Wednesday, March 21 , 2018, 9:30 pm | Overcast 58º


John Daly: Making Ethical Choices Matter, Now and In Your Future

 What ethics is NOT:

» Always doing everything correctly

» Never making mistakes

» Never doing anything we would regret

» Never missing paying a bill

» Never saying anything that is not proper

What ethics IS:

» Recognizing our mistakes

» Making amends for mistakes

» Reversing the damage of our behavior

» Explaining truthfully why you missed paying a bill

» Apologizing to someone we have hurt with words written or spoken

» Not sharing harmful information with others

The temptation to work in an unethical manner can be great, especially when it promises financial gain. These are the times to dig deep and ask lots of questions.

Is the gain worth it in the long run? Will I be able to trade this action for my good reputation? Where will this put me in 20 or 30 years?

For example, when I was working in the event industry, I had a freelance designer I had worked with for a number of years. We had a wonderful relationship, and I called on him for almost every one of my jobs.

On one project, with a client with whom we worked all of the time, the client asked him for his phone number as she had several small projects with shoestring budgets about which she wanted to contact him directly and did not want to hire him through my company. He gave her his number, and she began calling him for jobs.

The jobs got larger, and he did more décor for her. Soon he improperly installed a prop in the ceiling of a ballroom, and it was not secure. Because he was just a freelancer, he did not carry any type of insurance. The prop fell and caused damage to the property.

Of course, the client was sued for damages, and I ultimately learned what had happened. As a result, the freelancer was no longer called to work with my staff and he ended up having to pay back to the client far more than he could have ever earned with her on her “little” jobs to cover the damage.

Whenever I was asked for a recommendation on his work, I warned people he was not to be trusted. As for the client, I fired her! As you can see, the freelancer’s unethical behavior cost him not only future work with me but with the client and other prospective customers in the future.

Over the years, I have always worked with very high ethical standards, and it has paid many dividends. My clientele were people with whom I worked for anywhere from five to 30 years. Ninety-eight percent of my work was from repeat business. I never had to advertise but was fortunate to have business come to me.

I enjoyed 44 years in the world of special events, and, I retired with no regrets. So many of my great friends have come from that business, and I still relish the fact my reputation is untarnished, because I made ethical behavior one of my top priorities.

In today’s world, there are so many available resources and classes for business people to take to ensure ethical professionalism. They easily can be found through colleges, universities and professional organizations.

However, the bottom line relies within each of us. When you are faced with a decision that you know in your heart is wrong, go with that feeling. Please use the Golden Rule: Do onto others as you would have them do unto you. You can’t go wrong if you do.

— John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for good manners and job search success. Click to learn more about The Key Class, or to buy the book.  Follow John on Facebook and Twitter @johnjdalyjr. Do you have an etiquette question? ASK John at [email protected] The opinions expressed are his own.

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