Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ethics of the Gut

People ask me "What do you think [I should do]?" when confronted with questions of ethics.
I've done it.
You've done it.
I don't do it any more.
Here's why:
I have recognized that questions of this type are always seeking parental confirmation.
We are only going to be three minutes in the store/bank/florists/dry cleaners. Do you think it will be alright if we use the spot reserved for handicapped people?
You are asking because you KNOW it is not alright. You KNOW that you are able-bodied and can walk fifty yards from a regular spot.
You ask because you want ME to be the parent and condone the behavior. That is abdication of responsibility.
If anything goes wrong you can point to me and say, "Well, You thought it was OK".
I could travel downtown and attend a networking seminar this morning – one hour each way and a two hour seminar plus 30 minutes for chatting plus getting dressed etc. Five hours. Minimum.
But there is much else to be done in the office today, and I'm scheduled to meet Norma for a movie at 4:45 this afternoon.
Should I attend the networking event? (Loose translation: is today a good day to goof off for five hours?).
That I ask that question of myself indicates that I am uneasy about attending, and seek any rational excuse, any rational excuse will do, to avoid the meeting.
Deep down I know I must file my taxes, pay the rent, make those phone calls BEFORE I goof off with Norma at the movies.
What is Going on?
I'm not certain of the mechanics of the brain, but I recognize the situation; whenever I find myself asking for approval, I reason that something tells me it is NOT OK to take the action; I am looking for an excuse to take the action. Any excuse will do.
By the way, it's not always easy. Consider this:
I could spend five hours this morning filing my taxes, paying the rent, making seventeen phone calls BEFORE I goof off with Norma at the movies.
But there is a networking meeting downtown, 'Cold calls", something I need to know, and I am sure to make two or more useful contacts before or after the seminar.
The seminar is a one-time event, once it is gone it won't come again.
I can do my taxes etc late tonight – it's a mechanical process.
Should I stay home and work? (Loose translation: is it smart to lose an opportunity to make useful contacts?).

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