How Do You Justify Working in E-Commerce When You’d Rather Not?

Someone on Quora asked:

“How do you morally justify working in e-commerce when there’s so much economic inequality in the US and you’d rather work in a non-profit? I feel more fulfilled working in a non-profit, even though there are more jobs in the e-commerce/tech sector.”

This was my response:

You can make a bigger influence earning $150,000 a year and donating away half your salary to causes you believe in as opposed to doing the work yourself.


I have no clue how to make a water well, however $1,500 is enough to set one up in a third world country. I could take $75,000 and maybe build two with my own hands in the course of a few years, or I can take that same amount of money, give it to a charity that knows what they’re doing. Then that 501(c)3 would be able to make 50 water wells with the same amount of money it cost you to make two.

It’s better to give the experts who are fully aware of how to utilize the money donations as opposed to participating directly in something that has many things that could be overlooked.

If I made 50 water wells in third world countries every year, I think I would be able to live with myself for selling something unnecessary on the internet, like cookies or clothes.

Originally posted on Quora.

Leonard Kim consults startups and writes books like The Etiquette of Social Media: How to Connect and Respond to Others in the World of Social Media


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