Funny how when one thinks of work these days it’s not often that you find a lot of ethics in it.
In fact to some (myself included) its difficult to consider the two together. Like who hasn’t thought that to be a successful business man one has to grease a few hands? Or that in order to win a million dollar contract one should use dirty tactics?
On a more related note I’m surprised how, while on the job, a lot of my work involves making sure that if others start pointing fingers at me I’m protected by a well documented path of approvals and emails signed off by clients or showing that I had done the right thing in the first place.
In less flattering language it’s known as protecting ones ass. And I absolutely hate it.
I hate it because it increases the amount of work that I have to do. I hate it because it takes up time that could be otherwise used more constructively elsewhere. I hate it lastly because in this day and age you can’t work with others without doing it.
Because even if you are an honest person who treats everyone morally the next person you deal with may not treat you in the same way. And the thing that holds up better in a court of law is (sadly) the black and white.
You might think that they guy you’re working with is on your side or even a friend but when a mistake is made you’ll know how much of a ‘friend’ he or she is by the difference in tone between what they say and what they write.
No one wants to go down because of the mistakes of another. Nor do I believe there are many who would deliberately cause the downfall of another (perhaps a sad reflection of my own naïveté). But it saddens me that there is little room for loyalty or morals in the working world as the strong trample the weak and exploit the helpless. It’s tragedy at its best if you ask me which is not a good thing at all.
My bosses do have a relatively strong view on ethics, of which I am thankful for. During a recent meeting I was pleased to hear my boss implore the contractor to be honest and open for a change where they been secretive and evasive.
Later she admitted to me that it was the first time she’d done something like that during a meeting. Evidently she’d been pushed to such a point where she was exasperated with the antics that the contractor was using to put on a front but masking all the problems that were going on behind the scenes.
Their story might end tragically but it’s taught me a lot.
Cheating might give you the upper end in some situations, obscuring the truth might also get you through many of life’s challenges and even earn you quite some mulahs along the way. But in the end a lot of these dubious practices do end up with broken people.
Doing things the right way is a painful process, full of exercises in perseverance and patience but ultimately this matters most: you get to sleep peacefully at night.