The world is a strange place with unwritten rules.
Some are rewarded for wrong doing. Others are not punished when they turn a blind eye.
I broke that covenant at work. I called the wrong doing. The consequence was termination.
The details don’t matter. It is the same everywhere. The people with power see themselves as right and those that oppose them are wrong.
The reality of your work life ends. There is no upside to this downside. The paychecks stop. The financial stability of your home, your family, and your basic needs are threatened.
It impacts you physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually. Inside and outside you are broken. Sickness is common. Friends look at you differently. Pain engulfs your being. Beliefs are challenged.
Termination impacts everyone differently. Some give up. Some become embittered and frozen in time.
I moved on. Integrity helped me. It was my path through chaos.
Integrity is wholeness, unfolding and objectivity. In simple terms, it is doing the right thing, doing the next right thing, and doing things the right way.
Each time I saw what needed to be done, I did it the right way. When I finished, I did the next right thing and I did it the right way. It was therapeutic.
I had never tolerated wrong doing well but I never spoke out about the little things. My silence robbed the organization of the truth that needed to be heard before it was too late.
When the little things became a big thing, I spoke out against the wrong doing. I did not stand against the person or the organization.
It is exhilarating to stand up for right. It is mortifying to be terminated because of it.
The truth does indeed set you free; however, freedom is not won without a cost.
There is no roadmap to freedom when you are in bondage to a situation. You have to lead yourself.
As the battle unfolded, I concluded that:
- People are not what they present. Behind the mask of professionalism, lies an ugly side.
- Arrogance rises as money actualizes the manipulative power of law for its own end.
- Anything and everything goes. There are no limits to what may be done behind the scenes.
- Attacks are personal, ferocious, and bitter. You are alone and isolated
- Even if you are 90% right, the 10% wrong can destroy you.
- There are no winners. Those that live by the sword, die by the sword…then or later.
I did not want to perpetuate these things in the pursuit of righting a wrong.
In defeat, I learned to stand for what is right without surrendering. Through failure, I learned to fight without attacking.
These lessons taught me the power of truth and why its scares people so. Gandhi called this “the way of non-violence.”
It made me stronger. When I looked myself in the eye, I saw the enemy within disappearing.
Ultimately it was a personal triumph. I stood for right in a world of wrong.
I have no regrets. I am eternally grateful. I gained my freedom.
Post Note: Eighteen months later, a federal integrity agency began an investigation into the wrong doing and the subsequent cover up. Justice is being served; not mine but theirs.
Douglas Ross is an advocate for the promotion of integrity as a strategy for performance.
© 2011 All Rights Reserved, Douglas Ross, Principle Dynamics Consulting Inc.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or my cell at 706-267-0609.