When you decide to start your own business for the first time, profitability is probably at the forefront of your concerns. When you go hunting for a new job, the size of the paycheque and the relevance of the position are probably the two biggest factors that will go into your decision process. There’s nothing wrong with having money on the mind, but there is a “revolution” of sorts that goes far beyond this desire for wealth.
With Great Power Comes…
More people are starting to realize that their jobs should be more than just a source of income. They should be a source of personal fulfillment and they should be making the world a better place in some way. We not only have to exercise personal responsibility; we also have to consider professional and corporate responsibility. We need to put people, the environment, and the greater good before profits.
That is the message behind Saving the World at Work, a book by Tim Sanders. I received it as a gift during the Christmas holidays from Joseph Planta (who also interviewed me recently if you want to give that a listen) and it really speaks to this greater need to do more than “just” make money.
Are You Making a Difference?
With Saving the World at Work,, Tim Sanders discusses “what companies and individuals can do to go beyond making a profit to making a difference.”
More than ever, people want to work for companies that have a stronger sense of corporate responsibility. Are they treating their employees in a fair and equitable manner? Are they being mindful of the environment when it comes to the manufacture and distribution of their products? Are they “giving back” to the communities where these companies are found? It is increasingly necessary for companies (and this includes small business owners like the independent freelance writer) to contribute to society, not only in an indirect sense with employee wages, but also in a much more direct way.
I’ve written in the past about responsibility and freedom in the context of scheduling for leisure time, but the same concept also applies to running a small business. If you want to enjoy the freedom to pursue your vocational aspirations, you need to exercise responsibility for the environment and society as well. Are your products and services contributing to society in a positive fashion or are they sinking society deeper into a pit of gluttony and excess? Some people have attacked such organizations as McDonald’s and Wal-Mart on these exact grounds. It’s up to you to decide whether these attacks are justified.
Positive Contributions to Society
As a freelance writer, I’d like to think that I am exercising a certain level of both personal and corporate responsibility. I do what I can to “be green” and I hope that my writing positively contributes to society in some way. On this blog, I hope to provide value to my readers, just as I hope that my articles on other sites enrich the lives of those readers in some way. On both ethical and professional grounds, I hope that I will never write for a company whose vision or message are in direct conflict with my morals. I hope that I will be able to say no.
As I make my way through Saving the World at Work, I may post about any insightful lessons that I may glean along the way. In the meantime, think about how your job and your company are affecting the world around us. Is it about more than just a profit?