April 2013 EQ

The Scenario

School is drawing to a close and Amber is looking for a job. She’s been looking for a summer job for weeks, just to have a little extra money. She comes across an ad in the local paper for a position busing tables that says, “experience preferred but not necessary” and decides that she will apply. As she circles the ad her roommate comes in from her job busing tables in the campus cafeteria. She laments to Amber that she has been looking for a summer job so she can afford to buy her books for next semester and asks Amber to let her know if she hears of anything. Clearly she needs the money and is more qualified than Amber is. Would it be wrong not to tell her about the ad?

The Winner

Michael Costanzo, SGPS student, Creative Writing

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This is certainly a difficult situation and Amber could feel bad about either decision regardless of the outcome. However, there are a few things to keep in mind: 1) Amber's roommate already has a job and it appears that Amber does not. While her friend will not have the job during the summer, at least she is making some money right now. 2) Amber found the ad. The roommate has just as much of an opportunity to find the ad, or any ad for that matter. It is not Amber's job to find her friend a job. 3) Amber needs the work, but doesn't seem as strapped for cash as her friend, who needs the money for books whereas Amber claims to want it "just to have a little extra money." 4) Amber's roommate clearly has more experience.

While ethically there is nothing wrong with Amber keeping the job listing to herself (she found it and she currently doesn't have a job while her roommate does) it would be a sad and selfish decision to not mention it to the roommate. Taking into account all of the above, Amber should definitely tell her roommate about the job listing. It is a suggestion; there is no guarantee that Amber's roommate will even consider it (although she most likely will). Even if she does decide to pursue the job listing, Amber can still apply as well and the best person for the position will get the job. Nothing is preventing both of them from applying for the same job; perhaps both will be hired, one based on skill and the other from the recommendation of the other. But ultimately, Amber should recognize that her friend needs it more than her and has already committed a lot of time and effort to work. Amber's roommate needs a good friend to give her a tip to help her out and Amber shouldn't ignore that.

To sum it up: it's not "wrong" to keep the job listing to herself, but she should definitely tell her friend as there is no harm in doing so and her roommate clearly needs it more than she does. It is better to keep your options open rather than burning bridges with deceit and selfishness. Amber can tell her then still apply herself. After that, who gets the job is based on performance and ability.