Personal Ethics Code
Personal Ethics Code
My personal ethics code includes things based on what seem to me to be obvious definitions of right and wrong, though as I experience more in life I am finding that not everyone finds certain things wrong when I do feel they are wrong. My ethics involve what God intends for us to do and values passed down to me by my family. The general principles involve four main ideas which include:
- Doing what God wants me to do – based in the teachings of the bible, my church, community and family
- Putting the needs of family first
- Not doing anything that will hurt other people
- Not doing things just to avoid responsibility, looking bad to others, so I can avoid negative consequences or to fit in
Even though it is hard to list only ten points that I believe are part of my personal ethics code, after thinking about it I was able to cover what I do my best to follow every day. These points were all probably taught to me as a child both as part of my religion and within my family. Then, as I grew into an adult I gained experiences, some of which were good and some of which were bad which taught me how having some of these things done to me felt which just reinforced my desire to makes sure I followed them. Other times I observed the effects of the failure of people to uphold some of these principles on others and this also strengthened my belief system. Each time I experienced someone doing something I did not feel was ethical to me or observed someone else doing something I felt was unethical to others, I reflected on the experience and further defined the reasons I believed the way I did. While the basis for my beliefs are my religion I still was able to determine why these things made sense to me in addition to following what I believe God expects of me. I internalized these beliefs until they became a part of how I view myself. I do my best to follow these principles but don’t always succeed. But I know they are important to me because when I break one of these guidelines I feel bad and view myself negatively. Each time I commit to following the principle anew. Hopefully, one day I’ll be strong enough to not give in when there is pressure or I have difficulty not following what everyone else seems to be doing or defines as something which is alright to do. I think we all care about what others think about us and want to be viewed positively so when the crowd defines something as acceptable it can be hard to stand up for what you believe if it is different. My personal code of ethics includes the ten points below.
- I believe it is important to be honest. When you tell the truth others find you trustworthy and will rely on you. This doesn’t mean you have to tell everyone everything about yourself. It also doesn’t mean that if there’s no way to avoid a little white lie without hurting someone you should hurt the person. For example, my mother gets new curtain she loves and is excited about telling me how great she thinks they look in the house. She asks me my opinion and I think they look terrible. It is her house and she deserves to feel good about the way she decorates it. If I know that it will make her feel bad if I say the curtains are ugly, I don’t think it’s wrong to say I think they look nice.
- Succeed through your own accomplishments not by sabotaging other people’s accomplishments. I think it’s important to work hard so you can succeed at your goals. The only way you can truly succeed is through your own actions that will accomplish your goals. Some people think it is easier to attack others accomplishments as if by doing so others will look bad making them look better. Standing in one place and making others go down still leaves you exactly where you were, you’ve just hurt someone without going anywhere yourself.
- Don’t spread rumors about others. I believe that this is similar to the commandment to not murder someone. Once you ruin someone’s reputation you can’t take back your words since you don’t know who has heard what you said.
- Learn from every person you meet. I believe that as we are all created by God we all have something to teach. It’s important to look at everyone as a source of something new to learn.
- Be yourself and don’t try to be someone you are not to please others. No one is liked by everyone and if you constantly try to be what everyone else wants you to be you will not succeed and never learn who you truly are.
- Don’t compromise your standards just because everyone else is acting in a certain way. If you are in a setting where everyone is doing something you don’t believe is right, don’t act like them just to fit in.
- Be altruistic when possible. It’s important for each of us to do good for other people especially when they are in need without expecting anything in return. If we only do things because we get a reward, we will become someone who will let others suffer whenever there’s nothing in it for us.
- Put family first. I was raised in a home where family is always the priority. I was also raised to do things for my community but if it contradicts with family needs family comes first.
- Be responsible. If you say you are going to do something, it is important to follow through.
- Don’t blame others for your own mistakes. No one likes to admit to doing something wrong, but you have to take responsibility for your own problems and mistakes and not blame others. When you get in the habit of doing this it becomes automatic and you never learn from your mistakes or grow as a person.
I believe all of these principles are important to pass on to people in my life currently as well as to future generations. Even though they are not easy to follow all the time, especially when one of these principles seems to separate me from a group I am with, I always feel like a better person when I can follow them when it is hard. I feel like a weaker person when I take the easy route and do what everyone else does when it clashes with my beliefs. It seems to me people are becoming more narcissistic and the idea of putting yourself first at all times is considered normal while not doing so is considered to be a weakness. It is as if those who fail to put themselves first don’t love themselves. I have even heard people say this, as well as if you don’t love yourself you can’t love anyone else. Others have said that God wouldn’t expect us not to put ourselves first but I don’t agree. I think he expects us all to take care of each other and that doesn’t just mean physically, but also it means taking care of each other’s emotional and spiritual needs. It is not weak to put others before yourself. Being selfless is a quality that I believe God wants us to always work towards, though we also need personal goals and things that make us happy provided it is not at the expense of others. I also think that as far as civilization is concerned, that the more distant we get from others, which is caused by always relying on ourselves and striving to be independent, the less likely we are to advance or possibly even survive as a race. We need each other because we all have different strengths and lessons to teach and when we fail to realize this, we lose many advantages and much potential that we could have otherwise realized.
My ethical choices will effect my career because I can’t just decide to go against what my superiors want if I don’t feel something is ethical. I hope that I won’t be expected to do something that is clearly unethical as part of my career choice but I am concerned that there will be more minor infractions that I might be expected to commit. Perhaps someone in my family needs my help but I have certain obligations for work. My superiors may not understand how important putting family first is for me and think I’m just trying to get out of doing something or trying to leave early. When people don’t share the same values they may not be able to imagine what is like to have certain values or what it means for the way you live your life.
I have been in the situation before when a close family member was sick and I felt the need to be there. My superior said, “Well, they’re not going to die if you aren’t there are they?” I had no response to this, since I was raised in an environment with people who felt the same way I did about family. I wasn’t allowed to take sick time since I already had told my superior that I wasn’t ill my relative was ill. There was no personal time and even though I had said I would make up the time my superior felt this was unfair to other people. I didn’t understand this either since if they were in a position where they needed to be with a sick relative I would have supported them.
One thing about myself that I need to work on is finding ways to explain things to others in a way they can understand without getting upset. I think my values were so strongly instilled in me and have become stronger over time that I just feel everyone must believe much of what I do. I need to keep in mind we all have different ethical codes and not everyone believes what I do or even understands why I feel there are certain things I can’t compromise on.
Sometimes I find myself lecturing others instead of trying to calmly explain my position in a way that lets them know I won’t compromise my beliefs but I respect their beliefs even if they are different from mine. I am working on not appearing judgmental or inflexible. One way I am doing this is by trying to find things I agree with others on and trying to be as flexible as possible when I feel that I can be. I hope that being agreeable and flexible when it doesn’t compromise one of my ethical beliefs, will help others to see that when I feel I can’t compromise on something that it must be very important to me.