In your working life you will, unfortunately, be exposed to situations where your integrity will be challenged. It can happen very easily in situations such as:

  1. Selling a product or service to a person or entity who does not need it
  2. Having an affair of the heart, when you or they have a long term partner
  3. Making job applicants fund all their expenses, or worse not paying interns
  4. Negative social media postings about friends
  5. Promising a delivery date to make a sale that you cannot possibly meet
  6. Grabbing a big sale to a customer that had been ‘warmed’ by younger staff member
  7. Working for an unethical entity, such as a call centre that targets the elderly in richer countries with scams

Affairs of the heart

Affairs of the heart are the quickest way to tear yourself and your current partner apart. For what? A better future? I certainly have not seen those who have had affairs achieve anything other than pain. Once you have compromised integrity in this way, it is like a drug, you will do it again. It is a slippery slope where there is often no return. Far better to seek counselling to get to the bottom of your couple issues and seek more safe havens that offer you enjoyment and peace.

Treatment of job applicants

I was very lucky to be job hunting in the 70s. Back then there was a totally different business ethic relating to treatment of job applicants.

In 1975, as a graduate in my final year, I noticed an offer on the student notice board, from an accounting firm to visit an audit team in action. We travelled by train and taxi to the audit location, meeting the audit team at the hotel for an evening meal. Three courses and a few delightful English pints were consumed.

The sun rose on what eventuated to be a beautiful autumn day and after a full English breakfast, a luxury, students could not afford in my day, we set off to the plant. I was shown around the enterprise and observed audit activities taking place. At the end of the day, I returned to Liverpool University a couple of pounds heavier. All my expenses had been paid. Months later, I applied successfully to join the firm. This firm had integrity.

Let’s now contrast this with the treatment one of my daughters and her husband received when job hunting. In separate incidents they had to pay for their own travel and accommodation and be subjected to a recruitment process that did not give them a chance to shine. In addition, my daughter has been on an internship where she received no pay, received no training nor had her final report read and feedback given. I consider unpaid internships a total breakdown in integrity as borne out by this conversation my daughter had a number of years ago.

My daughter was once asked “I would like you to undertake a marketing study of my business. There will be no fee as it is an internship. To which she replied, “Did you have to perform such unpaid work as a student?” The overweight businessman smiled, “No, of course not. But since I can get work done for free, I go for it.”

I believe all internships show that the organisation, including the ‘White House’, a so-called bastion of democracy, have a large seam of “lack of integrity.”

Lack of integrity with friends

If you have a friend where you have an issue. Sleep on it and if you still feel the same way a day or so later, have a face-to-face session with a mentor over a coffee to discuss the issue. The last thing that should be done is any social media posting.

A young woman was organising her wedding. She did not want to disenfranchise any of her close friends so she had four bridesmaids. As with many such weddings the bridesmaids were required to buy their own dress. After the wedding, when all the costs had hit the visa credit card, a couple of the bridesmaids felt that the wedding had cost them too much. Instead of discussing this with the bride to arrive at a win-win they decided to discuss this behind her back.

This is an extract from a self help book I have written “Don’t say I never told you”