Many would say you should keep a strong separation between your professional and personal lives. But is this thinking a proven and beneficial approach to your whole self? Is this truly what is best for us as individuals?
Reality is, our personal and professional lives intersect more than we might admit. This can be especially true when you’re faced with a moral or ethical issue in the workplace. Does making professional success a priority mean you have to bend your sense of personal ethics? Should ethical issues take precedence over professional achievements?
“People were murdered and maimed, Ryan!”
Recently, I’ve begun thinking about pursuing a story that I’ve had on the back burner for more than 20 years. Like any good slow burner, I’ve got a personal connection to the story – and that’s the problem. It’s a story that took place in my hometown, at my high school even. Not only does it involve friends, but family members, as well.
When I spoke to my family about doing the story, I could feel the energy change.
The questions came first: Why did I want to do this story? Why was I digging this all up two decades after the fact? What was my objective? Then, in no uncertain terms: Stop. Don’t pursue this. Just drop it.
Of course, my immediate reaction was to want to do the story even more. I knew there would be some surprises during my pursuit. I suspected there might be obstacles. But so soon, and so intensely? What all do I NOT know?
It’s a timely story, for sure. And something I could be proud to do professionally. It deals with issues that are very much in the headlines and on people’s minds today. But it’s also something I feel strongly about personally.
A Moral Dilemma in the Workplace, and Beyond
Once the initial shock wore off, if it even has, I’ve been able to step back and attempt to look at the situation more objectively. You can’t not do something that’s important to you, something that has been important to you for years, simply because someone else doesn’t want you to do it.
I’m left torn between pursuing a story I think can benefit people, or shelving the idea in order to “keep the peace.” I’m at a crossroads, and I know I’m not alone.
Thus was the premise for my conversation last week with Robb Holman, my co-host of The White Collar Therapy Show. In thinking of all the challenges I could have in doing a story like this, a moral dilemma regarding my family had never been a consideration.
Full Video Replay
Deploy the Counsel of Many
In Show #9, Robb and I discuss the situation at hand, and how a moral dilemma like this can affect oneself. While not every moral challenge is as drastic as this, they can crop up in any business situation.
Maybe it’s pressure to ‘do what it takes’ to achieve sales figures or fall into line with management’s beliefs. Whatever the situation, it comes down to one basic question – are you willing to pay the price?
As Robb points out in our conversation, most people are not comfortable being vulnerable about such sensitive things, and going through a process to heal. “In fact,” he says, “most people aren’t even sure which steps they should take even if they are willing and courageous to do so.”
In the video, Robb explains that a real practical thing to do in a situation like this is, “to find at least one person that you can trust who is not going to judge you, a safe person, who will listen to you, and see what comes out of that conversation.”
In other words…deploy the counsel of many.
By reaching out for help about this dilemma, it give you a chance to hear yourself think and talk. And by doing so you can also learn how others have handled similar situations. It’s also been a poignant lesson in unintended consequences.
About White Collar Therapy
WCT is a community-driven initiative led by Myself and Robb Holman, Author of the Lead the Way Book [View on Amazon]. Every other Monday we meet for a live stream, from which we later release as a podcast. The show and the podcast are then featured here on AutoConversion.