Torn between principles and needs

Yesterday, after a long time, I have met again by coincidence this sweet lovely girl who used to work with me. We have only been co-workers as we have much different ideologies, style of living, and way of thinking. But we have always managed to deal with each other in courtesy. We never had any negative feelings to each other despite us being at the two ends in terms of what we think of life and religion.

She is a very religious person. I have never met anyone so absorved in his/her religion like her. She doesn’t only wear a veil, but also a black scarf on top of it in order to cover whatever shape her body gives. She doesn’t only cover her body with clothes, but also covers her face with a constant smile and a dreamy eyes which she frequently turn upwards praying for God.

As she has been taught, she percieves her life on earth as a small phase and preperation for her eternal life in heaven, and so being the perfectionist she is, she wants to make sure to get whatever good points she can get in order to get the best thing she can in heaven.

Unfortunatly life isn’t easy on religious people. She had to quit working with us because our company had a project to do for a bank and she had to work on it. In Islam interests is forbidden, and so things related with banking are forbidden as well.

Yesterday when I met her, she told me that she is moving on her current job as well cause of some reasons that doesn’t work for her.

She reminds me of the stories my mother told me about her father.

My mother’s family had to live in poverty because her father couldn’t keep a job for a moral reasons. He never managed to keep his mouth shut. He couldn’t stand injustice and corruption. In one of his jobs he refused to exploit workers who used to report to him and encourage them to keep asking for their rights, and so he got fired. He used to spend months searching for a new job just to dismiss it when he realizes it contradicts with what he believes in.

I can understand that sometimes we might face things that contradict with our principles at work, and yes sometimes it might drive us to move to another place, but I can’t understand it when it happens so frequent where a grown up person can’t manage to do any compromizes with his principles in order to maintain a decent life for him and his family.

I have faced once a problem myself. In my first work where we used to sell portable data collector. We had a problem with the set of data collectors we had at that time. The employer was aware of the problem as other customers complained about it, but he wanted to sell what has been left in the storage, and so one day, he called me to his office. He said that they have sold this data collector to a certain customer who he wanted me to go and train him on. He warned me not to mention the data collector problem infront of our customer. I said “Ok I won’t”, but I didn’t mean it.

It was a delimma for me. Should I betray my employer trust, or participate in this theft operation knowing that this machine costs a good amount of money.

I decided to be faithful to myself, and so I asked the customer politley to choose another type of data collectors from what we have. I didn’t tell him that my employer wanted to decieve him, but I made sure that he knows this one has a problem and that it is better to buy the other one.

I didn’t stay long in the job. The ethical problems were not the reason for me to left. It was because I simply didn’t like what I used to do.

I just look now at the nice girl who is struggling in her life, and back to my grandfather’s life and wonder how many others are facing such delimmas in their work. Struggling between their principles and their needs.


  1. I certainly will favor my principles over any job,One cannot live with onself if the job contradicts with principles and commandments of Allah. Ethics is an important part of a job and cannot be ignored or bypassed.Real good post.


  2. this is a common genetic disease in jordan. it’s called the conscience gene. The good news is that soon with the advances of science they will be able to surgically remove it before you work in the Jordan government or in key private sector jobs. But be careful. sometimes those who complain about their high ethical standards can also be selective in their morality. meaning, when it suits them, they take the high road, when it does not, they take the lower roads. I have met a few like this. they feel victimized because of their high ethical standards but I have seen them do worse than those they malign.


  3. It’s too bad your friend couldn’t have stayed at your company by moving to a different project. I used to work for a company that designed laboratories. Some of the Labs did research on animals, and my boss told me that if I had an ethical problem with that, that I wouldn’t have to work on those projects. I didn’t have a problem with it, but I respected my boss a lot for acknowledging the issue and giving me the option. It sounds like your grandfather would have made a good business owner. Business owners face a lot of temptation to cut corners on their customers and employees for the sake of money. But in the long run, those that don’t compromise are rewarded with loyal customers and employees.


  4. Abdullah, may Allah help you maintain your ethics. Sometimes it is hard to stick with what we believe in, and so we end up paying a big price. I am glad you liked the post.Khalil, some people tend to believe in what is convenient to them, but this is understandable. Most of us do this. It is another discussion by its own.Rebecca, you are blessed with a good boss :). Well according to my mother, my grandfather was about to start a restuarant with a friend of him who turned out to be a thief and betrayed his trust! But eventually he was able to open a mini-market which was good for him in his last years.


  5. I had to quit two jobs because of the illegal practices of my boss – in America. Both times I found better employment, and felt God blessed my obedience. But His rewards don’t always come exactly as we would want. Good for you, Observer. I think truth and honesty always win.I try and have the same perspective your friend…that life on earth is training and practice for eternity. It is a helpful perspective.


  6. Thanks Kinzi.I am not against people working for their after life, but I find it wrong for someone to forget about living his current life for the sake of his hope of a better one afterwards. One doesn’t have to choose between the two.


  7. ok , well, it depends on the problem , if it’s against what i believe in then i’ll probably quit OR try to change it for the better , what i mean is , sometimes quiting might feel good , but you’re not thinking that whatever the problem was in the first place , it won’t go away , so what you’re doing is simply avoiding to deal with it , and just running away and pretending it’s not your problem anymore … i hope you got what am trying to say …


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