On March 14, Greg Smith, former Goldman Sachs executive director, resigned from his position through a public column in The New York Times disgracing one of the world’s largest investment banks.
He claimed Goldman Sachs’ values changed since he began working for the firm straight out of college. Smith noted a few key points as to why he was resigning. One being the company was simply focused on making money for the firm and not making decisions on what was best for the clients. Smith said leadership used to be about “ideas, setting an example and doing the right thing.” Now he saw leadership within the company as whoever makes the most money will be promoted.
The New York Times provides an online section for students to comment on specific topics called The Learning Network, Teaching and Learning with The New York Times. They asked a very important question related to this column: “Would you quit if your values did not match your employers?”
I think it’s a topic we as college students should talk about.
I hope all of us are able to work for a company we respect and value, but sometimes this isn’t always the case, especially in today’s economy when most of us are happy to be employed. Sometimes people end up working for a company that doesn’t have the best values at heart. You never know if the culture within a company will change. Smith didn’t know that the company he loved so much would adapt to a money-only focused business.
We have all heard of numerous companies with lawsuits, going bankrupt and making unethical decisions time after time. But would you quit your job? Most people who would want to quit working for an unethical company may not have the courage to do so. It would be scary to quit a job if you are financially unstable or don’t have another job lined up. It would be a risk some can’t afford to take. Then there are people who just go along with certain tactics or follow specific guidelines even if they don’t agree with them as part of the “groupthink.” But in the long run, working for a company without the values you believe in will not make your career a happy one.
As we start our careers after graduation, it would be wise to make sure the company we work for has values that agree with our own. And if the company changes throughout your employment, it is best to follow your own heart and make a decision based on what you believe is right. Smith did and I think others will too. To read Smith’s opinion, visit nytimes.com/2012/03/14/opinion/why-i-am-leaving-goldman-sachs.html?_r=1&hp. n