To work or not to work, that is the question - (In a non-veg*n environment...) - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 12-03-2009, 11:07 AM
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I used to work in food retail. That was long before I became vegan - but I often wonder what I would do should the opportunity arise in the future to once again work for this establishment - or for that matter in any retail establishment that directly supports the meat industry.



I guess the conundrum lies in the fact that many food retail establishments now provide veg*n alternatives galore - so...what does one do? Is it horribly wrong to even consider this? Or does one do what one must to provide?



I had a friend who was the most left minded individual on the planet - and yet he worked for EXXON-Mobile!



How does one navigate this slippery slope and still stay true to their beliefs and ideals?

There is no such thing as truth. People who really know what happened aren't talking. And the people who don't have a clue, you can't shut them up. - Tom Waits
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#2 Old 12-03-2009, 11:34 AM
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Sure, we should be as true to our causes as we can, but heck even our taxes support the meat industry through government subsidation.



You could also look at it like this... Maybe a person who is a part of a company has more influence over it than a person who simply avoids it, thus a company with unethical business practices might be better off having within its ranks people who disapprove of what it is doing and have a desire to make improvements.



If you were to work as a smoked salmon buyer, for example, then perhaps you could focus on buying from suppliers that are more environmentally friendly than others. Though you might still be serving an industry that you disapprove of overall, you would be attempting to make improvements that someone else in the position might not be interested in making.

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#3 Old 12-03-2009, 01:45 PM
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You make some great points - thanks. Even small steps forward are still steps forward...

There is no such thing as truth. People who really know what happened aren't talking. And the people who don't have a clue, you can't shut them up. - Tom Waits
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#4 Old 12-03-2009, 01:50 PM
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I worked as a waitress for a non-vegetarian restaurant and café. We had a vegan lady staying for 14 days and left up to the chefs, she would have got roasted vegetables every single day (not exaggerating). I made her packed lunches because the chefs were stumped until I pointed out that peanut butter was vegan, and so was some of the dark chocolate they used. I also suggested several meals they could make for her, and I showed her (she was visiting from another country) what health shops she could go to for vegan food. There were a few other vegetarians or vegans that came just for one meal and I got them better meals than the chefs would have come up with by themselves. I hope they remember some of the things I suggested so that even though I don't work there now, they're being more imaginative and realising that vegan food isn't uninteresting to cook or eat.



So while I would always prefer to work somewhere that was in line with my ethics, you really can turn a bad situation round and make a positive difference. Even on a very small scale like me.
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#5 Old 12-03-2009, 01:59 PM
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That's just plain awesome. I've had some waitresses and chefs go out of their way here and there - but it always seems to be a tedious experience for all involved. Where were you?? That's way cool.

There is no such thing as truth. People who really know what happened aren't talking. And the people who don't have a clue, you can't shut them up. - Tom Waits
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#6 Old 12-03-2009, 08:08 PM
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Perhaps you could use the skills you acquired at the salmon purchasing job and apply them to a more vegan friendly line. The company you worked for- do they deal in veggies as well as fish? Grocery chains purchase a lot of vegetables. Someone has to buy it for them. Maybe it could be you.



I just quit a job partly because I couldn't reconcile the work I was doing with my beliefs. I was hauling frozen pizzas- tons of it- loaded with cheese, pepperoni, sausage, etc., cross country. Occasionally I would get to haul fresh veggies and sometimes even live landscaping plants, but unfortunately, that was the exception, not the rule. Mostly it was pizza and bulk cheese, so more pizza could be made. My plan now is to find work pulling a non-refrigerated trailer, so there will be no possibility of hauling meat or dairy. It's a baby step.

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#7 Old 12-04-2009, 07:38 AM
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Thanks for the suggestion. I am out of that business nowdays - but have often thought of returning in some capacity because the people I worked with were so awesome.



You are right though - baby steps. A personal revolution is still a revolution!

There is no such thing as truth. People who really know what happened aren't talking. And the people who don't have a clue, you can't shut them up. - Tom Waits
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#8 Old 12-04-2009, 10:24 AM
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I work at a wing place for a living. It also specializes in seafood and burgers. I'm a waitress, that's what I do for a living because I want to get my foot into restaurant management. I worked at a vegan place once, but I got fired for not having enough 'fine dining' experience. Apparently a lot of vegan places are like that (I've applied at three establishments in Manhattan). I figure it's impossible to live your life without some sort of ethical inconsistencies, which doesn't mean that your ethics should ebb and flow with the tide, it just means you should have reasonable expectations for yourself in a society in which the routine torture and suffering of animals is status quo.
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