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Would and objectivist be ok with this?

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I have recently been put in a awkward situation at work and I would like to share it with you to see if you can offer any advice from an objectivist point of view.

I decided to have a career change a year ago which appeared to be a good decision.

I excelled in my new position and was told that I am getting promoted to manager when I have been there a year. The reason I have been told this is because of the excellent client feedback I get and my ability to interact with clients and sell them various different services. I am also very good at getting results and a high return on investment for my clients.

Recently things have changed. A client has came to us from another business and, to cut a long story short, he has asked us to provide a marketing service to him.

After doing research on my clients business I found that he will not get a return on investment for his budget and therefore it would be useless for him to do this. The issue was that my director wanted myself, and my business development consultant to find something that we could do for him with the budget he proposed. We pointed out that this was impossible as it is far too low.

So, my director then ordered us to sell him a research service which usually comes before the main service that we offer. However, selling him the research document is pointless as he doesn't have the monthly budget that is required for the full marketing service. So basically we would be taking nearly £2000 off him for nothing.

Here is the issue.. I think taking £2000.00 off this client knowing that it will be money down the drain is pointless as it will jeopardise any long term relationship - most people in the work place agree with me. It also seems morally wrong. What I have advised my director is to tell the client to hold off just now and engage in our marketing service when he has a realistic budget - this caused a major arguement.

I have basically been told to stop arguing with him about it and it is not debatable. He now understands that taking the £2000.00 off the client is pointless but he still wants to do it anyway.

As a result of this I have had a fall out with my director and he has basically told me it is his business and I should do what he says.

Here is my dilemma... As I have been told that I am pretty much guaranteed a promotion in the next month or two, I have totally shot myself in the foot by arguing with my director. It is likely that if I continue arguing I will not get this promotion and a pay rise.

What would an objectivist do in this situation?

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So the problem is: shut yr trap or lose out? I don't really understand the situation fully, as your job seems purty cryptic. Are you swindling this guy if you take his money? I can't tell if, with the smaller amount this cat's got to offer (2000 euro symbols!), he just won't get the full package (of whatever it is that you're offerin'), or he won't be getting anything at all (of whatever it is that you do).

Here's how i'm seeing it: if I were this guy, and I (far as I can understand the situation) wanted to expand my business by hiring an ad agency or a market research firm (is this what you do?), and this firm accepted my meager offerings knowing full well that I would get no benefit, and without mentioning word one to me, I'd be a little more than pissed, and I would never do business with said agency again, and would encourage all my business-owning friends to do the same.

Sounds like you're leading this cat, and he doesn't know what he's in for. Don't be a grifter, friend.

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The director is also the owner of the company. It's basically online marketing that we do. But the upfront fee is for research. But I know doing the research is pointless because the research will show that the guys budget needs to be 50 times higher than what he actually has.

My directors point of view is that if we tell him that it can't be done then we will get no money off him. But if we tell him we can research first we will get 2k from him...

So basically my director has fallen out with my already and I could have jeopardised my promotion by defending someone else's interests.

But if I did not argue then it would be profiteering from someone else's misfortune.

Edited by therights
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Based on your description (which is, for the record, one sided) your director is encouraging you to engage in a transaction in bad faith. You and he both know that if you sell this client this product, which has a *SPECIFIC* intent (to determine the viability of future services), you're selling him a pre-determined outcome. You already know the result of the "research" before you do it, which means it isn't research at all, it's a fake.

Your director wants the $2,000 - but if he deliberately bilks the client, he will be harming his long term interests because that client will (or at least may) figure out he was conned - (and I'd use that exact word to clarify to the director exactly what he's proposing), and so in addition to the much more serious issue of corrupting the integrity of the business (which your boss may not see as the value it really is), your bilked customer can do SERIOUS HARM to your company's reputation by simple word of mouth.

Now - as for you as an individual - since you know the above, you know that if you engage in this action, you'll be deliberately conning a customer, corrupting your own integrity.

So to answer your question - "Would an Objectivist be ok with this?" The answer is a resounding, absolute, unequivocal - NO.

And the second one - what would an Objectivist do? Well *I* would:

1) Immediately start seeking another position elsewhere, just in case.

2) Lay the cards on the table with the boss - Inform him that his intentions are in bad faith, stand to harm the company long term and go against your own ethical code. (This is why you do #1 - cause this may well cost you your job, but save you your integrity)

3) IF and only if the Boss refuses to pursue this line of bad conduct, stay with the company. You cannot in good conscience choose to stay there if he simply lets you off the hook and then screws the customer.

4) If the boss insists on doing this - then tell the customer, "You don't need this service, its a waste of money for you, and I cannot in good conscience recommend you do it. If you choose to do it anyway, at least you do it knowing it was a waste of money instead of wrongly thinking you'd be getting good value." - - If #2 doesn't, #4 will cost you your job - but again, save your integrity.

Edited by Greebo
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I reread your original post and can't tell if you have shared the two main points with the potential client:

1) You have already done the research

2) His budget is insufficient

If you share both those pieces of information and the client wishes to move forward, that is his/her choice and I would sell him step one. Possibly there is value to the client just having the research done and documented, with no intent to move forward. If your boss does not want you to share that information with the client, you, as an objectivist, should not want to work there.

As an aside, I will share with you that I have lost several jobs for being outspoken and sticking to my principles. Without exception, I have been better off in the long run each time, even though it has been scary initially.

One other point - How you present this to the boss is very important. If you appear to just be arguing you have little chance of getting the boss to see your point. As Greebo detailed earlier, you are trying to look out for the best interest of both companies; try to get your boss to see that.

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Money is the currency of mans mind, it allows him to trade the product of his mind with that of someone else's . By trying to take the mans money without providing anything in return it makes you're company no better than con artists and grifters. In other words it is immoral. If you sit by and let immoral things happen then you are know better than those committing them.

"All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

A promotion is worth nothing in a company of parasites, and money unearned is not worth having no matter how much you have.

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So, my director then ordered us to sell him a research service which usually comes before the main service that we offer.

You seem very certain that this client can’t manage the needed budget, but is your certainty justified? Your manager may know better than you do, maybe he’s turned one of these prospects into a regular customer at some point in the past. Aren’t your services worth the price? Don’t they pay off in higher revenue for the client?

Where I’m puzzled most is by the phrase “ordered us to sell him”. Can’t the client tell on his own that the service isn’t worth his money? You seem to equate selling to stealing.

Of course I can’t tell from what facts you’ve presented, and I’m reading into what little you’ve offered. I’ve had the experience of managing hard-headed newbies who think they know a business after too short a time, and you sound like one to me. So, take it or leave it, if the shoe fits…insert appropriate cliché to taste.

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Thanks for your advice here. It is pretty much in line with my own thoughts and feelings and I am now starting to seek employment. I tried to be as objective as possible with my description so it didn't appear like I was only putting across my side of the argument.

Basically he wants me to sell something that will cost £2000.00 to tell a client what I already know. He needs to spend a great deal more to make his business work.

When I pulled my director in to the meeting after the disagreement I asked him not to speak to me in the way he did, especially not in front of people. He basically replied and told me that when he says the argument is over, then it's over. I said I can work like that. He replied until such times you pay for yourself then you don't have a say. I asked him what that meant. He replied 'until you own your own company'.

Upon reflection - I think I'll leave.

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Yes, he's technically right - it's his company, and he can run it like he wants.

But he doesn't own you, as you seem to know - and if he's so foolish as to consider simple ownership as being akin to having all the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed as an owner, then well - I think it was Andrew Carnegie who said something about not being smart so much as being able to hire smart people.

His loss.

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If an employer runs his comapny like that it will never truly succed. If you look at all the great industrys and buisness's they all our founded on great minds. A mind can olny show it's greatness if it is allowed to work free of constraint. If an employer expects you to do what he says just because he "told you to" without any reason then any men of intelligence will quickly leave him behind.

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Excellent advice from you guys and you basically reinforced what I was already thinking. Greebo you said 'But he doesn't own you, as you seem to know - and if he's so foolish as to consider simple ownership as being akin to having all the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed as an owner,' I totally agree with this. He does think that because he owns the company he has been instantly bless with the knowledge of the industry.

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