As I was reading today’s lesson on Ethics, what immediately came to mind was a situation that haven’t thought of in a long time. In 2000, I was working for an IPO Start Up company in Silicon Valley. We had an in house training program for our consultants for which I was Coordinator. We had a great gentleman, who we contracted with to do all of our Soft Skill Trainings. I worked closely with him. I came in on a Monday morning to find an email from his wife detailing his untimely death over the weekend. I’d never met her; she was merely a voice over the phone who I spoke to when he wasn’t there. When he died my company owed him thousands of dollars. I went to my boss and told him that in order to save her further grief, I could generate the necessary invoices for his trainings so that we could get her paid. He asked if she was aware of exactly how much we owed him. I told him that I wasn’t sure. I could already see where the conversation was going. He told me not to expedite the payment. His intent was to make her bill us in hopes that the company wouldn’t have to pay for all of the trainings he’d completed before his death. I went back to my office with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I couldn’t understand what kind of person would take a grieving widow through such unnecessary hardship when we had the ability to expedite her process. The decision that I made, was the right one; however, I knew that it would cost me my job.
I returned to his office and told him that I’d have no part of that process. I couldn’t do something like that, look into my own eyes at the end of the day and be okay with myself. What I did, was call the wife when I got home from work. I told her what my boss planned to do, and what she needed to do to circumvent it. She faxed over the invoices to me. I rallied the troops in the office, who moved the paperwork quickly through the normal lengthy accounts payable process. The paperwork was hand carried into the office of the CFO, who I had already gotten his verbal agreement to sign off on it and generate a special check upon his receiving it. When the CFO called me to pick up the check, it totaled $75,000.00. I tendered my resignation on that same day. I left that date with my box of personal belongings, and the widow’s check in hand. My professional integrity remained uncompromised and my personal honor was intact. I had done all that God had required me to do.