Sometimes Being Smart Is Just Snarky...

I was sitting in a small, windowless classroom, twiddling my thumbs as she spoke. The reason for coming to alumni presentations like this one was, well, the free pizza with (hopefully) a side of relevant advice to dip it in.

For delicious dipping sauce, she had none. The presentation was bland. I could tell she was bored with herself.

When she was finished running through her career trajectory in the form of textual powerpoint slides, I asked:

“How have ethics played into your career decisions?”

She’d worked at a defense company, determining the profitability of weaponizing in certain ways. She’d worked in big pharma, crunching the numbers to ensure the “house” would win.

She balked at my question. I don’t think she understood it.

She answered with a weird twist, “Ethics have never been in question for me. I’ve always told the truth on my resume and in interviews.”


The whole thing struck me as incongruent. She hadn’t ever thought about the ethical implications of her work, only the money. She even admitted it that money was her main driver.

That’s what probably led to her noticeable boredom as she rifted about her career path, I thought.

Yet never once did it occur to me that I was just being this brash, idealistic, privileged college student. It never occurred to me that I’d passed judgment on someone that I knew absolutely nothing about.

Sometimes we think we are doing good by questioning the “meaning” behind someone’s words or decisions. We think we are doing service by pointing out the flaws in their logic.

And sometimes, when we are only looking at a portion of the story, we are just being ass holes. This instance is one of the latter.

Not cool, Kate. Not cool.

Kate Ward