Oh man. This one is going to make me think… What have I faced?
It’s hard to say. I don’t really think of things in the terms of ethics to be honest. I think of my choices from a very selfish stand point. Do I think this action is right or wrong? Do I think it is morally right?
Ethics, to me, more often refers to groups. What do others believe to be right?
And I think this is why ethics is such a tricky subject. What is right in one culture or social circle can be a huge taboo in another. Ethics can be extremely relative based on the group you’re surrounded by and what you are brought up believing to be “right” or “wrong”. Ethics, in some regards, are just personal opinions. So, for me, the biggest concern is analyzing the situation from a non-emotional stand point.
What are the facts? What does the other person / party feel? What do I feel? What do we want the outcome to be? And ultimately, what am I comfortable with doing? What could I live with if I were to die tomorrow?
What I feel is right or wrong can differ based on a situation. There’s a lot of factors to be considered.
An example of this fluctuation can be seen through the inconsequential action of my wearing sandals to work every once in a while.
Base Case: It’s something that I know goes completely against dress code. Ethically, it is wrong of me to break the rules.
Additional information: Ethically it is wrong to not pay me for the overtime that I work. Or to make promises and then not deliver on them.
Conclusion: If I’m going to get backstabbed I’m going to be comfortable while it happens.
Ethically, we’re both wrong. Some people feel that it doesn’t matter if I feel wronged. My choice is still wrong and so ethically I’m still damned to the pits of hell. That might be a bit extreme… but you get the point. Two wrongs don’t make a right, so my thought process is flawed in their eyes.
Personally, I feel justified and don’t care. Is that shallow of me? Low? Should I take the higher ground and still wear normal shoes? Maybe. And most of the time I do. I’m ok with the choices I make and how it reflects on my work ethic. I’m still showing up on time for work, regardless of the shoes I wear. I’m not rocking the boat. At least not too much. And I still do more than what’s required from my job.
Ethically, I think my choice to break the rules a bit isn’t all that awful.
I’ve had people ask me to write them letters of recommendation before, and that has led to dilemmas for me. Some of these people I didn’t feel had good work ethic, or I had never actually worked on a project with them. I couldn’t give them a good review about their work and feel like I was telling the truth at the same time, even though they were great people.
My work around?
A glowing review about their personality, because I honestly felt like they were super awesome to be around.
Ethically, morally, I’m not going to lie. So anything that feels untrue to me is a no-go. Flat out. I don’t compromise on my honesty. No half-truths. No white lies. In my head, lying is wrong, even if the truth is uncomfortable, inconvenient, or, in some cases, painful.
Do you support your friend in their choice to be a surrogate mother while supporting your other friend in their choice to have an abortion? Yeah… that’s happened to me. Do you encourage your friend to reach out to their estranged parents while understanding that your other friend is justified in loathing their parents and respect their wishes to remain distant and leave burnt bridges alone?
Ethics can be a super touchy, sensitive, vulnerable subject. I try my best to listen to my inner voice. I try my best to actually listen to the people around me and to understand the situation to the fullest. What are their ethics? What are their morals and priorities? And, in the end, I make the choice that I feel I will be ok with.
Not everyone is going to agree with my choices. That’s a fact. Point blank, someone is always going to disagree or feel I could have done something better. If I can’t please everyone then the very least I can do is please myself. That way I know at the very minimum at least one person will come out of it happy.