Should I work for the ultra-wealthy?
June 16, 2014 7:44 PM Subscribe
I have a job offer to work for an ultra-high-end residential design company. I am proudly middle class, (sort of on the Robert Reich "inequality for all" side of things) and I am having uncomfortable, knee-jerk reactions to the work this firm does - very non-green homes for the 1%. However, it's a well-paying job, and after three years in a job being underemployed at 30% less pay, and getting close to being broke, I could really use the money. How do I get my head in the right place to take this job?
I feel a bit silly asking this, 'cause having a good job offer like this for an architect in this economy is roses (and I ought to be grateful for getting a job offer at all, really), but tell that to my unrelenting, will-not-shut-up, idealistic self. (Btw, I did not apply for this job, it came to me unsolicited.) The firm does almost exclusively traditional looking (not my favorite aesthetic, but I can deal), spare-no-expense, 8000sf and up, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th homes for the 1%. It's nice work if you can get it, and if I don't do it, someone will - not like my turning down the job will stop these 1%. But it's not the direction I really want to end up in (would prefer working in sustainability and green building, but haven't yet built the cred and connections to get a job in that area.) I am not a young pup anymore (nearer to 4-0 than not), and I'm a little concerned about taking a job, even for a year or two, that falls outside my actual interests and most of my values.
The redeeming qualities I can see right now about the job is that it is in a slightly better location for me (city versus rural suburb), and it is a chance to learn about the best finishes/materials that money can buy - potentially useful information no matter where my career heads. Also, the firm has high standards of excellence, which always appeals to me (they have to do excellent work to retain these clients). I like learning about materials, and I like doing excellent work. I know I'll learn something no matter what, but that doesn't assuage this nagging sense of getting in bed with the enemy, losing my soul, going over to the dark side.
Perhaps the question is how do I keep my idealism intact, how do I self-justify this, how do I soothe my idealistic self into not sabotaging the rest of me?