When I was young, I had one of those moms who was loving, sweet, patient, and taught me all those wonderful things a lot of kids are not privileged to learn. She taught me the value of being loving to all people, and to love unconditionally. She taught me how to act with moral respect, and meet certain good ethical standards of demonstrating fairness, dignity, and respecting the individual rights of others not to act in those ways.
As I grew into womanhood, I met many people who did not have the same belief system, and who had no real pride in themselves exampled by the way they treated others. However, for the most part, I found that the place I lived was filled with kind and helpful people. I was raised in Indiana, where they coined the phrase, “Hoosier Hospitality”. I experienced this many times with flat tires, car wrecks, and stressors of life when others, most I did not know, reached out and helped me with all their heart.
Unfortunately, my current work place, in another state, is one of those places where I have encountered behaviors that I find unethical, and actions that my mother would have spanked me for.
In this place of business, we work on a quota based system of completion of work. In one instance, last week, my work was stolen from me and another took credit for it, followed by a supervisor that excused that behavior, and I was hurt and very angry. My supervisor apologized but stated there was no recompense because there was no violation of any company policy. I was perplexed by this “law of the jungle” mentality in an advanced society. I thought hard about why people find it necessary to use others, or take advantage of others in order to advance their work or position in life. Then I searched for definitions of ethics, morality, and the behaviors attached to those beliefs.
I found the definition of morality, listed by Webster as: “The differentiation of actions or behaviors between those that are distinguished as proper or improper”. The definition of Ethics followed as: “Ethical behavior tends to be good for business and involves demonstrating respect for moral behavior of honesty, fairness, equality, dignity, diversity, and personal rights.” But I didn’t really have to look those things up to know the difference between right and wrong, because I was held to a high moral and ethical code of honesty and love taught by my mother and father.
I also know from my childhood lessons that people who treat others poorly to advance their own position in life are to be pitied. Those people have a poor self-respect, identity issues, and usually a spirit that lacks depth that makes it impossible to be appreciative of others. Understanding does not resolve my anomosity toward this person’s actions, nor will it prevent him/her from doing unethical or immoral acts to others. However, understanding can help me to be proud that I have enough education, personal ethics,and enough morality that I will not stoop to any actions that drop me to that person’s level of indignant behavior. Age does that, makes you mindful of your actions.
I also have gained an understanding that I have a choice. I have a choice whether to accept the consequences of someone’s bad behavior or to stand up against it or remove myself from it. I will do both. I began searching for another place to work, which is an unfortunate because I was starting to like my job. Someone told me, “You will find unethical behavior everywhere you go.” Yes, I guess that is possible. However, I have to decide what kind of behavior I will tolerate or condone, and what kind of treatment I will allow to effect my life. I have chosen not to work hard for a company that allows and even encourages unethical behavior in order to advance the financial bottom line. That decision has led me to some great opportunities within 24 hours of making that mindful choice.
I have to meet my maker some day to be judged for every single indiscretion in which I knowingly turned my head and did not do anything to right a wrong, or help another. I have to face judgement for actions that define my weakest moments when I was not at my best. I have been successful in many areas of my life because of my values and my honesty. I have chosen to take a sometimes hard road but have never been disappointed by the blessings that God has given me as a result of my choices. Unlike those who find success by standing on the backs of others, I chose to rise above with pride and hard work, and I can look in the mirror and never feel ashamed.