You’re not one person at work and another at home. When you clock off, it’s important to feel proud of the work you’ve done and a big part of that is knowing you’ve been consistent with your personal values.
Your personal values aren’t something you just wake up knowing. Identifying them takes reflection – and life moves fast. Take a moment to slow down and seriously evaluate what you stand for.
We’ve created this special quiz to help you identify what values you prioritise 🧐
Living by your values is not always simple. A lot of the time, things aren’t black and white, and your values might actually come into conflict with one another. How do you choose what to do in a scenario like that?
Ethical thought experiments are a useful tool for interrogating how we might behave in situations where our morals clash or are put to the test. They force us to examine the underlying mechanisms of our decision-making and what we deem important.
A classic thought experiment is the trolley problem. Imagine you’re traveling on a train that is headed for collision with 5 track workers; you have the option to pull the lever and switch tracks, but that track is occupied by 1 track worker. Do you sacrifice 5 people to save 1, or vice-versa?
For an illustration of the different factors at play, consider the clip below that discusses the trolley problem... 🚊
Let’s consider some real-life ethical dilemmas and work through them together. For each of the scenarios below, make a case for Option 1 and Option 2.
Imagine you’re a lawyer. Your job requires you to provide advice to your clients and remain impartial in doing so. You come into knowledge that your client is guilty of a crime that someone else is already serving prison time for.
Option 1 is revealing this information – it has serious repercussions including losing your licence and facing disciplinary measures. It also goes against your values of defending your clients to the best of your ability no matter what.
On the other hand, you could choose Option 2 – saying nothing and upholding your duty of confidentiality, even if it means an innocent person stays in prison.
A dietary supplement company approaches you on social media and offers you a large sum of money to actively promote their new products. All you have to do is show yourself using the product and tell your audience how good it is. The thing is, you’re already using a competitor's product in private, and would effectively be telling your followers to buy something you wouldn’t and that you don’t know actually works. Do you 1) compromise your brand for short term earnings? 2) Refuse the promotion.
You’re the coach of a football team. A few days before a huge game, you discover that a few of your star players have been participating in behaviours that should result in immediate suspension. The team has to win this game to advance to the championship, but there’s a good chance they won’t if the star players don’t play. On the other hand, letting them play will set a poor example for the rest of the team and might encourage them to repeat the behaviour in the future. Option 1 is to suspend them; Option 2 is to let them play.
This leads us to the next topic: deciding what values are important to you in the workplace.