattoo but would copmpromise if I could get to my family quicker by working another job. With that said, I have huge issues with how many of these companies conduct business. Not just locally but also their participation in the ALEC. There manipulation of local and state governments to screw the american public. If your not familiar with them, check them out. Shady stuff..I'll post a link that just happens to relate to the local cable company that also involves many other states and how all this mess ties together. I've never been one to bite my tongue and I seriously don't see how I can not tell this company to get fucked even if they offered me a job. But in doing this research, the info I found about the ALEC kinda got me a little fired up to the point I would like to do more than just tell this company to get fucked. Anyway..its a long article but worth the read. There's more out there but this is just a taste of how we are all getting screwed.

https://dbapress.com/archives/2719#more-2719

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I think we all make compromises, to varying degrees, in order to survive. Sometimes it's simply an economic reality that your rent / mortgage / food bills must be met. Idealism becomes an unaffordable luxury. At other times, in certain jobs and situations there simply may be no clear 'right' course of action, it may be an ambiguous scenario. We're adults here and I guess we all understand these imperatives.

That said, occasional compromises or acknowledging we live in a world of grey areas in some respects is different from actively working for the forces of darkness. I've met some criminal law solicitors (not all, just some) and genuinely wondered how they slept, for example- I couldn't do their job and stay sane... Engineering the acquittal of people they know were guilty. Someone else might feel a similar contempt for my profession.

That said, what do I know:-

My moral compass derives almost solely from Star Trek: The Next Generation. I always think to myself: "would Captain Picard approve of what I am about to do?".

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morality in tattooing is a kind of weird subject no? the first shop i walked into at 15 would have tattooed a swastika on my forehead if i had the money and and asked for it. that shop was the real deal. the tattooer (cookie out of Hitchen uk) was known to be the best for many a long mile.

as for the stuff i buy? i don't buy shite. if you only ever buy the very best that you can afford then the chances are your buying from a one man show who produces stuff as an offshoot of producing stuff for themselves. also they won't have a barrage of slick legal types to tell you why you cant get a refund when stuff goes wrong, but too be honest you can't really get into morality with one person. for all i know they may get off strangling dwarves with a python, but if they're happy to supply me some genuine tat zappers then why should i care.

my morality kicks in this way. personally ima avoid virtually any company that puts super flash mega adverts in non trade magazines. these people quite often look like they fell out of love with tattooing and in love with money and celebrity

but there is also one other moral issue that continually burns my brain and that is the f?cking shite i hear talked by tattooers about other tattooers. ther is one very well known one 6 miles away from me. he had to buy his apprenticship cause no one liked him, he cant draw so good but i wont try and take his skill away from him, he can tattoo good, apart from on me apparently. the fact that no one liked him and no one would take them under their wing seems to have made him bitter. never heard him say anything good about a tattooer within 50 miles of him. he doesn't think about other tattooers feeding babies, or paying rent. i have to fire a metaphorical shot across his bows about twice a year just to keep him in check. the thing is he has no love for tattooing, just the money and friends it brings him (the kiss arse kind).

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It's a difficult question. In general I try to live simply, and I prefer to support small and local businesses and keep my money in my community. That said, it's complicated. I work in craft brewing, which is one of those quintessential local industries. And I think looking at people who drink craft beer, there's a tendency towards thinking that it's good to drink craft beer not only because it's delicious but also because you're supporting local businesses and the local economy and so on and so forth. And that's where things get really complicated. Craft brewing, probably like a lot of "labour of love" workplaces, is notoriously underpaid. If I worked for one of the local mega breweries I would make about 50% more than I do now. So what's better for my community: drinking "local beer" that pays its workers less than it could or mass-produced fizzy yellow stuff that is made by people earning a much better wage, and that money is going back into the community. I wouldn't give the smaller breweries a free ride in that they're less morally suspect because they're small either. Brewing requires a lot of capital and investors aren't necessarily jolly, beardy craft beer types who care as much about making quality beer as they do about the bottom line. There are a lot of idiosyncrasies in the industry and I don't want to generalise here but the "buy local" thing can be problematic. Like I said, when you get into the specifics, it gets complicated.

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I try and buy local, but that shit gets expensive and I really love Safeway. I try and support mostly local restaurants/bars, not too big into the whole street wear clothing thing. I like thrift stores. Thats just economically though.

After working on an ambulance for the last 5 years in cokeland, my moral standing is pretty high compared to the shit heads that I deal with every day. Then again, some of my partners make me look like a fuckin asshole. It's all relative in the end.

I'm typing this while drinking a beer(s) so don't hate my grammer.

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