How do I treat requests for work for causes that go against my personal principles?
Recently, I received a request for a quote from a party that promotes and teaches an ideology that diametrically opposes my own beliefs. The job involved designing promotion material for classes and lectures about the ideology.
How do I treat such a request? And, if I took it, how do I detach my personal feelings in order to still do good enough of a job? Is that even possible?
I made a promise to myself to never use my powers for evil.
I've created many pieces which sell, what I would see as, ethically borderline in terms of the product itself. Meaning... snake oil. A product I know is being sold and marketed as the "be-all, end-all" which could not possibly be true.
My thoughts on these types of project has been, well, if someone's going to fall for it. That's their issue. I can't be responsible for how naive or gullible others may be. So, I complete these without really an issue. Kind of like.... I know the 2015 Fantastic Four movie is horrible... but you're free to spend your money on it if you want.
On the other hand, I've turned down many projects that are diametrically opposed to my personal beliefs. I see no harm in stating "Sorry, I'm not comfortable working on this/that."
Just as an example -- promotional material for Ozark baby tossing. I'd just never do that work. If approached, I'd politely explain that I'm really not interested in supporting that organization/cause. I wouldn't even entertain "taking it".
At the end of the day, I have to live with myself. I just can't feel good about promoting anything I feel does more to promote harm or ill feelings in others.
For me it boils down to what is being sold. Am I just creating or working on something that sells a product and readers can choose to buy on their own. Or, am I working to promote an overall change in someone's mindset toward a particular issue or set of issues. I tend to be okay with selling products, and I almost always turn down work which promotes a mindset which is opposed to my beliefs.
At the end of the day we're all just "call girls" working for whoever is paying us. But if you don't get a good feeling from a "John", it's okay to say "no".
If financial circumstances are making you question whether to accept something you're not comfortable with, there's really no way for anyone to make that decision for you. It's up to you to define where your "limit" is and how much hardship you're willing to endure to remain true to your own beliefs.
Remember the basic premise of business.. you reserve the right to refuse service to anyone (provided it's not illegal discrimination).