June 22, 2006


A little afternoon exercise.

Let's say you are a healthcare provider working at a large, central city county hospital. You were not coerced into your employment situation, and, in fact, being that you work in the state's largest city, and being that this city is home to numerous other hospitals--some of which are next door to your current employer--if you did happen to feel you were being underpaid for the work you do, all things being equal it should NOT be difficult for you to find alternative employment at a higher wage.

Now then, let's say you know that the high school kids who volunteer to work at the hospital are given compensation in the form of a coupon for one free meal in the cafeteria. And further, you understand that free meal ticket is their sole compensation.

When it comes to your attention that one of the volunteers does not use her free meal ticket, do you:

A. Figure she just must not be hungry and not worry about it.

B. Worry that she might not be eating a healthy lunch and encourage her to eat something she won't get sick, and if she still says no, not worry about it.

C. Decide that since she's not using the ticket, you should have it.

If you answered C., upon the volunteer's refusal to ask for a ticket from her supervisor, then turn around and give it to you, do you:

A. Decide that since you do get paid, it would be unfair to take something that you did not deserve and did not work for, and apologize for asking.

B. Begin berating the volunteer and telling her that she should give you the ticket anyway, and continue in this manner for several minutes until one of your fellow employees tells you to stop.

If you answered B., The Possumblog Ethics-o-Meter says "You are just a sorry no-account excuse for a person, and obviously have no shame."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at June 22, 2006 12:59 PM

Nothing like pitching a hypothetical teenage volunteer into the world of swine, huh? Of course, perhaps being berated by people without just cause will make positive changes in the behavior of a hypothetical teenager.

Posted by: Jordana at June 22, 2006 02:34 PM

Well, one would hope, but the capacity of a 16-year-old for self-delusion about ethical matters is quite high, and while she might rightly dislike having this situation happen to her, it is no guarantee that she would not turn around and try it on someone else.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at June 22, 2006 02:42 PM

So where is the surprising literary part of this story?

Posted by: jim at June 22, 2006 04:47 PM

Not much to add to it, except that the volunteer in question got to see first-hand how off-putting the entitlement mentality is.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at June 22, 2006 05:03 PM