I begin before the beginning. A paper must be written and research papers always need to be introduced before they really begin. The first few paragraphs exist only to set up the real beginning where all the ideas that must be conveyed exist. The introduction is like the bread that presents the sandwich. Without an introduction this paper would be too messy; the meat of the sandwich would get all over the place. As I look down at all my sociology notes taken throughout the year, I familiarize the topic to myself once again. My mind thinks out-loud: I must write about my future career and the inevitable problems I will face; I must discover some of the unintentional consequences and relate them to what I have learned over the semester. As I ponder this research paper topic, I soon realize that it may be more difficult than I expected. You see, I have no clue what type of sandwich I want; maybe a turkey and cheese, or a BLT, or maybe just a traditional. I’m in my second year at UH and have still not declared a major nor due I have any idea of an intended major, so how am I going to write a research paper about my future career. I can barely look toward the future within college much less after college. I understand that no one really knows for sure what they will be doing in their future career. If they did end up perfectly in the career they had planned on submitting themselves to, I believe that they were too close-minded. They probably did not consider the twists and the problems that society gave them on their way.
The last sentence that I just wrote caused me to realize that maybe I’m missing the idea of the paper. This is not a research paper about my preferred career, and to be more direct, nor do I need to have any knowledge about any specific career. Instead of observing my aspirations and desires for my future, I must observe the possible dilemmas that will be faced. The main idea that I’m trying to express is that I need to be conscious of these dilemmas and prepare how I will come to a decision when faced. It doesn’t matter what career is chosen because every career has its set of problems.
It may seem impractical to prepare decisions for dilemmas that I do not yet have knowledge of, and although this is true, it is, if not practical, at least reasonable to prepare my mind. By applying the theories learned throughout the semester I can make ethical decisions when faced with unintended consequences or simply steer clear from them to begin with.
How do I determine what types of problems I will need to deal with? Our society is littered with social problems. I believe it is safe to assume that every social problem our society deals with as a whole will exist, or at least represent, the dilemmas that we face in our careers. In the experience of my career, I will coexist with many others to form the society within my career. Some problems within my career’s society will be well known and seem commonplace, and almost habitual, to deal with. The reason this is bad is because these kind of problems have become habitual to deal with. Instead of making thought-out decisions about the problem, ignorance and precedent make the decision for us, leaving the “decision” maker with no second thoughts about it. Well-known problems that are treated like this will loose their importance and soon create indifference. Other problems within the society of our careers may be more subtle and, not only harder to notice, but harder to confront. This is difficult because the consequences created by the problem are difficult to fix and usually become accepted as part of how the society works. An idea of fatalistic resignation is formed and the victims of the problem consider it just an unlucky misfortune. This is very ignorant since the way society works runs parallel to how we, as individuals, act. Then again, this ignorance can be traced back to the paradox of society in man and man in society.
Most, if not all, of the world’s social problems exist in our careers: race, gender, poverty, education, drug abuse, crime, etc.. The issue of race can be seen as a problem in a number of different views. Racism is one type of problem the existence of race can give to our careers. An individual’s opinion about a certain race cannot be changed, only influenced. Actions that the individual makes while interacting others can only be monitored by force of law and not even effectively without infringing on that individual’s freedom. Therefore, those who are biased toward certain races create a problem in our careers that leads to unfairness.
Another view that race can be presented is the issue of a “pride of race”. A “pride of race” causes pressure on the individuals of that certain race to live up to its values and expectations. In our careers, an individual may be acting how their race expects them to act rather than making decisions based on their own judgement. The problem can even deepen when those individuals believe that they are using their own judgement and the “pride of race” has enslaved them into the person they have become. The issue of sex runs practically parallel to the issue of race. An individual’s greed, although not considered a social problem per say, will cause many people to face dilemmas in their careers; dilemmas that cannot be decided by law, but must be ethically decided by the accused.
Obviously there are many problems that develop in our careers and not even a paper could get through all of them. Problems occur in so many different ways for many different reasons and others can even be difficult to acknowledge. Now that the existence of problems has been established, I must press on.
Problems are expected. It is obvious that the society within your career will have problems. We are people and we have not yet created the perfect system that can run smoothly without flaws. Problems create consequences. As an individual, I must use caution when faced with either a problem or the consequence it has caused. As an example lets say that I’m employed in a career that has been stereotyped as a male profession. One of my co-workers happens to be a woman. I know this women only professionally and have worked with her for a year and a half. She does her job well, maybe even better than I do (as a male). I respect her for her commitment to the company. You can probably see where I’m going with this example. Lets say that my boss is a male and that I have worked under him since I’ve been with the company. I go out to eat with him weekly and even occasionally play golf with him on weekends. I can tell by his comments and actions that he strongly agrees with the stereotype of his company that it’s not traditionally a female position. One day he offers me a higher position and a raise if I would terminate her employment and take over some of her work.
Now there are a few issues in this example that needs to be noted. The first, and most obvious, is the issue of sex. Obviously this woman has done nothing to deserve what my boss wants. I well know that my boss just want to get rid of her because she is female, and maybe because it would cost the company less. Another issue is the idea of greed. A career serves an individual the opportunity to move up on the economic ladder. Greed can take over a person and override their normal values. What they have always considered unethical suddenly does not apply. Surely many people get laid off so no one would notice, and once I’ve terminated her, I won’t ever see her again. Once greed takes over, this situation seems trivial. What must be remembered is that she is a person just like I am. It’s not trivial; it’s wrong, and problems like this happen all the time. Situations like this example is why all social problems continue to exist, especially in our careers. Even though most problems are much more complex and the issue cannot be this easily identified, the same, most of the time more, ideas apply.
Most of the time there is no clear-cut line between what is ethically right and wrong. Our careers may face us with dilemmas that place everyone as a victim and the only way out of the dilemma is to lay the entire burden of the problem onto one individual. Make just one person suffer and the rest survive instead of having everybody slowly suffer from the problem. This highly debatable situation is known as “life boat” ethics. When a decision cannot be made, a Procrustean view may take its place. This is where the individuals of the society are molded and reformed to fit in with the problems.
So far I have bubble-wrapped the instincts of humans. How horrible can people be to each other and what is their reasoning for their actions? In my future career I will come across many “goal-oriented” people. They may be stopping at nothing and no one to reach it. Although, it may not necessarily be to reach a goal. The means to get to it may be what gives them pleasure and the goal serves more of an excuse for their actions. This creates many problems. It first off directly affects those who are victims of this person’s ruthlessness. Also, this person enjoys the process of reaching their goal but once they have arrived, he or she does not enjoy or even desire to serve the goal’s purpose. This results in the goal being worthless and no one ends up benefitting.
Now as a young college student I have high ambitions that are quite innocent from the career world we will soon face. College students all over the campus have dreams of becoming great lawyers or owning their own business or becoming a great sociologist. We want to do what we want and to do it well. We want to take pride in our careers. It is most important for us to hold on to our pre-career ambitions before they had a chance to be corrupted by the many problems that exist. Many people get sucked into the consequences of the career world and loose their old ideas. Yes maybe they are employed at a better position, and yes maybe they have three houses and a Ferrari, or maybe not. If we can’t prepare ourselves for the problems and if we can’t free our minds from the control placed on us we will end up working in “bad faith”. Our careers will no longer be our ambitions but instead be an obligation.