is it better to be right or employed?
For the small day to day irritations, maybe it's better to be employed. Maybe. For the big issues it's better to be right - assuming being "right" means being true your standards and ethics and values.
Before you decide it's better to be employed, ask yourself what's going to happen when your boss asks you (out the side of her mouth) to alter that query for the annual report ever so slightly so that a "small problem" gets put to one side for the time being? Try explaining to the judge that you were just following orders. If your boss is smart she won't put it in writing and you're on your own.
Many years ago I was asked verbally to "optimise" data in order to take advantage of a particular government funding stream. Even as a pimply-faced callow youth I knew it stank so I said "I'm happy to do what ever you give me clear written instructions to do." Nothing more came of it. A few years later I read in the paper that staff at a similar organisation had been sacked for doing much the same thing that I had baulked at. The organisation had been caught with its hand in the government cookie jar and do you think it was management that carried the can? Of course not, it was the expendable plebs at the bottom of the food chain that got the boot because there was no paper trail and they did not question the verbal instructions they had been given.
So what's a "big issue"? Well, anything that smacks remotely of fraud is a good starting point. Trouble is that so few people involved with data (whether entry, administration or reporting) know what fraud is. In my part of the world (can't speak for anything more widely than that) you don't have to receive a cash (or any other tangible) benefit to be guilty of committing fraud. Any sort of intangible benefit you might get for misrepresenting the actual state of affairs can be deemed to be fraud. For example you might be trying to impress your boss to set yourself up for a nice promotion down the track, if you produce data that makes your boss look good. You'll be seen as "compliant" and "cooperative" and "helpful". Once you buy into that sort of behaviour at any level though, you can easily become trapped. Just don't do it. Sure, by “being right” you might miss a few promotions and you may even be encouraged to leave if you get a reputation for being difficult, but if you're both diligent and principled you will be employable. Maybe you won't get the fancy new convertible or the bragging rights over your friends, or the beachside villa. At the end of the day, who cares?
:-)One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important.