Don’t be a whistleblower without a very large whistle


If you have not seen the video of the Lockheed Martin whistleblower, here it is.

It’s a great video, and you really need to stay for the end when, after laying out his accusations and the lists of Lockheed and government people who have not paid heed to his warnings, he asks for a lawyer.

Of course a million will be calling because he has a wrongful termination suit against Lockheed.

But look, I have said this before, and I’ll say it again, (with less patience, no doubt): Don’t be a whistleblower. It’ll ruin your career.

Don’t talk to me about the rare circumstance when you are at dinner with the Secretary of State and she admits that the US government is systematical killing small children in a European country. This is the exception to the rule. Yes, of course if this happens to you, call the Washington Post or your favorite subversive blogger.

But 99% of you work in situations where the world does not care about your employer’s ethical transgressions. And many of you are so low level (sorry) that the stuff you’d whistle blow about is not nearly as significant as you being unemployable in your industry, which is what will happen.

I’m all for being an upstanding citizen. But we each have a lot of methods for doing that. Each day of your life you could tutor an underprivileged child and make the world a better place. But most of us choose not to do that. So get off your high and mighty stance about how you absolutely must be a whistleblower because of a moral obligation.

Just get out of the company. Find a job somewhere else, skip your exit interview, and make sure that you are never the person using your power to force unethical behavior on someone else.

6 replies
  1. Monique
    Monique says:

    I disagree. A friend is faced with an uncomfortable situation where she has discovered her boss is embezzling money. She is an accountant and her fiduciary obligation and responsibility imposes that she investigate or convey her “suspicions” to her superior. If we turn and look the other way, this behavior only perpetuates and allows acceptance for wrongful behavior.

  2. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    Monique –
    I agree with yoiur point that we should all try to save the world when we can.

    The first piece I wrote about the whistleblowing is about how it does not make sense to me to lose a job in order to make the world a better place. People with power change the world. Stay employed and get some power.

  3. Andy
    Andy says:

    This is good advice. I worked for a company for the better part of a decade. I found that my supervisor was ripping off the company for hundreds of thousands of dollars and I had solid evidence. I went to his boss (district Manager) and showed him my evidence and I was told what a valuable asset I was to the company and I would no doubt climb the latter. Wrong. I was hauled into my boss's office the next day and was fired for insubordination. All of the evidence I submitted was changed by the district manager to show me as the guilty party. That’s right! The district manager I reported to was in on the scam. Don't blow the whistle to an internal source, they might be in on it and it could cost your career.

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