Living Outside The Lines: Integrity Speak

Of all the candidates were asked the question, “What does integrity in the work place look like to you on a personal level”? Only one answered with anything closely resembling Mr. Webster’s definition…

Becky J Miller | Exclusive to Corridor News

ebecca the Righteous is a nickname lovingly bestowed upon me by my husband. The name appropriately fits my inner moral compass, forged through a lifetime of Sunday school lessons, reinforced by the examples my parents lived in front of me, and eventually bonded by the choices of my own personal belief system.

The practice of “doing the right thing” even when it is difficult or causes discomfort, has become second nature to me. Most of the time, there is no struggle, no conscious decision tree process, or even a second thought. Integrity and all the synonyms that accompany it have become not just what I do, but who I am.

However, I have come to realize “doing the right thing” is not a natural occurrence for all individuals. Human nature in its most unrefined form dictates self-preservation at all costs. Doing otherwise requires refined character and the practice of self-control. Think I jest? The very first time mankind was given the opportunity to tell the truth in the Garden of Eden, they chose self-preservation despite the odds their deception would be discovered.

Thousands of years of evolution, and not much has changed.  Integrity – the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness with its synonyms honesty, honor, good character, ethics, righteousness, morality, virtue, decency, scrupulousness, sincerity, and trustworthiness is not something we holistically understand or practice.

The latter part of 2016 was spent searching for a candidate to fill a position on my team at work. The interviews were conducted in tag team form between my manager and myself, with him asking the normal type questions and me the more behavioral inquiries. My list consisted of ten questions directed at understanding how these individuals might respond to difficult situations.

Of all the candidates were asked the question, “What does integrity in the work place look like to you on a personal level”? Only one answered with anything closely resembling Mr. Webster’s definition. That particular candidate had a distinct advantage as she’d worked for the company as an intern gaining insight into corporate culture.

I expected answers like, “Bringing the attention of unethical behaviors to the attention of my superiors”, or “Openly admitting an error and then going through the process to make it right.” The answers I received were varied, but the one most shocking was, “Ensuring everyone is happy in the workplace, and getting along.” Huh? Since when does the happiness of your fellow co-workers have any correlation to personal integrity?

Fortunately, I am not the only soul who places a high importance on integrity. Oprah Winfrey said, “Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” H. Jackson Brown Jr. admonishes, “Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they think of you. R. Buckminster offers this tidbit, “Integrity is the essence of everything successful.” Thomas Jefferson suggests, “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

My utmost favorite statement concerning integrity though is attributed to U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Jordan. She offers this wise counsel, “Everyone should have a set of nonnegotiable principles in which they live by.” Or for you country music fans, Aaron Tippin’s version goes, “You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.” Amen.

Until Next Time,
Becky J Miller
“Warrior Princess”

Becky J Miller is a contributor and is exclusive to SM Corridor News. You can read more of Becky’s columns in Lifestyle.


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