Writing this articles for you doesn’t present many moral conflicts for me to worry about, but lots of people have jobs that can have big effects on people’s lives. What if you’re an engineer asked to design war machines? What should you do?
Here are brave people sharing how they quit their jobs over a moral conflict.
Many thanks to all the Redditors who responded. Check out more answers from the source at the end of this article!
1. While working at a day camp as a lifeguard my boss asked me if I wanted to be a sugar baby to one of his friends that was “older and too tired of the dating scene”.
I was like… wait, you’re asking me to have sex with one of your friends for money? Just to clarify… he said yes. Ever sense I avoided that camp like the plague.
2. I had a crappy door to door sales job and they told us to specifically target the elderly and vulnerable. I quit after one day.
3. My old boss used to try to have me only input certain hours on my timesheet, I continuously refused and he kept harassing me. I gave him a warning, I let him know that I would pursue legal action. He would not report it to his boss but he continued to harass me, he ended up fired within 2 months.
Jerk, and this wasn’t like 42 hours to 40 hours, this was 52-55 hours down to 43 hours.
4. My dad was a hospital administrator at a mental health hospital. He had between 60 and 90 patients in his facility at any given time, plus several outpatient groups going on.
Of those 60-90, there were a few that simply weren’t going to get better. After working with them for several months, looking over their history, and knowing what was going on with them mentally/chemically, he knew that them staying in the hospital wasn’t going to help them.
There wasn’t anything he could do for them, so he went to discharge them. The owners told him not to and to keep them inpatient for as long as their insurance/medicare would pay for it. They wanted to bleed these people dry, even knowing they wouldn’t get better.
My dad refused. He was fired 8 weeks later.
5. Worked on a pilot season of a sitcom, there were child actors on the show.
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One day I overheard one of the parents bragging to their friend on the phone that “they aren’t working, the kid is!” I chose not to come back for the second season after I saw that.
Worse than that was my dad who caught a parent feeding a baby Benadryl so it would stay asleep for a scene in a soap opera. He reported it and nothing happened.
6. I was probably 16/17 at the time and the ONLY certified lifeguard at a local Water Park-everyone else was “company qualified”…whatever that means.
Anyway, one day a very large and severe thunderstorm was moving in on the horizon and as soon as I saw lightning I, naturally, blew my whistle and ordered the patrons out of the section I was monitoring and radioed my co-workers to do the same. Almost immediately, the owner came huffing and puffing over to me and demanded to know “what I was thinking?”
“um, the storm is about to be right on top of us and I’m responsible for the safety of our customers… so….I had them get out. Is something wrong?”
“You’re costing us money THAT’S what’s wrong. We’re not closing for the day!”
By this point, there were a number of reasons I should have left/quit & I finally did. After calmly handing the owner my whistle I looked him in the eyes and said “You know what, I can’t do this anymore. I quit.
7. Not me, but an acquaintance quit his job from an independent computer store. Boss was downloading illegal copies of windows for the new and used computers, and selling them like real copies. This guy refused to lie to customers about this, and noped his way out of there. I hired him immediately upon finding all of this out. You can train people to do any kind of work, but character is rare and valuable.
8. I was a teller at Wells Fargo for a few months. It was more of a sales position than anything else. We were instructed to send any customer with any kind of issue to a banker so they could open them new accounts instead of just fixing their problem. They especially targeted elderly people. I flat out refused to do that and would instead fix any problems that I was capable of. Management repeatedly told me to be a “team player”. They couldn’t care less that I never made any calculation mistakes with the money.
On one slow day I watched the manager walk over to a banker, hand her a $20, and tell her to open an account. I don’t know if it was opened in her name or someone else’s.
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A few times I was asked why I didn’t ask a customer in the drive-through to come in and open a credit card. They never liked my answer of, “they’re in the drive-through because they don’t want to come inside”.
I was miserable every day there until I quit.
9. My Dad:
His boss wanted him to work on my little brother’s 4th birthday, which happened to be a Saturday, so it’s double pay, and he’s under no obligation to be there. He told them he wasn’t going to miss his son’s birthday.
Boss says: “You know you can buy a lot of presents with double time.”
Dad says: “Don’t care. I’m not missing my kid’s birthday.”
Boss: “That kid’s gonna have a lot of birthdays”
Dad: “Yeah, and I’m gonna be there for every one of em.”
Dad got laid off a few weeks later.
10. Worked at a private school as a teacher. I was also the first aid attendant due to my previous job as a WEMT (wilderness emergency medical tech).
Now, this school was a status symbol for the parents and failure was not an option for the students. Not enough discussion about mental health, substance abuse, etc. Because all these girls were just too good and every single one was destined for greatness.
A number of times I had girls crying in my office, seeking some type of assurance when they got a 70% of a test. Or due to an insane amount of pressure being placed on them by their parents.
Anyways, around the end of the year, the school does an award ceremony. Essentially celebrating all the top kids. Terrible thing to do in my opinion. Hard work was not celebrated, grades were.
Needless to say, the day of the ceremony I get called down to the sick bay. I have a student showing some very odd vitals. Admits to taking an Advil for a headache this morning. She is a quiet Grade 9, a new student, ESL, parents live in another country, underperforming. Wonderful kid though.
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Several friends are with her, couple staff, she is getting worse. Blood pressure and heart rate are really weird. She asks all of them to step out except for me and she collapses into my lap, hugging as hard as she can. I am trying to get info. Then it hits me, her vitals are in line with a drug overdose. I hold her and tell her its ok and ask the hard question. She admits to having ingested a bottle of Advil on the way to school.
She is crying and losing consciousness. EMS is called. I administer O2, water.
She makes it, pukes, gets picked up. Cops come, it’s a legal formality. I am trying to line up some guardians besides myself to go to the hospital. During this entire time, I am trying to page my administration.
No one from admin comes, in fact when I go to inform them in person I am told they knew about it all. But the ceremony was about to go so they had to be greeting parents. They then inform me that I am not to go to the hospital because I have to present some awards.
I am standing there, in shock, and simply explain I have just dealt with a suicide attempt and she has no family. She has done this because she is struggling, and today’s ceremony pushed a kid who is clearly lacking support to an edge. And I am, 100% going to the hospital. I stayed at the hospital for two days.
Told the school the next week I was taking the year to complete my masters and travel. I knew I was leaving but I had the ability to give myself some space. The school lost a kid to suicide this past year. An amazing kid. It is a pressure cooker, I can’t support a system like that as an educator.
I was there for five years, I loved every single one of those girls. But that type of school mentality is not why I am an educator.
11. I worked as a receptionist at a doggie daycare/boarding/training facility for one whole day. During my training, I learned that the position is responsible for up-selling various packages for boarding stays (your dog gets a treat every day, a softer bed, etc), which multiple employees admitted never actually got provided. It was basically a “peace of mind” fee so the owner could feel better about leaving their dog while they were away thinking they gave their dog a luxury stay, but really all the dogs stayed in the same tiny kennels (think like an animal shelter set-up).
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The final straw was when a woman came to pick up her dog that had been there for “boot camp” (a 2-week stay at the facility with daily one-on-one training sessions with a professional trainer). They do a little demo when you pick up your pet to show what the dog has learned during their stay and then they rope you in for more lessons. Before the woman arrived, the trainer admitted he hadn’t spent any time with the dog AT ALL, and the dog had basically been left in the kennel for its whole stay. Based on the casual reaction of all the other employees present, this was totally normal. The girl that was training me told me it was basically my job to talk the pet owner through the demo about how good the dog had been and make it sound like the dog has made great progress but could benefit from additional lessons.
I told them I wasn’t comfortable lying to customers and refused to come back. I wanted the job because I love dogs, but these people were cheating pet owners out of a ridiculous amount of money and it made me so sick.
I regret not doing more to make what they were doing public, but I was young at the time and didn’t know what to do.
12. My first job at 16 years old was at a small town, mom ‘n pop burger shop. Eventually we got a new manager who started making changes, which included handing out a church flier with the table’s bill. I was way uncomfortable doing that, and I still had faith at the time.
He gave me a “do it or you quit” ultimatum, so I quit. Two other employees quit over further confrontations with the manager, and the rest left before the end of the week.
The shop ended up closing after the owners bought their son a new ugly H2 hummer thing instead of paying rent.
13. He thought I should continue to work for him for free long after it became clear he was a complete scam artist. I disagreed.
14. The CEO/owner asked me to lie to a large account (my account) about when their product went out. I refused and handed him my security badge. He gave it back and dealt with the client himself. I left shortly thereafter. He is a good guy overall, but was just a bit short-sighted in tough spots.
My next job I began asking questions about how two very important people (to our company) were handled and fired (unjustly), and then about how bonuses were paid out (I had a lot of history with this company). I was fired a month or so later by my boss. And then he was fired a year or so later.
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15. I was on the verge of quitting but got fired instead.
Towards the end of the companies decline the owner was losing his mind. He was about 60 and got a new girlfriend who was about 40. She was leeching every dollar she could get out of him. He started draining the entire companies coffers which had hundreds of thousands of dollars, most was making it’s way to the local casino.
One week a salesman ended up in the hospital with heart problems. About a week later he got a rejection letter from the insurance company for the hefty bill saying there was no benefits available, the policy has not been active for months. So I call on my policy and come to find out the same thing for me. I spoke with other employees to check theirs, and low and behold, no policies.
He stopped paying medical insurance policies he took out of our pay checks. He pocketed about 3 months worth of medical insurance payments worth over 30k. So once I found this out I asked him for my money and he said it would take a week to pay me, I refused that answer. I wanted my money right then and there but he couldn’t pay it. So I blew the whistle on him by calling the state. The state came in and forced him to pay everyone back that day or face serious repercussions.
He went on the tirade throughout the whole company questioning everyone who had turned him in. When he got to me I told him it was none of his business and wanted my money. I pressed me more on it and I fessed up telling him he had to right to ask anyone because he stole from all of us and should pay up. Right there on the spot he fired me. That day 90% of the staff walked out and quit. I ended up suing him into the dirt. He pulled some shifty shady tactics and shredded all of his assets to avoid the lawsuits leaving us without our insurance money or two weeks worth of paychecks.
Last I found out he now lives a very poor lifestyle working for that woman he gave everything up for. She bled him dry and now makes him work like a slave to afford her lifestyle.