University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
“Sound personal ethics are typically those that positively impact the experience of others when used to govern an individual’s social or business related behavior, and at the very least, such ethics should not have a negative impact on others” (BusinessDictionary, 2014). In this paper I will discuss how my personal ethical system and ground rules were developed. What my influences were in shaping my values and the principles I live by. I will also discuss how the importance of ethics in business.
EARLY ETHICAL DEVELOPMENT
To understand how my ethics developed I think it would be best if I provided a quick background of my childhood. My parents were divorce by the time I was two. My mom moved to Montana while my dad, brother, and I stayed in Colorado. My mom remarried when I was five to a great man. My dad moved us to Tennessee around when I was seven. My father began dating a woman with two children shortly after and a year or two later they married. A couple years after my father remarried, the atmosphere in my home was very stressful. My step mom was very southern, with a strict upbringing. Her philosophy was “This was how I was raised, so this is how I am going to raise you.” There was no thought put into her actions, they were only reactions. Although I get along with her fine now she still has to justify her behavior from the past. At the age of eight I was doing my own laundry, cooking meals for the entire family twice a week, and extreme cleaning every weekend; not much time to be a kid.
On my 12th birthday I was grounded for not dusting behind a picture in the corner of my desk. I have many stories like this, but the greatest thing about these experiences is that I learned from them. These memories are what motivated me to be different when it comes to parenting and how I treat people. My step father was the opposite. He was the strong, silent type. When he spoke every one listened. He and my mom had a very large impact on my life. They owned a restaurant/bar and a log home building company for over 25 years, in Montana. In the summers I would work for them. They taught me strong work ethic and what it meant to earn a dollar. During my teen years I was not sure who I was and desperately trying to figure it out. At the time, I thought I had it all figured out, but looking back I was clueless. I used derogatory remarks towards different ethnic groups not realizing how wrong it was and I was very homophobic. I knew it was wrong and no one else in my family acted like that. This type of behavior is still very common in the south, but I was determined to change my life.
REVISED ETHICAL DEVELOPMENT
Because I joined the Navy straight out of high school, I was given the opportunity to learn the true meaning of diversity and how important it is to our society. The stereotypes I was surrounded by growing up were cruel, unfair, and untrue. My time in the Navy taught me that everyone is different and that everyone’s culture is what makes them who they are. I love learning about different cultures and what makes each person diverse. Another event that shaped my principles and values is when my step father passed in 2006. This changed mine and my family’s life forever. It motivated me to love and be the best person I can be. At the time I was in a bad marriage and had to make the decision that my happiness and my children’s future depended on our surroundings. I do not have time for resentment, anger, hatred, and negative behavior. We only live this life once and I want my legacy to live on after I’m gone. I had to make the toughest decision of my life and this was the beginning of the new me.
PRINCIPLES AND VALUES
My ethical system comes from every experience and interaction I have ever had. Whether I remember them all, it still branded an emotion at the time and I learned from it. My ethical system is filled with the idea to always have respect, strength, integrity, honor, courage, and will power to do what is right even if it is the harder decision. Respect is a very strong fiber of my being. My childhood made me realize that treating people the way you would like to be treated is not just something we heard in school, it should be lived by. Everyone starts off with the same level of respect from me. It does not matter one’s title, sex, race, religion, or sexual preference. If you are a living, breathing, human being I will treat you as I would like to be treated. Everyone starts off with 100% respect and then how much respect I give you in the future depends on your actions.
ETHICS IN THE WORKPLACE
My upbringing and personal experiences are what shaped my character of who I am today. I cannot compare the inequality I faced to others, but it was enough for me to realize that fair treatment and respect is very important to who I am and my character. When I see others being mistreated I have a deep seated urge to stand beside them and show them they are not alone. It does not matter to me if I am the only one that feels this way; I will stand up for what I believe in. I was the only straight male that joined the Pride Affinity Group where I work. This group was started at the beginning of the equal rights movement for the LGBT community a couple years ago. I was accused of being gay and I was asked why I was part of the group if I was not gay. This only motivated me more to show others that equal rights are not a privilege. I gave 9 years of my life to defending this country’s freedoms. I did not fight for one group’s freedoms, but all, foreign and domestic. Although I am no longer in the military I still live by this code of ethics and moral standard; in my personal and professional life.
IMPORTANCE OF ETHICS IN BUSINESS
Businesses were around before ethics and will continue to be around, but it is how we choose to evolve as human beings. Society could have remained racist and sexist. This was not what was best for business or society though. We as people and businesses need to evolve, to grow, and to learn to be better. Ethical standards in the workplace ensures all feel comfortable coming to work and can do their job without feeling threatened. This provides businesses the opportunity to get the best out of all employees with a safe work environment. CONCLUSION I think it is safe to say I am the opposite of everything I disliked about my childhood. My personal values are who I am regardless of whether I am in a personal or professional setting. My decisions are based on what I have learned through life experiences and how I perceive the most appropriate way to handle each situation.
Business Dictionary (2014). Personal Ethics. Retrieved from: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/personal-ethics.html