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Work Place Ethics #1 Understand The Code

I am writing these series in response to the heated discussions with young professionals that I get to interact with from time to time. One of the things that keeps coming up with this group of people is the fact that they don’t see the reason as to why they should adhere to a minimum set of standards when they could set their own rules. My argument has always been and still is that we all need a minimum set of standards to guide us and often times too keep us in check.

Life generally is governed by codes of ethics whether formally or informally. Ethics are often thought of by many as something that is related to the personal side of life and not to the business side. This is usually due to the fact that business is regarded as being about doing what’s best and not always about doing the right thing. However, I am of the view that there is no difference between personal ethics and ethics in the workplace; ethics are the same whether at work or in personal life.

Ethics refers to a set of rules that describes acceptable conduct in society. Ethics serve as a guide to moral daily living and helps us judge whether our behavior can be justified.
Ethics refers to society’s sense of the right way of living our daily lives. It does this by establishing rules, principles, and values on which we can base our conduct. The concepts most directly associated with ethics are truth, honesty, fairness, and equity.
While ethics is a societal concern, it is of critical importance to the professions that serve society. Because professionals such as physicians, attorneys, engineers, and property and facility managers provide services that affect our welfare, they develop professional codes of ethics that establish professional standards for behavior.
A professional code of ethics sets a standard for which each member of the profession can be expected to meet. It is a promise to act in a manner that protects the public’s well-being. A professional code of ethics informs the public what to expect of one’s doctor, lawyer, accountant, or property manager. As long as professionals adhere to these standards, the public is willing to have their professional associations create and enforce their ethical codes.
Understanding your professional code of ethics is vital to how long you survive or even thrive in your industry. Acquaint yourself with the minimum acceptable standards for your profession and use them as your guiding principles when making ethical decisions. Many young workers falter on their new jobs because they ignore the code of ethics either knowingly or unknowingly. Either way, ignorance is never a viable excuse in the courts of law.
As you embark on your career, seek to understand the codes that govern your career and industry. Simply because everyone does not adhere to the code does not give you the permission to do the same. As a young professional, it is important that you understand and hold fast to the minimum standards for your profession and keep at it all the way. That is my opinion.

Ethics are meant to guide, protect and preserve us in our professions, adhering to them is a must and the only alternative. If we do the right things in the right way, we are bound to thrive and succeed in our professions. Don’t set your own rules before you learn to adhere by the ground rules that have governed the profession for centuries before you. There is profound wisdom in adherence.

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