Reading the paper, I am informed of a man who is headed to the Federal Pen. So what is new about this? Not so much new, but startling is the fact that this man was at one time a leader in his church.
Desperate times sometimes cause those who are not grounded, to take desperate actions. This living in the ‘gray zone’ will lead to living with black and white stripes, and we’re not talking pin stripes. Bending the rules of general accounting principles is easy enough to do, but more difficult to explain.
Having served my time as one visiting an inmate, and meeting other inmates, I have seen the crowd of those who simply made One Simple Mistake. Doctors, Policemen, Bankers, Prosecuting Attorneys, and a few Professional Athletes. That one time they chose to bend the rule, was the one time someone looked and caught them doing wrong. And the shame doesn’t end there.
I witnessed one day, as a man suddenly stood up, and began yelling /screaming at another man. The officers came and cuffed them both and hauled them off behind the razor wire to maximum security. At the next opportunity, I visited with the former Prosecuting Attorney. His grief was that he had been cuffed and lead away in front of his wife and kids. He had only encouraged the other man to keep quiet. The other man, drunk from whiskey smuggled in by his wife, now had his wife in custody facing charges.
All it takes is once. One bad choice. That’s all it takes to invite consequences into your life, with no one to blame but your self.
We need to constantly be making deposits into our Ethics account, just as if it were our primary banking account. We need to protect it to the max. Don’t even let the balance get low enough to be at risk. Because the first overdraft charge, will likely be that of leaving your family to fend for themselves while you sit the next one out.
While teaching at the University level, I was more aware of diminishing values as I sought repeatedly to stop cheating on exams and projects. These are the same ones who will bend the rules once in the work place. Their Ethics account was never really developed. Their values were always challenged, regardless of the topic or practice. They always saw cheating as an option, in the classroom or in the world. They don’t see anything wrong unless you get caught.
I used Enron to open the topic, but this is more like a warning notice from the bank that your account is below a certain limit. By the time the students are caught, it is too late. So many are entering the professional market with an Ethics overdraft in place.
So goes for those who are not as ethical in their resume and job history, as they should be. Once discovered, termination is almost always certain. Having to explain that is not easy over the next year. I received a call from a City H.R. person calling to verify performance for an applicant. I had to share that we had agreed to hire the person, that they had signed all the paperwork including a no-compete agreement, and then never showed up for work, never called to communicate again. She was going to call him in for another appointment so he could address those claims in person. “Why did you lie on your application?”
Lying on a job application is not acceptable. It only sets you up for a big fall. What can your ethics account afford? Be wise and establish your boundaries. Overdraft charges are too costly.