How low will you go?

We don’t always realise it but every day we are facing ethical dilemmas at work and at home. They often go unrecognised because we see them just as difficult decisions that we need to make. But during this month when we are focusing on ethics and the importance of them we need to consider where we would draw the line. When would we feel it was time to stand up and challenge what was being asked of us?

In my early working life as a journalist I remember clearly one job interview when I was asked a number of personal questions. It culminated in being asked how far I would go to get a story and would I be prepared to do one of those tabloid stories that usually ended in the journalist making their excuses and leaving. Needless to say I knew I did not want to work for that organisation.

There are many times when you will be asked to do something that you are uncomfortable with. I know I have learnt a lot from a number of situations in the past and it included what I would be happy to do. As I have got older and gained more experience my line has become clearer and I would be prepared to walk out of an organisation that asked me to behave unethically. Why would I want to remain in a company that made me compromise my ethics, morals and code of conduct?

When people secure their first jobs in PR and communication they should be encouraged to discuss ethical concerns, to raise issues and be prepared to talk about decision making. It is only by keeping the subject at the forefront of our work and in the open that we can ensure the highest professional standards exist. The discussion should also help people to be aware of where their line is, what they would be prepared to do and when they would say no.

Working in PR and communication is a privileged position and something that we should not take lightly. We can have influence on events and people’s understanding on them. It requires us to have honesty, clarity and authenticity. They are three things I have spoken about as important in a crisis situation but it isn’t just then we need to have them every day both at work and home.

If I was in that same interview today I would make my views very clear and would be happy to walk out. My line has always existed but I am now much more confident to talk about it and act upon anything that pushes me to the limit.

Picture credit: Jad Limcaco

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