Develop Your Personal Ethical Roadmap

It takes good citizens to make good employees. But between Enron, WorldComm, The Galleon Group, insider trading and ethics reform in government, the news is full of bad examples.

Even beyond the scandals, what may be legal isn’t necessarily ethical. Considering their New Year’s resolutions, many job seekers need some help developing their personal ethical roadmap as they climb the corporate ladder. MDL Partners (, a leading career consultancy, helps job seekers figure it all out.

“In the beginning, ethics is mostly intuitive, a rough sense of direction shaped by family, friends, school, church, community and the media,” notes John Decker, Executive Vice President with MDL Partners for more than 15 years. “Then, as you venture beyond the first jobs, most people typically begin to adjust their sense of ethical direction. They then either consciously or subconsciously modify ethical precepts and behaviors and then go back on ethical ‘autopilot.’”

Wherever you are in your career, you might want to dust off your current ethical roadmap and update it based on your increasing maturity, expanding experience and the rapidly evolving ethical landscape.

That is where MDL Partners comes in. “Become more aware of and conscious of ethics. Observe what you consider ethical and unethical behavior, write down your core personal values and possibly start a journal. Actively wrestle with ethical dilemmas,” notes Decker.

MDL Partners advises that job seekers begin to think about possible scenarios before they occur. Should you search for a new job on company time? When should you whistle blow? If you are asked to do something unethical, should you quit or stay and try to change the system?

MDL Partners works with clients to figure how to best begin conversations about their ethical direction; how to find a mentor or confidante; how to evaluate your organization’s corporate culture and values; and how to look at a company’s stated mission and the stories around that mission and compare them.

“The idea here is to turn your awareness of ethics from an occasional activity into a journey where you are learning and refining your ethical decision making,” adds Thomas McNeil, President of MDL Partners. “This will become more important as you move up into increasingly responsible supervisory roles where ethical complexity increases. MDL Partners will help you at all stages of your career.”

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