On Personal Integrity

Kitty - Los Angeles, California
Entered on April 26, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: integrity
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I believe in personal integrity. Integrity stems from your values. If you believe in something, do not be afraid to let other people know what you think is right.

I had always admired to be a consultant after graduation. It is challenging and dynamic by working on various projects. The economic environment was tough when I graduated; I took me a few years to get a job in consulting. I treasured this offer and strived my best when working on the tasks I was assigned to. It is not surprising to work 60 hours per week and to work over weekends. Nonetheless, all colleagues got along well with each other since the office was filled with intelligent people at about the same age. I thought I had found my place-to-be.

As a junior staff, I would sit in meetings with my supervisor and the project manager. I would hear intense conversations between the senior staff on how to approach the issue the client was facing – whether the argument was a far stretch that might alter the truth. Feeling I did not have the experience and knowledge to interrupt the conversation, I would distance myself from the argument. I would complete all the assigned tasks without hesitation.

After a year, the project manager came to me and offered me a possible promotion in the coming year. Feeling delighted that someone recognized my ability; I decided to drive myself harder to meet all the performance expectations. While working on a technology case, I took extra effort to learn about an unfamiliar technology by researching the topic and interviewing the client. The dilemma surfaced when the project manager decided not to disclose information that might be detrimental to our client’s position from our in-house expert – who would testify in the court.

I strongly disagreed that it was a right approach to hide a fact from our expert. It might even hurt the reputation of the company. I discussed my concern with another consultant. He also agreed with my point of view then we decided to talk to the expert directly. The project manager was disgruntled when he found out we told the additional piece of information to our expert.

When I decided to go against my project manager’s command, I did not put much consideration to the negative consequence. Although I was promoted after the incident, knowing my value was vastly different than my manager, I left the company after a year. However, I am glad that I made an effort in protecting my company’s reputation as well as my own reputation.