There has been a lot of discussion taking place between PR organisations and professionals recently about whether there are companies people shouldn’t work for. It seems to have started with a debate about whether it is ethical to provide communication support to a tobacco company.
As a communicator you have to represent the organisation you are working for whether as agency or in-house. It means you have to feel able to stand up for them or be a person who can switch off completely and deal very dispassionately with what you are faced with. Because communication is a creative industry being able to remain neutral is not an easy thing to achieve.
For me, everyone has to make their own mind up about who they are happy to work for and what they are comfortable doing. I remember as a journalist being asked at interview how far I would go to get a story. I can’t recall what I said but I do remember feeling uncomfortable about the thoughts of going to the extreme to get a story. This is a personal thing. It is about your own morality and standards.
I know that I would not be able to put as much into my work unless I felt that it had a direct value to people. It needs to be a business that I can support and see as beneficial to society. As a vegetarian there is no way I could work for a butchers or fast food restaurant serving meat. I couldn’t work for a company selling fur or farming animals. That doesn’t mean it is wrong for other people to do that. It is their choice.
It is easy to criticise people for working for certain businesses or companies. From our own standards and morality we make quick judgements. The individual has to make their own decision and feel comfortable that they can live with it.