Sunday, January 18, 2009


Jeff Jagodzinski, the football coach for Boston College, recently interviewed for a job as coach of the New York Jets, a higher-paying job in professional football. He had been warned by the college's athletic director, Gene DeFilippo, that he would be fired if he interviewed for the Jets job, but did so anyway and was fired shortly thereafter. He apparently will not get the job with the Jets.

Jagodzinski was under contract to Boston College, but it is not unusual for college coaches under contract to leave for NFL jobs. Do you think it's right to fire someone, with or without a warning, for interviewing for another job? Or is an employee entitled to seek to better him/herself?

Post your thoughts here by clicking on "comments" or "post a comment" below. Please include your name, hometown, and state, province, or country. Readers' comments may appear in an upcoming column. Or e-mail your comments to me at

You can also respond to the poll about this question that will appear on the right-hand side of the blog until polling is closed.

Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business (Smith Kerr, 2006), is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics. He is also the administrator of The Right Thing, a Web log focused on ethical issues.

Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to or to "The Right Thing," The New York Times Syndicate, 500 Seventh Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10018. Please remember to tell me who you are, where you're from, as well as where you read the column.

c.2009 The New York Times Syndicate (Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate)


Anonymous said...

Whoa there big feller.... this is America and since when is it not legal to better one self as long as it is done on your time not company time! I never said to any of my employees NO and if you can better yourself, go for it. I also gave them a list of things we provide to make sure they were comparing apples to apple. Interesting never lost one employee after one year employment. Our oldest is with us 27 years and our 3 newest people are all over 6 years. 15 employees total.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure the whole story is out there on this. Supposedly Zagodzinski and Defillipo were such great friends and as Jeffrey points out, in America, it is common for coaches to try to better themselves. If all we are talking about is, did Zago do a stupid thing when he didn't even know if his new job would work out and went ahead and applied for it anyway, then "yes", he was stupid. But, Defillipo was kind of an ass for making good with his promise to fire Mr. Zago. Something doesn't add up here, there's more to the story that didn't come out. The bottom line is, Zago knew who he was dealing with and went ahead with his interview, so he has no one to blame but himself. Did he actually think that DeFillipo was making an idle threat? Again, something doesn't add up here.

Charlie Seng
Lancaster, SC

Anonymous said...

I thought termination was based mostly on job performance, not spite. Employment is a two way exchange, (considerations given to both sides) but should threats be a part of that exchange? "You CONSIDER leaving me and I WILL be sure you are sorry." Put my vote in the WRONG column please.

Jean, Yorba Linda CA