Those Moments When Your Ethics Are Tested

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Article by Wendy McCance

Have you ever had a moment when your ethics were tested in a way that really made you pause and think about what you should do? You know in your gut what the right thing to do is, but, for a brief moment, you wonder what if you chose differently? Those are the moments that truly define who you are as a person. You are being tested and the outcome of your decision will forever make you proud of who you are or might just haunt you a bit.

As a business owner, I stand by my code of ethics and treat my clients fairly, honestly and exactly the way I would wish to be treated if the tables were turned. I walk away with a sense of pride and feel good about the way I treat others. Yet, I have to be honest, sometimes it is challenging to pick the best decision and try not to compromise what you know in your gut should be done.

This week has started out in that exact manner. At home, our furnace broke down so our air isn’t working. The repair will be quite costly and this week the weather will be scorching hot. I would like to have the air back on as soon as possible. I would also like not to flinch at the huge bill associated with getting the air up and running.

For whatever reason, I got a few new opportunities for work right around the time the furnace died. This is when my test began.

The first person who I spoke with was looking for a writer to write several first-person thought leadership pieces for an industry that wasn’t familiar to me. I wavered on the idea for a moment trying to convince myself that I could write these articles just as easily as all of the other articles I have written over the years. It was the combination of not having written these type of pieces teamed with the technical aspect of the field in which these people were in that made me pass on the opportunity.

The second person I spoke with was someone who I had already been in discussions with. A proposal had been created and accepted and it looked like I would have a definite 3 month contract. A follow-up call was made and that’s when things fell apart. The client wanted me to work heavily on public relations. They were hoping I would set up interviews, speaking engagements etc… things that were not on the proposal and tasks that were out of the range of what I know how to do and do well.

I had to decline working with the second client because I am not a PR person and know that even though they had faith in my abilities and wanted me to be the person they hired, I would not do the job well. I just couldn’t say yes when they deserved an expert in the public relations field to work for them.

All together, I lost out on around $8,000 by walking away from the offers placed in front of me. I have a furnace to fix that will cost me over a grand and here was money to fix my problem. I just couldn’t do it.

When I work with a client, I will only work with someone whose vision I understand. I will only do a job I know I would do fabulously well and I will only work with someone when I know I can help them see solid results. If these components aren’t there, I’ll respectfully decline the job, even when I could really use the money.

Ethics can be brutal at times, but in the end, it’s worth it to feel good about who you are and what you stand for.

Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 9 local papers online, including the Oakland Press. The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: mccance.wendy@gmail.com

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8 thoughts on “Those Moments When Your Ethics Are Tested

  1. I think you were right in turning down the jobs, Wendy. By honoring yourself knowing the type of work you’re capable of and the integrity in giving them the best product you know how, I can see nothing but good from this.

    You may not see it now, but because we’re all connected, the universe has a way of bringing things from sources we never dreamed of. Really proud of you in making those hard decisions — it’s not easy, especially when big needs are staring us down.

  2. I have had to do the same. As my great-aunt used to say, “When you do the right thing, good will happen to you.” I bet you will have a great opportunity come your way soon! ps – hope the A/C if fixed soon!

  3. It would be difficult to turn down work that would pay good money but turning it down was the right thing to do as you said you wouldn’t be able to do the type of job that was required something else will come along soon I hope

    • It was the combination of having an extra need for the money and the amount that I would have gotten which made it a bit painful. I wouldn’t have done it any other way, but the timing was rather awful.

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