Choose Your Principles Over Your Paycheck

Don’t let fear of being terminated from your job result in you surrendering your principles.  Some people are willing to capitulate who they are just to keep their paycheck.  While it’s a reality that you need a paycheck to survive, there are other employers who can supply you with a paycheck than the employer who currently does.  I have witnessed too many individuals who will do the wrong things just to be viewed as doing the right things in eyes of their supervisors.  While there is certainly nothing wrong with treating your supervisor with respect, he or she is not your master.

Too many people are allowing themselves to be enslaved by their supervisors.  When one relies too heavily upon capitalist ideology without engaging in critical thinking, the individual will begin to view himself or herself as being powerless at his or her place of employment.  The individual will feel that what one’s supervisor says must be done—no matter how wrong it is.

If your supervisor is mistreating you and/or requiring you to do something that the law safeguards you from, you don’t have to accept what your supervisor is doing to you.  The law is on your side against reckless supervisors who abuse their power.

Stop running around kissing your supervisor’s butt!

When you let someone take advantage of you all of the time, he or she will continue to take advantage of you.  It’s up to you to break this cycle.  People think that when they run around and kiss their supervisor’s butt their supervisor is going to appreciate them more—that’s foolishness!  Wake up!  If you’ve been doing great work for a long time and your supervisor does not already appreciate you, what makes you think kissing his or her butt is going to make him or her appreciate you?

What you say matters.  Therefore, stop calling your supervisor “boss.”  Your supervisor is not your ruler—he or she just gives you a paycheck.  You’re a liberated American who does not have to dance to the tune of your supervisor.  When they made one job, they made another one.  When they made one paycheck, they made another one.  Remember this the next time you find yourself acting all fake around your supervisor.

When you don’t like something that your supervisor says or does, then let him or her know it.  Too many people just fuss about their mistreatment at their jobs at their kitchen tables, but they are unwilling to make the public aware of the injustices that take place in the workplace.  What you say at your kitchen table is not going to matter if it’s not concatenated with meaningful action.

Be willing to give up your supervisor and not your principles.  Principles matter!  If you will allow your supervisor to say and do anything just to keep a paycheck, then you’re making it easy for your employer to exploit you.  People who are principled individuals will not willingly accept exploitation.  They vehemently fight exploitation, especially from those who are in positions of power.

Your values and beliefs that define you are more important than the paycheck you’re currently receiving.  You can get another job.  You didn’t have a job before you got your current one.  While I can understand for those of you who live from paycheck to paycheck can believe that receiving your paycheck is a matter of survival, I encourage you to look for potential employment elsewhere and consider ways you can advance yourself, including furthering your education, to significantly diminish your worries about losing your current job.

Don’t be a prostitute for your employer!

If your supervisor extends a contract to you that has a stipulation in it that tramples your constitutional rights, don’t be a fool and accept that contract as is.  If you’re going to accept the contract, indicate that your signature does not represent a relinquishing of any safeguards guaranteed by the Constitution.  Your life is more valuable than any paycheck.

Of course, I’m not advocating for you to be a reckless person at your job who is rude to everyone for no reason.  However, when your supervisor is not being fair to you, don’t accept this inequity just to keep your paycheck coming in without any problems.  When your supervisor feels like he or she can do anything to you, your paycheck is not safe in the first place.  Therefore, you need to be proactive to not only protect your paycheck but also to protect your principles.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison


  1. Amen to this, I won’t even pull out my soap box on entrepreneurship for those who are truly done with being taken advantage of but I just saw a movie called Horrible Bosses that drove the point home that people tend to stick it out through abuse a tad too long. This country is loaded with opportunity, LOADED, you just have to snatch it from the trees. Once you value your worth, know you are good at what you do and are hungry enough to get your just dues, you won’t stick through someones BS for a paycheck.

    People are probably going to come on and say that they are stuck due to being the bread winner, but regardless of what is going on in your life it isn’t slavery, you have a choice.

    Many people, hell most people stick it out because of laziness, and the fear of change. Be honest if you think you’re stuck at your job, is your resume even up to date? Do you have your feelers out there to know where there is a need for your job type? Most people I know throwing the “I can’t leave” stuff back at me will answer “no” to all of this, “because I don’t have the time to do all that”… yet they’re plugging hours away on the Playstation network. Fughoudahere.

    1. Know your worth
    2. Excel at your job
    3. Sell out if it’s not your while.

    The opportunity is always in your hands. And for the love of god build a network outside of work; moving on is sometimes as simple as calling someone you used to work with. Mad Men watchers you can look to Peggy Olsen for this very example when she quit last episode. It’s always up to you.

    Awesome article!

    1. Thank you so much, Greg! At the end of the day, those who feel like they are stuck at their current job have allowed complacency to consume them. Your response to this article is outstanding. It’s so outstanding that it can serve as a standalone article itself. I very much appreciate you for reading and your valuable response.

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