a question of integrity

edith yeung over at dream. think. act had a post the other day where she listed a long list of questions about integrity, taken from the book the power of principles by william j. byron.

these “integrity questions” are focused mostly around what i would call our civic and professional duties, and i think they’re important questions.

often we seem to look at integrity only in reference to others. what about integrity vis-à-vis ourselves, our bodies, minds and spirit?

let’s take some of edith’s questions and turn them around to reflect on our self integrity. you’ll find my new questions first, followed by edith’s original questions.

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do you habitually shorten your R&R and family time by working late, going to work before anyone else or not taking lunch?

(do you violate proper office-hour procedure by arriving late, or leaving early, or by tracking lengthy lunch periods or coffee breaks?)

do you pack on too much “padding” with extra food, thereby cheating your body of its ideal weight?

(do you pad your business expense accounts by overstating mileage, hotel, food, telephone items, etc?)

do you habitually play down your contributions?

(have you ever claimed credit at work for the ideas or labors of someone else?)

do you “borrow” time and effort from your life energy, such as not sleeping enough, and don’t get around to replenishing it?

(do you “borrow” stamps from the office supply for personal use and then forget to pay for them or replace them?)

do you never take advantage of sick days and holiday time, even though your body and soul need them?

(have you received benefits through improper reporting relative to welfare relief, unemployment or workmen’s compensation, or GI dependency?)

could you describe yourself as having a “morbid sense of responsibility”?

(have you placed blame on someone else for your own mistakes at work?)

do you use family and personal time or facilities for business?

(do you use company time or facilities (telephone, car, office, etc.) for personal business?)

are you always the one who says “oh, don’t worry, i’ll take care of it”?

(do you pass off most of your responsibility to colleagues to free yourself for your own personal pursuits?)

do you often pick up the tab for others because you feel you should (not because you feel generous)?

(do you take meals in public places, or pick up magazines or newspapers at stands, and walk off without paying?)

do you let others short-change you and then feel resentful over it?

(have you knowingly accepted overpayments in change from merchants without return it?)

is your life too fast-paced? do you exhaust yourself by hunting after shortcuts for tasks you intuitively know will take time? do you spend too much time parked in front of the TV?

(did you try to beat traffic laws through speeding, illegal turns, parking violations, etc.?)

do you rarely allow people to help you?

(do you sponge on your neighbours by using their TV, consuming their drinks, their snacks, etc. without any attempt to reciprocate?)

do you lie to yourself?

(do you cheat your spouse by overstating home operating-expense (for women) or normal incidental work expenses (for men)?)

a feast for workaholics and people with heavy codependency issues, isn’t it? but let’s be easy on ourselves – many of us have probably been guilty of not showing enough integrity to ourselves. this list is not meant as a reminder to beat yourself up – it’s just a few questions to ponder when you have time.

now go and play!

(this post was included in the carnival of ethics and personal finance)

4 thoughts on “a question of integrity

  1. Nancy

    I LOVE your counterpoints. Man, ‘integrity’ almost seems to have a negative meaning of ‘how perfectionistic-ly do you Perform for The Man” in the original questions! I’m all for integrity, of course — a deep inner moral compass that we value more highly than pretty much everything — but there also needs to be room for human imperfection. We all have asymmetries – ie., may be a generally wonderful human being, but have untamed dark sides that slip out now and then. Making integrity into a set of rules and performance standards can result in some pretty uptight humans! I think the teacher, Jesus, got it exactly right – “love God and love your neighbour” – practice that, and integrity naturally falls in place, as we journey into learning what loving means.

  2. isabella mori

    “it is good to think about all these things that we may do even without always realizing to undermine ourselves.”

    eeabee, it is, indeed. in fact, those un or half conscious acts and thoughts are probably the cause of at least half of our problems.

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