A while ago, at work, a situation came up that left me uneasy. I met with my colleagues and my boss, and it became apparent that it left us all uneasy, and as my boss said “that’s not the kind of business we do”, I realized that I worked in the right place.
I was glad we all agreed, because I wasn’t sure what I was going to do if we couldn’t agree, if I was the only one who said “I don’t like the way this feels. This isn’t the kind of business I want to be in, the kind of consultant that I want to be”. I love my job, but I could not have stayed. As it was, it was a completely moot point, because everyone agreed we weren’t those people and the matter was over. I didn’t even have to marshall my arguments.
I’m working with a third party on something, and it’s that same feeling.
The older I get (ha, ha) the more I realize, it’s not just about your ethics when no one is looking, when a party doesn’t have the capacity to realize what you have done, it is *especially* about your ethics then.
It is especially about when you look and you say “sure, I could do this. They don’t know any better. I could get away with it. But I won’t do it. It’s still wrong.”
It is especially about how well you guard the interests of others, even when it hurts you. It is especially about when you have to stand up and say “No. I won’t. If you insist, you do it. I actually cannot stop you. I very much wish I could. But know this clearly, if I am asked, I will tell them that I don’t agree with what you are doing.”
At the end of the day, it’s about what kind of world I want to be in, what kind of world I want to create. These are the situations that we create that world. It doesn’t always seem easy in the heat of the moment to stand up against a relatively small thing. It seems easier to just let it go.
Until you realize, the world is made up of small things.