Ethical conflict with product

I don’t have a degree, but I have been working in tech for a while in tier 2 and tier 2 support roles as well as project support. After that, I got a break as a PO, but the pay was terrible. Then, about six months ago, I got a break as a PM in the gambling industry, but the ethical aspect is making me sick to my stomach.

Have any of you faced ethical issues with your products? I wanted to work in product so badly that I took the first job I could get, but because I work in gambling, which involves gambling, I have moral questions about it because of my family’s history. How do you guys handle that?


This week, I canceled an interview after learning more about the company and deciding that I couldn’t face the mirror in the morning if I knew I was contributing to the accomplishment of their mission. I will admit that I have a bit more professional experience than you do given the position.

However, no amount of money can compensate for a lack of ethics. I would look around to see what else is available if you can’t wake up each morning feeling proud (or at least neutral) about what you’re bringing into the world. You might be surprised.


I completely agree with @GaryHouston. In my role as a PM, I’ve encountered a few ethical challenges; luckily, my company has taken note of my concerns and has come down on my side. But there were a few that I was willing to fight for. I have to accept who I am. And I doubt that I could have done so if I had moved ahead. I don’t know if I would have had a different perspective if I didn’t have a lot of security and safety, though.


What was their mission BTW?


Although I’m sure this is not how they would describe their mission, I would characterize it as concentrating media power with the intention of spreading far-right ideology as fact. I don’t want to describe it in such a way that the company would be identifiable.


Personally, I don’t believe that, as a general rule, you should let a secondary event that occurred to someone else hold you back.

However, if you’re going into your job believing that you’re harming people and disliking what you’re doing, you won’t stick around for very long and might want to look elsewhere.

In my honest opinion, you should probably seek therapy to deal with your guilt; however, if you find it difficult to do so, depart from the situation.


This is something I would consider a career building block. While making choices in this role, try to uphold your ethical and moral standards, but don’t let that stop you from succeeding. You might be able to find another job after about a year in this one, and you could easily use this as a justification for trying to leave that job and look for a different one.


You can’t stand gambling ethically, so it’s eating you up. Being a successful PM for a product you don’t believe in and want to see succeed seems difficult to me.


I’m not completely against gambling, but I have seen family members become dependent on it and ruin their lives. Although I don’t think about that once I enter the office and only focus on the product and its efficiency, the moment I leave the job, that thought does come to mind.

I am completely capable of going there and giving the game my all, but once I get home, my persona changes and I start to consider the negative effects of what I do.


The obvious next question is how long you can put up with it. Although it seems like this product won’t work for you in the long run, if you can put up with it now, you can gain the knowledge and abilities you’ll need to be a strong candidate for future PM positions.

Perhaps having that mindset will improve your ability to sleep. Realizing that this is only a temporary launching pad for other opportunities.


@BethanyGrey, look, if you have an ethical disagreement that interferes with your ability to sleep or survive, then stop.

Where do you draw the line when it comes to feeling bad? Through YouTube, Google is promoting Qanon, and Facebook is disseminating false information (both are worse, in my opinion, than gambling).

However, gambling is just a game, so maybe avoid playing video games.


Do you believe that it is immoral for people to produce alcohol because some people are predisposed to becoming alcoholics and because of circumstances in their personal lives?

I doubt you intentionally create features that are addictive. If anything, you ought to be using this experience to motivate you and improve the final product. Make a list of the users you want to avoid as well as your target users, and design features with both of those groups in mind.

Working in these challenging environments and drawing the line between what is and isn’t acceptable is some of the most difficult and important work you can do.


Practically speaking, you must therefore buy food and pay rent. Beyond that, I wouldn’t work in situations where the value sets were incompatible. Everyone’s line is different, but for me, it would be cannabis and alcohol. I wouldn’t work in gambling, tobacco, or weapons (and have in both). Stick to your principles, but avoid losing yourself in the process, is my advice.


So, practically, you must buy food and pay rent. Beyond that, I wouldn’t work in situations where the value sets were incompatible. Everyone’s line is different, but for me, it would be cannabis and alcohol. I wouldn’t work in gambling, tobacco, or weapons (and have in both). Stick to your principles, but avoid losing yourself in the process, is my advice.


Products of all kinds need to be managed. You must draw the line there, no matter where you decide to do so. There are phone apps available that encourage users to use them by using addictive and gambling techniques. Perhaps those lines are of the same nature for you. Knowing oneself.

You’re going to be a depressed puppy if you wake up every morning regretting that you put a dollar sign before your own sense of morality. Being motivated by money is not wrong. It won’t last long, though, to be so driven by money that you consistently act in a way that you believe to be wrong.

I advise you to take advantage of the opportunity to learn as much as you can from the role before moving on or staying to identify the strengths of your work. There is something about our jobs that each of us dislikes. However, each of us has a personal motivator for our work. That positive aspect turns into an internal motivator that aids in quality work.

Good Luck.


Find a new job and act honestly (without sounding too negative). Your account is passable. Really wanted to progress to the product and was having a blast, but she developed ethical concerns and would rather work somewhere else.

It’s also acceptable if this is the only 6-month gap in your resume and you remain with the new employer for about two years.

As others have stated, one year would improve your CV and make it easier for you to find work. This is your call.

But I completely understand, I used to work for a dubious company (that turned out to become a major fraud scandal after my departure). I’m currently working on automation, which is risky but okay in my opinion. At the moment, I’m haphazardly looking for something better, but with high standards (preferably AI, but something that advances humanity, not surveillance, marketing, fintech, e-commerce, legal, or military/police).


What are you gaining up from your job? Make a list of your goals and, if you can, take small steps in the right direction. However, set a deadline for yourself to find a new position. Ethical misalignment is a challenging situation, but you will feel better once you realize that you don’t have to continue in the position and that you are going to work toward your exit strategy. After learning that the company was involved in transactions that I disagreed with, I left interviews. At night, you want to have a good night’s sleep.

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On this, you ought to act according to your ethics and heart. And you might come to regret how you handled this po role as you get older. As a corralle user previously stated, “design it for the persona you want to use it not the addicted person,” this is how you can “follow your ethics.” Please feel free to express your product vision in the following manner: “Make this gambling product interesting, fun, balanced, and not overly dangerously addictive” or a more marketing-oriented variation of this.

If your superiors disagree with your vision, there will undoubtedly be an ethical conflict because their vision and yours are at odds. If they don’t support your more ethical vision, you won’t be able to implement it.