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Do You Have to Take a Terrible Job Just Because You Went to College?

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I often enjoy the Ethicist column by Chuck Klosterman. A recent column posed an interesting question:

“Do I have an ethical duty to find a better job even if I’m unhappy with the work?”

The letter writer explained that his or her parents had funded a college education, but it had only led to what was described as a “soul-crushing job.”

It won’t surprise regular readers that I agree with the Ethicist, who told the letter writer that they weren’t “ethically obligated to live your life in a way you dislike just because someone else willingly subsidized the means by which you achieved that unhappiness.”

In this case, someone was wondering about an ethical duty to their parents, who had paid for college. But there are many reasons why people remain in jobs that suck. They don’t see any alternative, they have friends or family who say they should be grateful for a good job, and so on.

But if it’s not working out, especially in the prime of life, it seems absurd to stick with it.

What if you had an ethical responsibility to find meaningful work—how would the situation change if that was the dilemma you faced?

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Link: The Soul-Crushing Job

Image: Stephen

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