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This Ship Is Sinking. Can I Jump to a Client’s?

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Ethics of Self-Preservation

You will not harm your employer by taking a new job with one of its clients. You are not responsible for your employer’s demise. If the roles were reversed, it would not offer you a fraction of the consideration you are offering. It is a job, and maybe you love it, but as I have said many times before, it will not and cannot love you back. If there are no noncompete issues (which may not matter anyway, as the Federal Trade Commission banned noncompetes last week), by all means, take a job with a client. If the client asks why you’re leaving your agency, you’re welcome to offer a diplomatic answer — or you can tell the truth. This is not an ethical quandary. It would be unethical only if, for example, you took a position with a client and then shared proprietary information about your former employer or its other clients.


The Overly Conscientious Boss

Though you meant well, you did make a mistake. In the future, you can certainly tell members of your team you are going to push for raises, but don’t give them exact numbers until you know what those numbers are. In this instance, you set your team up for disappointment, and that’s what you’re seeing right now. I’m not sure if you should follow up. It may just deepen any resentment they’re feeling — a bit of salt in the wound. They probably don’t care about your good intentions right now. The best path forward is to learn from this misstep. And don’t be too hard on yourself. You were acting from a good place. I’d also think of some other ways you can show your team how much you value its hard work.


Too-Many-Ideas Guy

People like this strategist thrive in the workplace because they come up with “interesting” ideas and don’t trouble themselves with how those ideas come to fruition. Management focuses on the ideas, valuing quantity perhaps over quality, and doesn’t really care who executes the ideas so long as they are executed. Of course this is exhausting, particularly because it seems that the strategist is throwing things at the wall to see what sticks.

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