Thursday, December 08, 2005

So at work, I've been asked to proof a new-business pitch to a company that sells a certain kind of food. A food in the meat group.

As you may know from the shameless propaganda slathered all over my sidebar, I am a vegetarian. And I have pretty strong feelings about being a vegetarian. Believing also in a Buddhist philosophy, I try not to judge others for eating animals; I will never eat animals again, but it's a moral choice each person needs to make for him- or herself, and it's not for me to say another person is bad for choosing to decide that eating animals is not a morally reprehensible thing to do. If you eat animals, that's your moral choice, and while I disagree with you about that choice, I'm not going to hold myself in higher moral regard, or disassociate myself from you because of it. (Lol, I wouldn't have many friends if I did that...)

As far as go the companies that farm and kill animals and market them as commodities for consumption, I do disagree with that. It's wrong to breed animals, make them and their offspring live in absolutely inhumane conditions, and then to slaughter them and sell them to make a profit, never considering that those animals might, once or twice in their short lives, like to maybe breathe air not tainted by the odors of the feces of their bodies and those of their cellmates, or, say, might want to stand up and turn around once in a while. It completely devalues life. I take far, far less issue with the eating of animals that were raised humanely, in conditions that are the opposite of those in the factory farms where most animals are raised for the American meat industry. Quality of life is important.

So in a small way, my moral standards are up against my desire for a steady paycheck. By proofreading this stuff that promotes the eating of factory-farmed animals, I feel complicit. I'm pretty sure that if I talked to my boss and said I was more than happy to work on other projects but that I find working on this one to be against my beliefs and moral code, he'd be cool with it and have someone else do it. He's a really great guy and very understanding. Also, his wife is a vegetarian. He knows that the people who choose to not eat animals usually do so because of strong convictions.

What stinks, though, is that my not doing the project isn't making any difference. It just means one of the other proofers will do it, and it will still get done, and there will be banner ads and websites and such, grammatically correct ones, out there tempting people to go buy this "product" (i.e. animal), take it home, grill it up, and consume it. My objection makes no difference. It just gives my coworkers more to do, which makes me feel guilty.

But dammit, I don't have to be the one to do this job. I don't.

This probably sounds like a bigger deal than it is. It's just a small blip on the long, tedious road of my employment at an advertising agency. (Thank you, oh mighty job market, for crashing just as I graduated college with a liberal arts degree.) It tosses a little more fuel on the fire of my longing to get out of here and do something more meaningful with my life.

It's somethin' to think about, anyway.

C'mon, snow...

15 Comments:

At December 08, 2005 10:59 AM, Blogger daviduskas said...

interesting, although I'm not a vegetarian.

check my blog...

 
At December 08, 2005 12:06 PM, Blogger HM said...

Eeww, you know, when you put it that way... makes me want to think twice about my food choices.

In my humble opinion: Give up the project, and don't feel guilty. If nothing else, at least you won't be personally responsible for that add campaign.

 
At December 08, 2005 12:33 PM, Blogger Sorted Lives said...

Your job may not be meaningful, but your photography brings much joy to this world and you should be VERY proud! You will definately leave your mark in this world -- and that is quite fabulous!!

 
At December 08, 2005 1:31 PM, Blogger Raehan said...

I would talk to your boss and just tell him that you are willing to do it, but you'd rather work on other projects that don't make you feel uncomfortable.

It won't make a difference in this project, but it will make you feel better about your job and that is worth a lot.

Maybe you can pick up some extra slack for your co-workers.

 
At December 08, 2005 2:11 PM, Blogger suleyman said...

When you get down to it, isn't all advertising evil? Isn't it all soul-sucking crap? I'm all for capitalism, but does it have to be so crass?

Enjoy the snow, you lucky... (mumbles under breath) :)

-Suley

 
At December 08, 2005 5:02 PM, Blogger Elemmaciltur said...

It hasn't snowed here since I last took the photos.

I think I might know a bit how you're feeling with that. I'm not a vegetarian...but I mean, I sometimes face the problem about feeling too small for this world to do anything. To be frank, I just had one such moment - one really bad one - about an hour ago. I cried myself off, and there are suddenly things that I just realised, which I never did before. But now, I'm up and trying to think positive....

I'm talking blah, am I not? Oh well....hope you're fine anyway! ;)

 
At December 08, 2005 6:41 PM, Blogger Mary said...

I admire you for having this be "something to think about" in your world. From a blip to a blogpost -- it means something to you. Good luck with that fire. :)

 
At December 08, 2005 6:50 PM, Blogger Hu said...

I like the new background!

-Hu

 
At December 08, 2005 9:58 PM, Blogger BG said...

I just catched up with your writings here. I have a little break in between finals and decided to do something less stressful than cramming for a test. I think if you take a stand on the job you've been assigned it would make a difference. At least it would make the ones around you think about the issue. I think it's important. Stand up for something.

I was also reading some stuff about blogs... http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6448213/did/10272868/

The ornaments you got from your mom are ADORABLE!!! The geek and the cop, huh? so cute!

And you might get snow soon. It snowed here last night and this morning.

 
At December 08, 2005 11:45 PM, Blogger The Great Saphenous said...

You have to stand up for your beliefs, J. No one else is going to do it for you. So what if someone else ends up doing the job? At least you will still have the moral satisfaction of knowing that you stood up for yourself.

And like I said, snow is overrated.

 
At December 08, 2005 11:45 PM, Blogger M said...

Gee, I've been a vegetarian for 11 years, and just reading your post makes me want to run out and have a big, raw, juicy steak...
I know how the job vs morals thing goes. I work in an industry that perpetually pollutes, destroys peoples livelihoods, and sometimes kills people.
It sucks that what interests me does not help me sleep at night...

 
At December 09, 2005 12:24 AM, Blogger Fitèna said...

Its refreshing and encouraging to find people standing up for their beliefs and convictions at these times. Bravo J*. I knew you were special, that why you have ME as a friend :-)

You're lucky your boss's wife is a vegetarian too. As for advertising business, never appealed to me. Telling lies is so boring.

Fitèna

 
At December 09, 2005 10:52 AM, Blogger Indigo said...

I don't think you are making a bigger deal out of it than you should.

Are you going to do it?

 
At December 10, 2005 2:48 AM, Blogger Adeline said...

I always think of that line from the the paul simon song..."the food we contemplate..." it is strange to eat food that you know how it came to your table and it is not something that is any longer natural or normal. Not when the animals are subjected to the conditions they are in. I don't think about the chickens as much as I think about the comment it makes on people, really. does that sound dumb? I think chickens are pretty stupid, but it damages my idea of humanity when i consider their conditions. It's other animals like cows that it bothers me, its also reading about the conditions in meat packing plants that is disturbing. And yet just the other night i ground up some round for my daughter so I could be assured she was getting the protein she needs and the iron and fat--she's kinda slender for a n 8 month old. So there is this disconnect.

I was vegetarian for several years. But I stopped. I am ok with eating meat now, but I watch it closely in our diet. I try to supplant with beans or other filling stuff as much as I can--or at least minimize the meat content and focus on the healthier meats. That doesn't mitigate, though, the conditions from which our meat comes from. Our economy is greedy. Efficiency is good, but at what price.

I dunno...I think you gotta do the right thing if its what you feel like you gotta do regardless of the feeling of futility. Because if enough people do that, then it makes a statement...hey look at the pharmacists who wont prescribe birth control...I may not agree with it, but in a way, I think it is good to bring awareness to these types of issues, regardless of how one feels. It seems you have already raised some awareness among your readers just by posting this.

good luck.

 
At December 10, 2005 8:23 AM, Blogger Christian said...

stick with your ideals and morals. by giving in...regardless of the "guilt" you might feel by placing more work on your fellow office mates...you become just one more "sheeple" in the herd. respect yourself, and others will follow.

 

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