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I was offered an interesting job working on some cool new technology connected to location and positioning for Huawei's consumer cell phones.

I'd like to accept the offer, but I'm concerned that subsequent employers would look at a candidate who spent time at Huawei and wonder if they're some kind of spy. I value integrity and would never do something like that. Moreover, while I have no reason to suspect that I would be asked to do something unethical at Huawei, should that arise I would quit immediately.

What does everyone think? Would I get blacklisted for accepting this job?

closed as off-topic by gnat, IDrinkandIKnowThings, sf02, J. Chris Compton, mag Feb 12 at 17:11

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    @JoeStrazzere I agree - there's at least some risk involved, though, so this is a legitimate question. – EJoshuaS - Reinstate Monica Feb 10 at 22:17
  • @JoeStrazzere backlisted by whom I suspect that anyone working for Huawei is going to be on a list – Neuromancer Feb 10 at 23:52
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It's hard to know for sure. Most people who are old enough to remember it know about the Enron/Arthur Andersen scandal. Unless I missed something, I haven't been able to find any evidence that former employees of those companies had any more trouble than normal finding new jobs. In fact, one company even went as far as to bring the Arthur Andersen name back 15 years later.

One difference, of course, is that it was common knowledge that the misconduct (at least at Enron) was limited to upper management and that "low-level" employees were victims, too. In the case of Huawei, though, as far as I can tell, the individual who was arrested for spying in Poland wasn't an especially high-level employee. Some of the news coverage has definitely implied that spying was pervasive and included even relatively low-level employees; if that's the case, then being seen as a participant is a legitimate risk. Even if people know at some level that most people who work for the company were innocent, if people have a negative association even at a subconscious level it could be harmful.

One other thing to consider: Huawei's regulatory troubles introduces a higher risk of layoffs (and other finance-related problems) if Western companies ban them from working in their countries. That could cause them to struggle financially, or to be forced to shut down a large number of projects that were related to banned products.

So yes, there is at least some risk of that happening.

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    In Arthur Andersen's case, other Big firms essentially bought whole client teams so many regular employees left work one day as Andersen, came back the next as Deloitte/E&Y or whoever. Andersen Consulting was completely rebranded, though it had been operations almost autonomously for some time before that. – Johns-305 Feb 10 at 21:58
  • True but the effect of working for a "problem child company" is not the same as working for some accounting company which is not CNI – Neuromancer Feb 10 at 23:46
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I can’t give a definitive answer and doubtfully can anyone else, but if you google search “does+being+employed+by+a+company+with+a+scandal+hurt+you”, the top results all indicate it can.

Forbes

Money.com

Harvard Business Review and another

Couple this with how you might feel about a company when scandal occurs and it’s easy to see why.

Example: I despise a well known financial institution and want to see them razed (even though I’ve never directly been affected) because of the multiple times they’ve been caught doing wrong to their own customers; I would certainly judge people that worked there harshly. This might be wrong of me, but with mass corruption proven to have existed, how could you know who is honorable and trustworthy?

  • At some level, this goes back to my point: it's a little different working for a company like Enron where only the upper management was on the take and working for a company where the corruption was so pervasive that even the rank and file is going along with it en masse. The second kind of company probably would be a black mark to work for because of the guilt by association factor. – EJoshuaS - Reinstate Monica Feb 11 at 2:43

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