Monthly Archives: January 2009

Why Should I Buy Ethical Clothing?

Davinos Greeno asked:

Garment workers throughout the globe are traditionally paid the minimum wage and work long hours in poor conditions in order to produce the clothes that we take for granted.

In the developing world countries such as Indonesia and China mass produce enough clothes to reach to the moon and back every day, this routine production and exploitation in the name of fashion by major brands has increasingly come under fire as they continue to under pay staff, and offer no additional benefits while reaping huge profits from these suffering workers.

Ethical clothing guarantees that workers have not only been paid well but also have access to a range of benefits from maternity leave and pensions to healthcare and education.

In December 06 War on Want published a reporting stating that mainly women workers in Bangladesh are regularly working 80 hours a week for just 5p an hour, in potential death trap factories, to produce cheap clothes for British consumers for sale in retailers such as Primark, Tesco and Asda.

Primark, Tesco and Asda have all made public commitments to the payment of a living wage to suppliers – commonly calculated to be a minimum £22 a month in Bangladesh. I used to volunteer as a teacher in Nepal which is next to Bangladesh and the primary school teachers were paid around £40 per month. I know from experience that even £40 per month is a struggle for a family to survive on as there is no welfare system to help. Even though the cost of living is much cheaper than the UK and USA, the cost of living is rising faster than wages making them even poorer.

Yet starting wages in the factories researched for War on Wants report were as little as £8 a month, barely a third of the living wage. Even better paid sewing machine operators receive only £16 a month, which equates to 5p an hour for the 80 hours they regularly have to work each week. The minimum wage for garment workers in Bangladesh halved in real terms during the 1990s, and many complain their pay is too low to cover food, housing and health costs.

Primark, Tesco and Asda have also pledged that their suppliers must not be required to work more than 48 hours a week on a regular basis which is the same as the European Time Directive that applies to UK workers. We are not forced to work over 48 hours per week, why should they?

Workers interviewed for War on Wants report can toil up to 96 hours a week – double the supposed maximum – and often lose their day off and face the sack if they refuse.

The choice appears simple, avoid dirt cheap clothes where possible and as the excellent ethical campaign by Marks and Spencers says …look behind the label.

Ethical Situations in Counselling

Pedro Gondim asked:

A prominent aspect of counsellor training involves the analysis of ethical situations. Counsellors need to be malleable to the variety of situations in which the client’s personality traits and environmental circumstances are prominent barriers to the relationship’s progress.

Codes of practice, ethical guidelines and counselling micro-skills play a role in supporting the counsellor’s decision-making process towards the relationship; however, client and situation uniqueness are not the exception in the therapeutic process – they reign supreme. Effective counselling invokes the ongoing need for adaptability and critical analysis.

In this context, three situations which frequently give rise to ethical dilemmas are dual relationships, mandatory reporting and informed consent. Are you aware of the particular conditions which delineate each of these situations, and how to act upon them? This article provides a snapshot of the topic, along with some strategies for practising and student counsellors who are likely to face similar situations throughout their careers.

Dual Relationships

Dual relationships can be defined as social interactions between counsellor and client, in addition to their professional (or therapeutic) relationship. Because the relationship was initiated in a therapeutic environment – which invokes behavioural restrictions and requires particular decorum from both entities – clients and counsellors are likely to face natural obstacles when developing relationships outside of the counselling room.

As Corsini (2000, p. 447) states: “It is often awkward for both the therapist and the client when interactions occur outside the psychotherapeutic relationship. Some relationships, such as those that include sexual or financial involvement, clearly violate the ethical codes of almost all professional organizations. Others, such as allowing a client to buy the therapist a cup of coffee after a chance meeting in a restaurant, appear to be quite harmless. Most decisions are not this straightforward, however, and deciding whether to accept a Christmas gift or flowers for the waiting room can become a vexing dilemma”.

The main question to be asked is how much influence particular social interactions can wield in the professional relationship – that is, the counsellor’s perspective towards the client, and vice-versa. Simple interactions, such as a chat on the street or even the cup of coffee cited by Corsini are likely to have little influence over both entities’ mindsets, thus it is generally not perceived as a challenging situation. But certain situations which induce emotional attachment can be damaging to counselling goals and/or outcomes.

Mental health professionals diverge in opinions when it comes to dual relationships. However, the vast majority of therapists agree that dual relationships should be avoided, arguing that transference and counter transference are powerful responses that will inevitably influence the therapeutic relationship. Along with most ethical dilemmas, it is largely a matter of each case: context, individual personality traits and nature of the counselling relationship.

According to Karen Kitchener (1988), the types of dual relationships which were most likely to be detrimental to a therapeutic relationship included the following aspects: “incompatibility of expectations between roles; diverging obligations associated with different roles, which increases potential for loss of objectivity and; increased power and prestige between professionals and consumers, which increases the potential for exploitation”.

To surpass difficulties with dual relationships, counsellors ought to ascertain clear and realistic boundaries around the professional relationship with their clients. Such boundaries need to consider the needs and characteristics of each client, and how that will reflect in the overall relationship. Codes of practice and guidelines are important to set these boundaries; however, professionals must be sensitive to particular needs in each relationship and apply such knowledge to improve decision-making in the counselling process.

Mandatory Reporting

Mandatory reporting, or duty to warn, is one of the most sensitive topics in therapy and mental health. The bare existence of this concept already conflicts with ethical principles of confidentiality, thus deciding to report a client is a paradoxical pattern of thinking for any such professional. Nevertheless, it is an extremely important issue.

It can be defined as the necessity to break client confidentiality in order to protect the client or the community as a whole, when the client imposes a threat to his/her own safety, the community’s safety or the framework of law to which the community abides by. When laws and values conflict, which side should you take? Most cases of information disclosure in therapy are for the benefit of the client, such as sharing information with colleagues or supervisors in order to obtain an alternative opinion or perspective. However, when it comes to mandatory reporting, best interest of the community or society are preceded over the client’s interests. Thus, the default answer to the previous question is in fact, the law.

Needless to say, counsellors should be flexible when making decisions regarding mandatory reporting. There are several law frameworks which govern countries, states and regions, and each of them has its own agenda in respect to mandatory reporting requirements. Additionally, a wide variety of codes of conduct are also likely to influence the decision-making process for therapists and mental health professionals.

A common basis for reporting a client is the imminence of danger for the individual (self harm) or others (e.g. an ex-partner). “Exceptional circumstances may arise which give the counsellor good grounds for believing that serious harm may occur to the client or to other people. In such circumstances the client’s consent to change in the agreement about confidentiality should be sought whenever possible unless there are also good grounds for believing the client is no longer willing or able to take responsibility for his/her actions. Normally, the decision to break confidentiality should be discussed with the client and should be made only after consultation with the counselling supervisor or if he/she is not available, an experienced counsellor.” (Australian Counselling Association – Code of Conduct)

Informed Consent

Informed consent involves the communication of any information which matters to the client and which is pertinent to the therapeutic relationship. A building aspect of the client-counsellor relationships is the development of trust and rapport. A premise for creating trust and rapport is good communication. Good communication, conversely, is based on honesty. Thus, informed consent is not only an ethical requirement for the counsellor, but also a condition to achieve the collective goals of the relationship.

“Clients are entitled to know about all matters that affect them. They deserve to know the likelihood of harm (physical or mental) that could result from treatment, the possibility of side effects, the probability of success for treatment, the limits of confidentiality, whether student counselors will be involved, and the likely duration and cost of treatment.” (Corsini, 2000)

An effective way to ensure clients are adequately informed is to produce a standard information disclosure statement: a contract which comprises the counsellor’s and clients’ responsibilities and rights. A well-defined statement will provide the client with valuable information about areas such as: confidentiality, record-keeping, counselling management, relationship boundaries, and more. It is also a measurement which improves the quality of the service provided as it creates a clear framework of conduct for clients which are not acquainted with the process of therapy.

“Counsellors are responsible for reaching agreement with their clients about the terms on which counselling is being offered, including availability, the degree of confidentiality offered, arrangements for the payment of any fees, cancelled appointments and other significant matters. The communication of essential terms and any negotiations should be concluded by having reached a clear agreement before the client incurs any commitment or liability of any kind.” (Australian Counselling Association – Code of Conduct)

Reference List:

Australian Counselling Association (2002). ACA Code of Conduct. (4th version). Brisbane: Author. Corsini, R., & Wedding, D. (2000). Current Psychotherapies. (6th Edition). Belmont: Brooks/Cole. pp. 445-453. Kitchener, K. S. (1988). Dual role relationships: What makes them so problematic? Journal of Counseling & Development, 67(4), pp. 217–221.

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Inculcation of Ethics Through Education and Globalization Effects on Ethics

naraginti amareswaran asked:

Inculcation of Ethics Through Education and Globalization

Effects on Ethics

INTRODUCTION

‘The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government’…………..  Thomas Jefferson.

‘When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist’……………..Dom Helder Camara.

Now we are living in the technological modern world. Science and Technology have a prominent role in the development of the any nation in the world. India is a developing county in the world. Indian economy is the fourth largest economy in the world.   According to 2001 census the literacy rate of India is 64.84%. It is very less when compared to developed county in the world. The Planning Commission made a survey for finding out the number of persons below poverty line and estimated that 18.96% of the total peoples live below poverty line as of the year 1993-94. It is necessary to take care about poor and illiteracy.

ETHICS

Ethics is a major branch of philosophy, encompasses right conduct and good life. It is significantly broader than the common conception of analyzing right and wrong. A central aspect of ethics is “the good life”, the life worth living or life that is satisfying, which is held by many philosophers to be more important than moral conduct. The major problem is the discovery of the summum bonum, the greatest good.

Ethics are related to institutions and rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and human rights accordingly stem from ethics even if no moral grounds can be adduced. Yet moral grounds are to be found everywhere, including science. From the point where, in the name of ethics, science itself does not fall outside this domain, morals, similarly, do not lie outside the realm of ethics as ethics are a profoundly human, secular construction in so far as they represent a conscious choice or plan and a legal endeavour in terms of the law. The confusion that exists between rights and values on the one hand and between morals and ethics on the other lie at the heart of the debate on universal ethics, that is to say, universal ethics based on recognition of human rights.

Morals are linked to the very definition of ethics. Moral principles are extremely diverse. As it happens, morals, historically speaking, have come to be increasingly connected with religion as human society has developed. Therefore, the moral debate has also become a religious one and, as many religious phenomena do not lie beyond the scope of laws, between majorities and minorities, nor the ideological choices involved, it may be difficult to find the same moral values for all societies. Moral values are very diverse. A number of values are universal.

In generally, values may be classified as;

?         Personal Values

?         Social Values

?         Moral Values

?         Spiritual Values and

?         Behavioural values.

All these values are necessary for all types of persons in the society.

Why Ethics?

To enable young people to appreciate themselves and others, and to take greater responsibility for their actions and for the world around them.

ETHICS AND ECONOMICS

There are three ways in which ethics enters economics. First, economists have ethical values that help shape the way they do economics. This builds into the core of economic theory a particular view of how the economy does work and how it should work. Second, economic actors (consumers, workers, business owners) have ethical values that help shape their behavior. Third, economic institutions and policies impact people differentially and thus ethical evaluations, in addition to economic evaluations, are important.

Economists have Ethical Values

The issue of ethical value judgments in economics is at least as old as the John Neville Keynes argument which divided economics into three areas: positive (economic theory), normative (welfare economics), and practical (economic policy). The first deals with ‘what is’, the second with ‘what ought to be’, and the third with how to get from one to the other. Although the majority of economists admit that ethical values permeate welfare economics and economic policy, they proceed with some confidence in the belief that their work in pure and applied economic theory is ethically neutral. Methodologists studying the question are more cautious.

Ethics in the relationship between developed and less developed countries dictates that the developedcountries treat the less developed countries fairly, aware of their disadvantaged economic position, andacknowledging that taking advantage of one’s own economic power inevitably will hurt the poor withindeveloping countries.

What is unethical?

Economic institutions, rules, practices which disadvantage the poor will be viewed as unethical

Ethical behavior requires “progressivity”:  the poor should benefit disproportionately

Hypocritical behavior viewed as unethical

Advisers who are not “fully honest” viewed as unethical

ETHICS AND GLOBALIZATION

The world has been utterly transformed in recent years by a phenomenon affecting us all, what we call globalization. Although there was a time when it was possible for citizens of one country to think of themselves as owing no obligation to the people of other nations, admittedly that was long ago. Today national borders have less meaning as issues of trade, environment, and health, along with incredible technological advances of the last century, have left us with a legacy of connectedness we cannot ignore.

We know globalization involves complete economic liberalization, i.e., opening doors to big businesses. Multinational corporations are at the forefront. Globalization wants the governments around the world to create an environment that is as conducive as possible to its growth of business. Regional groupings like APEC, GATT and WTO are totally committed to the same goal. The connection between big businesses, governments and regional and international institutions to create an environment for globalization is not an accident. It has historic roots in colonization, and as such, the dominant forces behind globalization are based in the developed world. Nonetheless, it would be wrong to describe globalization today as a replica of the Western colonial experience only. This is because one of the centres of power is based in Japan. Other centres of control in Northeast and Southeast Asia are emerging.

In reflecting on the good and bad sides of globalization we find that whatever good has come out of it is actually a by-product. The very motive, maximizing profit is
responsible for its bad sides. So, globalization may well be one of the most serious challenges ever to the integrity of human civilization. Since society and culture hold some positive aspects it is important that it is not completely rejected. Ethics and moral standards should be injected into some economic activities as a short-term and medium-term strategy. The market should be regulated by ethical principles. The challenge is to devise ethical economically-sound policies built into the globalization process that are in keeping with values. I mean, the economic dimensions of globalization are not the only factors that need reconsidering. Culture should be guided by moral universal values whereby a strong ethic of restraint is within one culture is applied to prevent the dominance of another culture. The internationalization of the ethical values within the consciousness of the individual and the community could be the only hope for humanity. It is almost impossible to effectively censor all information through the Internet, satellite, etc. The individual who derives his/her value-system should be guided by time-honoured principles of what is right and wrong. Such individuals are the real antidotes to the bad effects of globalization.

Positive aspects of Globalization

Ø      Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has helped to reduce poverty by creating jobs and improving incomes.

Ø      The expansion of trade and foreign investment has accelerated social mobility and strengthened the middle class.

Ø      New communications and information technology have helped disseminate knowledge in many fields of study and disciplines.

Ø      Communication is cheaper and easier. Costs of telephone calls as well as travel have fallen. This makes it easier to understand one another. Communities although heterogeneous, can be more cooperative now that are more means of understanding each other.

Ø      Globalization makes it possible for humanity to have compassion for each other when calamities, natural or man-made, affect others.

Ø      Issues such as human rights and public accountability are brought to the fore.

Ø      The rights of women are highlighted and the problems many women face are now addressed.

Negative aspects of Globalization

v     Environmental degradation due to unrestrained activities of multinational corporations whose sole aim is to multiply profits.

v     Although poverty has been reduced to a certain extent, new economic disparities have been created. There are stark regional disparities in poverty.

v     Basic necessities in life are set aside in favour of profits. Many developing countries have been occupied with facilitating foreign investment in industries that are lucrative to foreign markets and discarding the most fundamental needs of the people.

v     Globalization aids the removal of national controls over cross-border financial flows. Dramatic outflows of capital from one country to another have caused havoc in some currencies, particularly in Southeast, and South Asia including Bangladesh.

v     Advances in technology aggravated by the outflow of capital to low cost production sites in the developing countries has caused growing unemployment in the developed countries, which is an cause offence to human dignity.

v     Globalization has popularized the consumer culture. Consumerism has given birth to materialism where people are more interested in what they have rather than the essential aspects of humanity.

v     Global consumerism is now forming a homogeneous global culture where rich indigenous cultures of many developing countries are being replaced by cultures with vibrant economies.

v     Formal education systems are emphasizing technical and managerial skills responding to market demands and leaving aside traditional academic subjects. This means that education is nothing more than acquiring specific skills and techniques to do business and less emphasis on development of social or basic sciences.

v     Although the IT boom has given rise to an expanse of information there is a lot of information that is useless and meaningless causing people to be pre-occupied with unimportant things.

v     Double standards are present in the human rights aspect of the present world where they are used as part of many governments’ policy but only when it suits them.

Because of globalization we have some advantages and disadvantages. We are human beings. Take good things and leave bad things. The policies of some developed countries are not good for developing countries. The ethical value decreases day by day. The business person gives more important for profit only. Organizational ethics is very important.

Centre for Globalization

The Yale Center for the Study of Globalization uses a variety of means to explore globalization and promote the flow of ideas pertinent to our core issues. The activities organized by the YCSG are designed to interconnect in ways that will further the Center’s mission and enable us to achieve our goals. It is necessary to establish this type of centre in our university also. In the modern generation also computer literacy is very low in our community. It is very sad thing that our students have no interest to learn computer education. It is very necessary in the scientific and technological world.

INCULCATION ETHICS THOUGH EDUCATION

Value education means inculcating in the children a sense of humanism, a deep concern for the well being of others and the nation. This can be accomplished only when we instill in the children a deep feeling of commitment to values that would build this country and bring back to the people pride in work that brings order, security and assured progress.

Value education has the capacity to transform a diseased mind into a very young, fresh, healthy, natural and attentive mind. The transformed mind is capable of higher sensitivity and a heightened level of perception this leads to fulfillment of the evolutionary role in man and in life

By saying autobiography of good persons like Gandiji, Vivekananda, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Ramananda, Tagore and Sathya Sai Baba; we can easily inculcate values in the students and in the people.

Thinking with love is truth

Feeling with love is peace

Acting with love is right conduct

Understanding with love is non-violence

-Sathya Sai

According the Sathya Sai Baba the following five values are necessary for students.

v     Right Conduct

v     Peace

v     Truth

v     Love

v     Non-Violence

Gandhi’s Values:

In order to create new social order Gandhiji introduced Nai Talim in the year 1937, which is popularly known as Basic Education.

1.      Truth

2.      Non-violence

3.      Freedom

4.      Democracy

5.      Sarva Dharma Samabhava

6.      Equality

7.      Self-realization

8.      Purity of ends and means

9.      Self-discipline

10.  Suddhi

If there is no place for values education in the curriculum, we can inculcate values through other subjects like Social Sciences & Technology. Learning takes place through lesson plans based on practical, meaningful and fun activities using the five components of:


>Stories – about life, identity & relationships;

Quotations, poems and prayers;

Songs and music;

Silent sitting – exercises leading to inner calm and peace;

Activities e.g. drama, discussion, games, role play, community service, etc.

CONCLUSIONS

Swamy Vivekananda said “We want that education by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded, and by which one can stand on one’s own feet”. It is true. It is our Government duty to give such type of education for each and every student in the country. Through education only we can solve all types of problems. Through education it is easy to motivate people about  Ethical value and Moral values and human rights. Education gives knowledge, strength and creativity. India is a fourth largest economy in the world. The youth population is also very high. By proper using of science & technology and human & natural resources India will become developed country in the world.

We must protect the forests for our children, grandchildren and children yet to be born. We must protect the forests for those who can’t speak for themselves such as the birds, animals, fish and trees.

References:

Peter Singer. ‘One World-The Ethics of Globalization’, 2004.

Amrtya Sen. ‘On Ethics and Economics’.

3.      Value Education, Dr. Venkataiah, Editor, APH Publishing Corporation, 5, Ansari Road, Daryaganji, New Delhi – 110 002, First Edition, 1998.

4.      Value Education in India, Usha Rai Negi, Editor, Published by association of Indian Universities, AIU House, 16 Kotla Mark, New Delhi – 110 002, 2000.

http://www.google.com

http://www.yahoosearch.com

*****

Hirer Beware! Do’s and Don’ts for Hiring in the Medical Field

John Burke asked:

When I first started doing office management, I had a lot of problems finding good employees. It seemed like the people I was hiring could do the work, but had the wrong attitude.

According to a new article in the Medical Group Management Association’s newsletter, I was using the wrong criteria: “You should hire for attitude and train for skills. Skills don’t mitigate a bad attitude or disruptive personality.”

This is completely true. I remember hiring a young woman who could juggle phones and patients effortlessly, but could not stop complaining about her salary. She felt the older employees did less and made more, and she wound up trying to get her peer coworkers to band together and stage a mutiny.

When that failed, she threatened to quit on the spot if I didn’t give her an increase. Believe it or not, I was a little sorry to see her go.

The article explains what I learned the hard way, and that’s to establish a criteria for any available position. Create a prioritized list and even have those involved in the interviewing process score each candidate, to insure objectivity.

Best of all, were five questions they deemed crucial to the process:

”1. Tell me about the first job you ever had. Because the first job they ever had could have been years ago and unrelated to the one for which they’re applying, applicants don’t expect this question. The answer may reveal their values and ethics.

2. Tell me about the achievements in your life you’re most proud of and the obstacles or problems you had to overcome. The answer indicates what motivates applicants.

3. Tell me about your last performance appraisal. An applicant reveals his/her level of self-esteem and feelings about another’s appraisal.

4. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rank yourself as a (insert relevant term)? Then ask what it will take to get to the next number.

5. What one question would you like to ask me? After answering, ask, “Why, of all the questions you could have asked, did you choose that one?” Role reversal is always informative, plus the question reveals an applicant’s No. 1 priority.”

Treating the hiring process as a serious endeavor is crucial to having a good staff. There is no absolute guarantee, but defining exactly what you’re looking for allows you the benefit of finding someone who fits your needs first and foremost. In any case, several of these concepts may not be of much use when applied to situations where several family members work within the same practice.

My first job was working weekends and every summer for my uncle, who was a general practioner. My aunt was his office manager, and part of the reason I worked there was because I earned less than minimum wage.

Now, I loved my aunt and uncle, and I’m grateful for learning about a job so early in life that would become my profession as an adult. But I learned from that experience not to work in the medical equivalent of a mom and pop store.

For one thing, as per my experience, family businesses often pay their employees according to their own personal scale, and not per the industry standard. This usually translates into lower pay and sometimes fewer benefits.

Also, there is a close-knit bond which develops that can be daunting. In a sense, you become a part of their extended family, which can make it hard to be objective about your professional goals.

On the other hand, when I worked for my uncle, he had a woman who worked the reception desk who was having serious marital difficulties. She called in sick twice a month, but was rarely ill (if you know what I mean). Because my aunt liked her and had a personal interest in the woman’s marriage working out, she put up with this behavior until the woman finally just quit because she was moving out of state to go live with her parents.

My aunt had to cover her shifts until a replacement could be found, which of course, illustrates the risk involved for the employer in these more intimate working arrangements.

What Happened to Business Ethics and Responsibility?

Mel Luigs asked:

I remember a “Business Ethics” seminar I took in college that confirmed everything my parents had taught me a child. I heard clearly that capitalism was not an easy way to steal money from others but a way to make as an honest living by providing a service or product to people who needed and wanted it. This secured my desire to become a businessman. During my career, I have held different positions in small, medium and even large Fortune 100 corporations. I have had the opportunity to work with great visionaries, empty “suits”, assembly workers, and, yes, those individuals who only wanted to get all they could while doing as little as they could.

The one constant I have always seen in the U. S. free market system is that a quality company with a quality product or service using quality employees always seems to do better over the long term than the snake oil vendor. Successful companies work hard to inject ethics and morals in everything they do and they take responsibility for their actions. Quality business leaders do not expect a “bailout” or feel they even deserve one. If they cannot assemble a team of enthusiastic employees who can achieve success, they clearly understand and believe they should fail and do something else. I have been involved with several business bankruptcies and none of the owners or employees of these companies felt anything but shame and failure for having left suppliers with debt, employees without a job and customers without a supplier. These leaders might have failed but many of them took their failure personally and worked as hard as they could to pay off all their debts and satisfy everyone who lost due to their bankruptcy. Those without ethics and morals merely started up a new corporation with a new name and immediately began to take advantage of others and repeat their failure.

I have been absolutely amazed at the automotive industry that very easily and arrogantly asked for taxpayer bailouts and are quick to blame the current economic crisis rather than themselves and their management teams. In our free enterprise system, a company that cannot manage its assets properly, has a product or service that the public wants to buy, and makes a profit for its shareholders goes out of business. Granted its employees, customers and suppliers lose money because of this situation but then they all find a replacement company and continue on with their futures.

Our free market concept is not extremely complex but must include ethics, morality and responsibility to achieve the highest of success and quality. The U. S. business model, for many years, was that ethical and quality concept the rest of the world not only envied but hoped to become. Even the Russians and Chinese, our fiercest Communist enemies for decades, are now embracing capitalism because we have become the world’s superpower with our ethical and quality business model.

Now here we stand about to enter 2009, and hopefully the last year of our largest economic downturn in the past 50 years, watching the CEO’s of the “Big Three” fail to admit their lengthy management failure which has allowed labor costs to be double any other auto manufacturer and provided exorbitant retiree pension and health care costs. For decades the “Big Three” bowed to their labor unions and were able to pass all the costs along to the consuming public with little or no competition to keep them honest. They fought and fought against every U. S. government agency that sought higher C.A.F.E. standards when oil was $25 a barrel but now believe they can retool and achieve amazing products and standards within the next two years if the US will only loan them a mere fifty billion dollars. This equates to $200 from every American man, woman and child living in the U. S. Our auto industry was, for several decades, the best in the world and an example of what innovation and technology could achieve. Many of us, in the business world, studied case after case on General Motors in business school and were impressed with the success and vision of the U. S. auto industry

While this is an astonishing and sad commentary on the ethics and morals of the management of these companies, I find something else even more disgusting. The media and many politicians are now discussing a “pre-packaged bankruptcy” as a possible answer to their management failure. While all of us have sometimes slipped from our ethical pedestal, this suggestion is the ultimate loss of ethics and responsibility in our society.

I always advise my clients that bankruptcy is a process to be avoided at all costs. It is the point of ultimate failure by every business entity. If a business is having severe problems, the company and its management should do the right thing and negotiate with all parties to solve its problems and do everything to stay out of bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is only good for lawyers and takes over complete control of a business. How many businesses run by lawyers and courts ever succeed? Bankruptcy, by definition, normally requires the vast majority of all parties lose money and should only be used as an absolute last step. Bankruptcy has no ethics or morals. It carries a stigma for many years and labels the company as being unable to negotiate, succeed or perform a valuable service for the public. What makes anyone want to buy a car from a manufacturer that entered bankruptcy because they could not properly manage their company?

The auto industry should take the responsible and ethical route to solve their problems. They should negotiate with their employees, unions, retirees, suppliers and customers to fix their issues. They should also immediately work to change their corporate culture and reinstate a sense of ethics, integrity and responsibility in their employees which probably entails changing senior management and the Board of Directors who have now demonstrated their inability to run their companies correctly.

I am not naive enough to believe that the unions, employees and some suppliers will do what is necessary to become part of the solution and bankruptcy could ultimately still be required to achieve the end goal of saving these companies. This would be a gross injustice to all concerned because the legal costs would be astronomical and the company culture would probably not see the change needed to again make the auto industry the best in the world. I would love to be able to discuss with my grandchildren their business college case studies on General Motors. I remain very optimistic that ethics, morals and responsibility will once again become a part of the U. S. business culture.

As to our politicians, I am not as optimistic since we have seen that many of our elected officials vote based upon constituent polls and campaign contributions from lobby groups. I agree with the vast majority of Americans who give the US Congress a very dismal approval rating. Their agenda is focused more on their next election than on ethical and responsible decisions for their constituents. It is also a sad commentary on America’s sense of ethics and responsibility when a convicted felon in Alaska came very close to winning reelection to the Senate. His Republican colleagues in the Senate are extremely happy he did not win because many of them would have had to take a new poll in their states before deciding whether to allow a felon to be seated in the next session of Congress.

A very positive note in this situation is that a review of American history reveals that ethics, morals and responsibility become more prevalent in the US after a serious financial recession. Religion and personal introspection seem to become more important to the American citizen when his or her savings and retirement accounts loose
half their value. Church attendance, volunteering at charitable operations, spending time with our children and even family dinners all see increases during recessions and I’m sure that will be the case when history is recorded on the 2008-2009 recession. Those politicians running for reelection in 2010 should be prepared for this moral shift.

Our current economic downturn is not the last we will see in our lifetime and the US will recover and be better afterwards as has been the case in the past. However, I do hope that we can say the same thing about our ethics, morals and business responsibility.

The Need for a Code of Ethics on Internet Usage

Annabelle Rox asked:

To understand the issue of internet ethics, you must first have a basic understanding of how the internet actually works.

Although the internet actually came into being by the American military in 1969, it wasn’t until 1989 that the World Wide Web was created in Switzerland. Today there are some 400 million people regularly using the internet for both personal and business matters.

The internet was originally designed as a closed network for military and then academic purposes and, because of this closed nature dealing with specific issues, the problem of online ethics was not foreseen.

Only the intellectual few were able to use the internet in its early days and as such, a set of values seen as inherent in these individuals was basically seen as the ‘code of conduct’. Therefore, acceptance of disagreement and aversion to restraint were seen as acceptable at that time.

The growth of the Internet has been incredible and more and more people are using it for increasingly longer periods to do more things. No longer is the internet the property of the intellectual few. In many societies, the internet can be accessed by almost all citizens. If they don’t have the internet at home, it can normally be accessed through academic institutions or libraries.

Although the internet was first developed for Americans, it has long since ceased to be an American phenomenon although around two thirds of users are still Americans. At the moment, the debate is basically between the USA and Western Europe. However, as Internet growth continues, so does the need to accommodate a broader range of cultures and value systems.

Understanding the need for ethics on the internet requires a basic understanding of the nature of the internet and the services it provides.

The main forms of content are the World Wide Web, Email, Chat rooms, and Usenet newsgroups.

The World Wide Web which now consists of over one billion sites that range from the simple personal homepage that many people have today right up to the very sophisticated sites of professional businesses.

Email allows instant communication with other internet users worldwide. The implications of this ability in business are enormous.

There are around 40 thousand chat rooms online. These are generally focussed on a particular subject or group of people and allows people to communicate either one on one or in groups. This ability has certainly made the world a smaller place, particularly for those who have family and friends in other countries.

There are also around 40 thousand newsgroups that enable people to share articles about a range of different subjects. These can range from the technical to the bizarre. Sometimes the ethics of the more sexually bizarre can come into debate.

So how can a code of ethics be applied to services of the internet? There are a number of things that need to be considered but, particularly where there are children, parental supervision cannot be surpassed.

The internet is made up of many networks and this continues to grow. The services all have different characteristics that need to be treated differently so any ethics debate must take this into account.

There are many different people involved in the internet and these people all have different agendas. There are companies who specialise in internet infrastructure, Internet Service Providers, as well as those who provide content. Not all companies provide services to all chat rooms or newsgroups and so forth. Therefore, ethics can only be applied when it is known who has the control and responsibility for all of these services.

With the ever increasing populace of the internet, this call for ethics has become global and is not restricted to the specialists but to the general public who want solutions that are practical and focussed.

The World Wide Web needs to be seen as part of society rather than as a separate entity and, as such, it should be subject to the same values and ethics as we expect in offline business. It is a fundamental aspect of modern day business and should not be seen as a value free zone.

Issues such as copyright, child pornography, consumer protection, racial vilification and so forth need to be subject to the same laws and ethical standards as general society and more stringent controls put in place for the protection of the masses of people using the internet.

Failure to do so can only result in World Wide Anarchy via this medium of the internet. Is this the future we want for our children?

Why are Using Search Engines Such as Ethics of Using Labels?

Sonu Seo asked:

Pay per click search engine advertising billions of dollars in revenue per year. If you spend the money to manipulate search results, which means: The success of the investigation in may inferior quality of PPC. Especially someone purpose other than the search for that money. Optimizing search engines is unethical? Optimizing search engine is nothing more than a means to help spread the message. Nothing more, nothing less. Call unethical optimization of search engines is similar to requiring the creation of a Web site or print a newspaper unethical.

Seo Services can be used for ideas unethical (racism, war, ignorance, sweat shop labor for companies such as Nike, etc.). SEO occasionally can be used for ethical ideas (equality, peace, education, security and fair working conditions, etc.).

SEO itself may not normally be associated with an ethics guideline B / S. SEO can be used to push what they want all ideas. Why Search engine optimization of the use of experts in marketing angle ethical?

The SEO industry is often lacking credibility. Its easier to use than as a trademark, it is too original and bring his own. Spamming is unethical? Spam e-mails are unsolicited, and to spend the time to market and cost of marketing the person opening their e-mail. Because it steals your time (a part of his life, never recovered) e-mail spam is exceptionally false.

Can a search engine spam?

A search engine is not a person. A search engine is a tool. When the algorithm is a mistake to push the blame for some “anomalies” webmasters. The real solution is a better algorithm. Webmasters, content to fill the results may not be sufficient to win content that the search engines to a ton of ads. Some of these same text webmaster sell links to other high profit margin. This is obviously arbitrary, ill because search engines want to be half man and want to take advantage of the many revenue from advertising on the Internet.

The facts about SEO.

Being an honest businessman is a good thing. Some marketing ethics is a flagrant sign of desperation. The purpose of the list is to provide customers with a site for a better classification of search phrases to disseminate messages or make sales. Whatever search engine optimization, search engines, or customers say: SEO, the sponsor for search engines.

Some methods are more risky than others, and most sites do not need to be promoted through exceptionally risky methods. Some SEOs are too aggressive, many other agencies of marketing money and little work for payment. You should, before moving to the SEO research. The code of ethics is a marketing concept used by: Or people who are new to search engine optimization and not ignorant, or Or not original marketing severe lack of creativity. Since a search engine is a tool, not something you can spam. Smart clients are Wising up Some clients ask alleged White Hat SEO’s.

Sharing Christ in the Workplace

Darlene G. Snyder asked:

Our Mandate

Do you believe there is ever a time when we should not witness?  What do you think about witnessing in the workplace, is it ethical?  As Christians, should we consider the employer before taking their time to witness?  When is it ok to share Christ at work?

Some might say regardless of where we work, Christians should give employer’s a fair day’s work. We should not cheat by taking away from their time to witness. While I would agree, we need to be honest in all our dealings, including in the workplace, I believe it is erroneous to think Christians should not share at work.

It is the calling of a Christian to represent Christ to people, even those in the workplace. We need only to look at Matthew 28:19-20 – the commission to all Christians to be witnesses. In addition, God has placed us where we are with definite gifts and the potential to proclaim His truth in our world, which includes our workplace.

As Christians, we should be aware of company rules and guidelines. Even then, I believe opportunities abound and we can share in other ways. Sometimes, it just takes awareness on our part and taking advantage of opportunities to share when they arise.

Our Behavior

I’ve worked for thirty-five years, most jobs I held were office related. I did, however work in a factory for a few years, and I understand when we are on a timeline to complete a project, witnessing may be the last thing on our minds. After all, in some instances, the wrong approach could cause us to lose our job.

For the last twenty years, I’ve worked as Supervisor in a busy office. I must confess, in all of my years working, I allowed many witnessing opportunities pass me by. I stumbled making many mistakes along my way.

It is difficult enough to witness, but with the actions of some Christians in the workplace, it serves only to make witnessing harder for those of us who are trying to share the gospel.

I’ve seen Christians who whine, fuss, and even curse when things don’t go their way. In addition, the way they conduct themselves in their personal life is appalling to those of us who are trying to win others to Christ. This type behavior has turned many people away from Christ.

Ephesians 6:5-8 describes the way we are to approach our jobs. Some of the behaviors represented are, obedience, the right attitude, commitment and diligence. If our behavior is anything less, we send a message to those who are lost that our heart is set on earthly things. We are not showing Christ to them. If we work using these verses as guidelines, our workplace will become our mission field.

In some work settings, showing Christ is the only way to share Him. If we fail in this area, no one is going to listen to us when we do find opportunities to witness verbally.

Another way we can show Christ is to do our work well. Whatever we do in word or deed, we must do in the name of Jesus (Col. 3:17). Our actions should reflect Christ. Whatever we do or say in our workplace is a way of sharing Christ.

Our Relationships

How many hours do you spend in the workplace each week?  Like many others, you likely spend most of your waking hours there. We build relationships with co-workers, customers and others in our work setting. Some of us are employed in more of a relaxed work atmosphere, talking freely to one another. Yet, sharing Christ seems a little scary. Fear keeps us from witnessing.

I’ve found no matter where I’ve worked, people are looking for answers. Mostly they are looking for spiritual answers. It’s not an accident we find ourselves where we are. God has placed us there to share and He gives us opportunities to share our faith at work.

I love the promise found in Philippians 4:19 that says God shall supply my needs according to his riches in glory. This promise came alive to me one day recently.

My mind on the tasks of the day before me, I was approached by two employees who asked to speak to me privately. This was not something out of the ordinary. Many times employees approach me, in need of a listening ear, seeking advice or in need of instruction or clarification regarding their jobs.

When the door shut behind us, I was somewhat caught off guard. The non-Christian employee had approached her Christian co-worker in tears, wanting to talk about spiritual matters. They wanted my help and asked if I had a Bible.

If the Christian employee and I had not developed a relationship with this non-Christian, she may have never found her way to Christ. We were able to share with her that day and eventually she received Christ as her personal Savior.

Jesus, Our Example

It is the workplace where Jesus spent most of his time and ministry. His first four disciples were working when he called them. They were not expecting to meet Jesus. Their mind was on their jobs, fishing and mending nets. Then there are the vineyard workers, tax collectors, centurions, carpenters, scribes, and more; all busy at work when they met Jesus.

Jesus was fully human, experiencing what we experience in our lives and work. He knows our feelings, our insecurities and our hardships. Yet, He continued witnessing, even when others were against Him.

There is so much darkness in the world. We are to be the light that eliminates the darkness from our workplace.

How then are we to be that light?  We first recognize that Jesus the Light, gives us the strength and that He is always with us, even when we face the darkness. Where can a Christian go that His presence is not there?  Psalms 139 reminds us that there isn’t anywhere we can go that He isn’t there.

1st Peter 4:14 (NKJV) says If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you for the Spirit of glory rests upon you… We must realize that not everyone will be open to our sharing. We must show respect to these people, even when we are reproached by them. The only thing you can do is to live your life as an example. Allow the Holy Spirit to work. Pray daily for them and you will be blessed.

Tips for Sharing

·       Get to know the people with whom you work. It is easier to witness if you know their background, beliefs and personalities.

·       Look for common interest. If one likes basketball, talk to them about your favorite team.

·       Show them you are interested in their life by listening. Ask questions. You can’t expect them to listen to you if you aren’t interested in what they have to say.

·       Attend events and functions with them. This shows you are involved in other things outside the church.

·       Your actions, attitude and behavior in the workplace can influence others. Be sure to think before acting or reacting. Others are watching.

·       Integrate your faith into your work. Bow your head, asking the blessing over your food before eating. Read your Bible during breaks. Let Co-workers know you are praying for them when difficulties arise in their lives.

·       Invite people to church. Don’t harass them but if the opportunity arises during conversations, don’t be afraid to invite them to attend a worship service. Volunteer to pick them up on your way.

·       Handle difficulties in a Christ like manner. Perfection is not expected nor required. Even Christians face difficult times. The manner in which you respond to the complexities of your world, speaks more than any words you have to say.

·       Your work is important to God. When you have a bad day, turn to Christ for solace and encouragement.

·       Share your story. Your experiences might be just what a co-worker needs to hear.

Our Mission

For Christians, sharing Christ should come as natural as breathing. Some of us go a lifetime without witnessing to those lost around us. It is shameful for us not to try reach them for Christ. Remember He opened the door to salvation for you when you were not part of the original family of God.

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”  Ephesians 2:13 (NKJV)

Life for Christians has one goal: accomplish God’s mission. According to Acts 1:8, our mission is to be His witnesses. Once we understand the importance and the urgency, then our mindset, views and life will change.

Recalling what Christ did for us at Calvary, we should strive to live our faith in every part of our lives. If we do, sharing will become as ordinary as breathing.

SEO An Ethical Appeal

Scott Lindsay asked:

If you use a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) firm to help increase your sites visibility to search engines you should be aware that one of the simplest ways unscrupulous firms use to manage a meteoric rise to the number one spot is simply through Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising.

Essentially you pay an SEO firm to place advertising in such a way as to allow your site to be ranked in first place (preference being granted to the highest bidder). In the end, the SEO firm honored their commitment to move your ranking to number one, but they often do so using a method you could do yourself (advertising) while doing little in the way of long term results. As soon as you stop paying for SEO services, the advertising goes away and so does your ranking.

The rise of illegitimate SEO firms has grown tremendously making it difficult for quality SEO firms to do business in a trusting environment.

Legitimate firms want you to ask questions. They are happy to provide testimonials and may even go so far as to list the services they provided for each client. Ethical SEO firms will help you understand the relationship between the content of your website and the correlation to improved long-term search rankings.

Quality SEO does not resort to hidden words, keyword stuffing or other black hat marketing techniques. A professional SEO consultant understands their job is to help search engines define the best material on the web and help their client become one of the best providers of content for the web.

This double-edged approach takes into account the genuine needs of both client and the Word Wide Web community at large. By attempting to bolster the desires of both, the ethical SEO firm is seem as a partner in trust for both parties.

Managing SEO techniques is something that can be learned (and many site owners are), but if you’re going to search for someone to assist you it is in your long-term best interest to find a firm that really helps you and not one that simply props you up until they get paid.

It’s not wrong to want quick results, which is why you can always develop your own PPC advertising program. However, you should view this scenario as a short-term solution. Ethical SEO development will assist you, but you may need to be patient while it gently, but consistently works to impress the search engines.

Prostitution

Punkerslut asked:

Prostitution

By Punkerslut

I must say that the practice of prostitution has been given a very bad name. Yet, I see it everywhere. Men who pay for sex are simply either pre-occupied or too lazy. If they wanted to save some cash, they could simply spend 15 minutes everyday grooming themselves, and then hitting up the clubs every night. Sure sure, they would be spending about $20 to $40 on drinks and maybe three or four hours of hitting on a girl, but they would still get sex. And, honestly, what is the difference between simply paying a woman to have sex, and looking nice and buying them drinks to have sex? I can extend this analogy even further. What if someone decides, in fact, to spend several hours every day or week in courtship, for weeks or months, until marriage? In such a case, they would have achieved the required social steps for sex. In that case, they are still just giving in a certain amount of time and effort to satisfy their sexual libido. If a man spends hours laboring at his profession, is paid, and then spends this money on a prostitute, how does this differ from a man spending hours hitting on a woman and then her finally accepting the sexual proposal? I cannot find one difference in any of these circumstances that would make prostitution immoral or unethical.

Yes, there is the difference that in one of these cases, money is specifically offered for the action of sex. I am not denying this at all. The only thing I am denying is that the exchange of money for sex matters. Whether sex was paid for or whether it was obtained through that clever game of sexual selection and competition, it is all irrelevant. Just because sex was paid for in one instance, I do not think that it ought to be outlawed or even condemned. As humane and rational men, the source of our ethical imperatives comes from one idea. It is the idea that our actions improve, better, and aid the lives of those around us. This can be done in a number of ways. If our actions can be judged as increasing the pleasure of others, and decreasing the misery of others, then it ought to be said that our actions are ethical, that they have done some good, that they have decreased misery and increased happines. With this ethical ideal understood, there can be no argument against prostitution. The system of buying and selling sex has been and will continue to be a means of mutual satisfaction: the cash for the prostitute, and the pleasure for the customer.

In all honesty, I believe the greatest amount of opposition to prostitution that comes today is simply an animosity against the sex act in general. Those same individuals who oppose prostitution probably support the law of statutory rape. They believed that if a consenting 18 year old had sex with a consenting 17 year old, that it was a tragic act, that it permanently scarred the 17 year old and that the heart of the 18 year old was stone cold. The same people who oppose legalizing prostitution also oppose distribution of contraceptive devices, arguing that “if sex is safe, then more sex will be committed.” These people would rather that disease infest and destroy the bodies of young people than allow them to take happiness in the warmth of each others’ bodies. The puritanical spirit is still among our society, unfortunately, and it is the people who are paying for it. Venereal disease and unwanted pregnancy effects all ages, all races. By doing all that we can to eliminate these social ills, we are elevating the spirit of humanity, the creed of kinship, the bond that may be called our experience together.

Among the primary arguments of those who oppose prostitution, there is the purity argument. It is not a question of the disease spread by illegal prostitutes, or of the criminal element associated with it, but rather, it is a matter of purity. By allowing people to exchange sex for cash, we are allowing people to engage in impure acts, which are destructive towards themselves. My response to this is simple: irrelevant. It is irrelevant whether an action is judged to be pure or impure. Personally, I believe that allowing children to live in poverty, allowing armies of unemployed to starve, and restricting the flow of information is impure. It is impure to build palaces when there are still men and women without homes. If it was impure to feed the poor and homeless, should we make it illegal? If it was pure to murder and rape, should we make it legal? Of course not. The terms “pure” and “impure” are meaningless. If conservatives are simply going to apply it without any purpose, then it is with complete disregard for morality and the goodness of mankind.

A real question that I would like to ask these conservative thinkers is this: by what standard can you define anything as pure or impure? What is the scale? And, once this is decided, how is it relevant to anything? If it happens that murder is impure, that holds no relevance over whether it is legal or illegal. Murder is illegal because it causes suffering and misery, and so is the same reason why rape or assault are illegal. It it happens that helping the innocent escape an evil fate is pure, it has nothing to do with the law. It is legal to help innocent people because it eliminates misery and suffering. So, when we decide to judge something like prostitution, and if it weighs out to being impure, why should this even aid in our decision? After all, prostitution, much like the sex act alone, creates happiness and pleasure for many. It is a mutually benefiting relationship. That is why it must be legalized.

There are still some other considerations to think about. For example, what about those prostitutes who are not willingly prostitutes? What of those prostitutes who engage in the practice for the sake of obtaining food and not for the sake of choosing it as a profession? Some will argue, very rightly too, that prostitution allows people to sell their bodies, even though the practice scars their mind. I admit, this is very true. Yet, it cannot be denied that every profession contains people who are scarred by their labor. Consider the Mexican laborers, whose rights are violated daily as they are forced to work 14 hours a day. Consider the American laborer who lives in a closet and works 10 hours a day so he can have nothing. The decades and decades of their lives spent living in such poverty and misery, inflicted on the lives of hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people. There is no doubt that professions all over the world have allowed for so much misery, so much pain, so much cruelty. They exist solely because of the exploitive, oppressive relationships that are allowed to flourish in society. The problem is not prostitution. The problem is the poverty of a Capitalist economy. If the scarring of prostitution, or any other profession, is to be eliminated, we need Socialism on our law books. It is the only savior of the proletariat.

Before ending, there is one other matter that ought to be discussed. It is the matter of the rights of women, of Feminism, of sexism versus sexuality. Feminists will argue that prostitution will only make women seem more like objects and less like individuals with interests and emotions. First, there is a double standard. There are gigolos, or male prostitutes, and one might inquire how this impacts the image that women have of men. Some might agree, and believe that both institutions should be abolished. Yet, such an action would be too hasty and too reckless. Sex, whether paid for or not, is usually about satisfying an urge. A Feminist might as well say that men and women shouldn’t have sex with each other at all, to prevent them from having sexual thoughts about each other, or from developing ideas about the other gender. No doubt, everyone will disagree with such
a social plan. Eliminating sex will perhaps cause the greatest misery in society. And, the fact that nobody wants to eliminate sex, is fair and good evidence that the spirit of Puritanism is slowly but surely dying. Whether or not prostitution will put a prejudice in the mind of men is not something that can be battled by prohibiting prostitution, but only by a real and honest education given to all people, so that they can appreciate the relationships they have with each other.

If society were to accept prostitution as a valid form of pleasure, entertainment, and employment, then the ills commonly associated with it would become nonexistent. The disease that is spread through unprotected sex would become extremely limited and restricted. With regulatory law, these sex workers would be required to have protected sex. And, with safe sex, those who purchased the services of these employees would be safe. There is no doubt that prostitution should be legalized. For some time, casual sex without commitment was a matter of law. It was illegal. But today, we are smart enough to understand and believe that what two consenting people do behind closed doors is their business and their business only. It is not a crime to make awkward artwork or read obscure literature, but for a long time it was illegal, punished with death and torture. Yet as time has worn on, we have become more humane, more rational, more passionate about the rights of the people and the liberties of the individual. It is no longer a crime to read banned books, it is no longer a crime to revel in obscure artworks, it is no longer a crime to have consensual sex. Yet… It is still a matter of law when it comes to exchanging sex for cash. As the spirit of progress is guided by the flame of reason, we must change these laws.

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For Life, Punkerslu

Ethical Issues in Contemporary Business

Andrew asked:

Business ethics is crucial to overall society well being and corporate organizations, if to view the issue from the business standpoint. Public confidence is ethical business operation is only yet to recover, as of February 2004, 75 percent of Americans found the image of big corporations either “not good” or even “terrible”. The crucial step when it comes to business ethics – is to admit existence of a problem that is essentially based in the difference in the corporate values of different stakeholder groups. While society wants to receive well paid jobs, the focus of many organizations remains on cost minimization and maximization of productivity levels. While society wants to purchase goods at the lowest prices possible, businesses are normally profit seeking entities. Finally, it is crucial for society to sustain environmentally clean surroundings, whereas for business – this goal is followed by additional costs. These conflicts are fundamental to the nature of business, it is crucial for managers to find the balance between different stakeholder groups including workers, customers, company owners, and the larger community.

Rapid technologic and scientific innovation followed by globalization makes the need to balance between stakeholders needs even more difficult. Ethical standards and practices often are not even able to keep with scientific innovation such as cloning. When it comes to business practices issues arise with U.S. job outsourcing to Third World community, valuation of intangible assets in the new technological era (Mayer, 2004). Despite the rising difficulties, it is crucial for managers to find the balance – otherwise a company might cease to exist unable to compete in the market place.

The role of business ethics in contemporary marketplace should be mainly discussed from the pragmatic approach. In order for business to exist, there must be a community of potential buyers and sellers, whereas this community and overall public morality are the two indivisible and integrated parts. Obviously, in order to preserve business, organizations must sustain a certain level of morality in order to successfully function and remain competitive. As business are interested in the first place in profitability of an enterprise, they are, therefore, interested in maintenance of a positive corporate image. Consequently, businesses are interested in ethical practices.

Consequently, marketplace is realizing undervaluation and investors are less likely to put own money to generate profits. The effect on economy overall is direct – while series of scandals created a boom in the stock market, now economy is developing at a lower rates, as the cost of funds to be used in business is raising. As such, the relationship between ethical malpractice and economic stagnation is direct – ethical scandals undermine public trust, whereas business, investors, and society overall are the ones to bare the costs of unethical practices of individuals. Consequently, the role of ethical behavior in contemporary marketplace from the value created for society can hardly be overestimated

Image Consultant Viewpoint: Ethics

Sandy Dumont asked:

Written by Sandy Dumont

“Expertise is of more importance to a successful career, while ethics is of the least significance.” This was the feedback of a study group at a well-known American university. This group recently completed a nationwide survey of university graduate program directors in the field of communications. They were commenting on the importance of the four professional competencies set forth by the National Speakers Association (NSA): Expertise, Eloquence, Enterprise and Ethics.

I was interviewed and asked to comment on some of the findings of the study group. My reaction to the above statement was shock. After all, if “ethical communication” is insignificant, does that mean that we needn’t tell the truth? What would George Washington have to say about that? And where is our country headed?

As an image consultant, I teach a workshop entitled “The Expert Impact,” a term I have trademarked. In essence I tell my clients that I cannot supply expertise, because that is up to them. What I can do is make certain they are immediately perceived as a highly-credible expert in their field. Credibility implies believability. We believe the other person is an expert and that he or she is professional and, therefore, can be trusted. Trust is one of the tenets of branding, and it is one of the most important. Ethical behavior produces trustworthy decisions and actions. The two are intertwined.

My experience indicates that the image of most clients does not keep up with their résumés. I do not teach others how to be credible. If they are truly experts, they already have credibility in terms of performance; they just don’t know how to convey it non verbally. And according to social psychologists, non-verbal communication surpasses verbal communication in terms of credibility.

For the interview by the university’s study group, I was asked to comment upon several other findings from the interviews of professors. For example, the majority of university faculty reported that their curriculum was the most effective in the area of expertise and least effective in the area of enterprise. This seemed a jarring contradiction to me, since the internet and the World Wide Web literally require an enterprising nature. Furthermore, the safe corporate jobs of a lifetime are a thing of the past, and the enterprising spirit of recent generations brought it about. Students who are enterprising, it would seem, surely have an advantage in getting on the fast track to gaining expertise. Perhaps universities need to take a close look at their curriculum.

Furthermore, a college degree does not necessarily bestow expertise upon a graduate. Knowledge, yes; and it sets him/her on the way, but expertise ultimately comes from experience. Four years of university studies should, however, give graduates a great deal of knowledge in various subjects. An enterprising nature puts the student on the fast track to becoming an expert.

One of the problems with new hires is their lack of experience, and most of us don’t want our account to be handled by a greenhorn. So how is a recent grad going to get that first job. My 30 years experience suggests that the answer is to look experienced. Social psychologists have proven that if you look good, it is assumed that you are good. They have also shown that in order to be trusted or believed, you must be consistent with both

Medical Industry Based on Risk Causing Monetary Losses and Medical Malpractice in Manhattan

Paul Justice asked:

With all of the recent product contaminations in the last year, consumers must be aware that this type of behavior is only getting worse. Regulations and safety standards are not being as emphasized, as we would like them too. The sector of a business that deals with best practices and ethical decision-making is not being as funded as lets say the sales department, and rightfully so. However this is an important part of a business because if safety and other regulatory practices are not put into effect an entire business can fail due to hazardous means. Medical malpractice in Manhattan does not necessarily only stem from erroneous practice in the hospital or doctors office. It can happen from ill information being reported to medical professionals causing miscommunication to be the vagrant. For medical professionals base their decision making and diagnosis on former information that leads them to come up with a solution or answer. If they are given wrong information they are more likely to commit medical malpractice in Manhattan.

Information these days has been taken took literally or has been stretched and expanded to the point that the primary source of information will not be able to recognize it after people have done their way with it. It is here were our economy has taken a downfall because people have taken on too much risk and not enough assurance. Medical malpractice in Manhattan comes into play in just the same way. Doctors take on too much risk either within surgery or in their treatment plan. However unlike in the financial markets that have the government to bail them out, doctors only have themselves to blame. Medical Malpractice Manhattan can be illustrated by the current economic position because the players are the same. There are some doctors who like to practice on the risky side by not doing all of their homework on type of surgery they are about to perform or the consequences associated with prescribing a certain drug. And there are others who play it safe and take their time in diagnosing their patients, which in turn might not pay out as well. It is the same way in the economic game, and we have seen where that has gotten us. Too many banks and investors took on too much risk that left the rest of us trying to bail them out. In terms of medical malpractice in Manhattan however, there is no one to offer a bail out. And we are dealing with people’s lives not people’s money.

The economic industry and the medical industry are applied on a parallel basis. However, the risks associated in the medical industry are much more detrimental than those in the economic industry. Medical malpractice in Manhattan is what stems from taking on too much risk in the medical industry. Victims that have experienced medical malpractice in Manhattan are equivalent to investors who lost all their funds from stockbrokers making risky moves with their money in our example. If you or a loved one has been harmed from medical professionals making risky decisions with your health, contact a medical malpractice Manhattan lawyer.

Together We Sing: Feminist Consciousness in Haroti Folklores

Amitabh Vikram Dwivedi asked:

Poetry and metaphors are everywhere. Even in folklores and myths of which origin is not dated because they find their place in spoken form and they passed orally from one generation to another. Folklores are natural songs that represent human life without poetic ostentation. Haroti folklores are similar to any other folklores (found in the world) in a manner that they also represent Haroti life and culture in their forms.

 

Haroti is a Rajasthani language. This language is named after its region. The Haroti region is situated in western Rajasthan in north-west India. When we talk about feminist consciousness in Haroti folklores we deal with voices of women which come out through the medium of folklores. Far away from the philosophy of  and Cixous, Kristeva, and the complex infantile philosophy of Arundhati Rai (where the twins unconsciously put one realistic question that fortunately realized by Rai’s conscious effort whether twins can have sex with each other. Haroti folklores try to raise more traditional grass-rooted voice of women that  not only sounds sensuous but also free from the borrowed- globalize obscenity of the essentialists where they forward their biological question like “How can vagina be vulgar?” (Vagina Monologues- Mahabooba) or “Life is always being sexed” or “Woman touches herself………her sex is composed of two lips” (The sex which is not one-Irigaray). This obscenity may be a form of reality to understand feminist consciousness but the Haroti folklores raise more fundamental question of life, death, living condition, marriage, pregnancy, child birth etc.

 

In these folklores we find two types of folkloric female representation. One represents her positive side and the second represents her negative side. The positive side shows female as a subtle home-maker, a good wife, a wife equals to goddess Laxmi(goddess of prosperity), and a perfect beloved; and on the other hand she is represented as a coarse lady, cynic, a bad tempered wife, and an unfaithful beloved but interestingly though these natural forms of representation are sung by women. She praises herself and her feminine side or she complaint about her other self that is; the male who is rather other than the previous one but not divisible from her consciousness (the prevalent concept in Hindu mythology that presents male and female as an embodiment of the same body).

 

She sings her folklores because she knows that this is the way to express her suppressed condition. And her voice not only comes out for the suppression but it also represents other modes like mother’s longing for her newly married daughter, a mother’s happiness for her newly born baby, mother mourns for her child’s death, or some beloved is waiting for her over etc. So there is a universal form in all these women traits. That’s why it is quite incongruous to say that Haroti women have developed a medium of their significations out of their consciousness because language is natural as any other scientific law and theory. They reject the sex markers that is to say their biological organs which discriminates them with men and put directly their problem. As in folklores, she says that her husband’s desire for son is not logical when her husband says dear give birth to a male child who will give glory to our family and I will praise you in front of everyone.

 

Tha ne dagaji pir khday

Jo ghar jnmi ji davadi ji

Dadaji ko vsa badaya

Badhat sundar mhe kara ji

Tha ne sutha ka ladu badhaya

 

This song is song by the mother-in-law and the other elderly women of the house. Here, the main problem with her conscious effort to put her voice through folklore is that she thinks that the medium through which she comes forward; she controls the patriarchal thinking. But her language is fabricated around the other women who are facing the same problem as once she had faced. Her daughter-in-law is still in the same problem as once she was.

 

In a folk lore the friends of a girl, who is going to get married, sing on her behalf. The song goes like this – brother, leave my doli (a place where bride sits) and leave to your place. You have bread for servants, cousins and other people only I am the burden.

 

Chado bhaiya mari dolki

Thare ghar bhavaja, bhai vira

Ma saru suno ghar ki khunali

Chado bhaiya mhari dolki

 

The bride’s friends are singing on her behalf again lost the main track. The subject (bride) is ignorant and uncomprehending language’s capacity to generate, and to procreate symbols. That’s why instead of giving the straight message folklore is driving the main subject out from the sphere. It is a postponement of the sign from one place to another. That indicates signified is missing in the signification of semi logical system and through which a ritual happens.

 

 

To fill the gap, and to prove that folkloric message has a force in it, it’s outcome should be challenged as universal system but men treat these folklores simply as universal law and react neutrally. As I have mentioned earlier that the missing part cannot be a sexiest language, but the return of the postponing subject (either bride, beloved, mother, wife, or daughter) for whom the other women- the supplement conveys her original voice. This conveys a two fold resolution in the process of liberated feminist thinking, first-the original voice should express her voice directly from the folkloric representation, and secondly the other should come as a supplement rather than as a substitution that postpones the original subjectivity. 

REFERENCES

 

(a) Pollock, G (2006) Women as sigh Vision and Difference, New York: Rout ledge.

 

 (b) Irigaray, L (2005) ‘Love of the other’ An Ethics of Sexual difference,      New York & London: Continuum.

 

 (c) Kakkar, S (2003) ‘The Maternal Feminine in Indian Psychoanalysis       (1989)    Culture and Psyche New Delhi Oxford University Press.

    

 (d) Bhatt, C (1966) Haroti Lokgit, Ajmer: Krishna Brothers.

 

(e) Shambhunath (2000) Ashalilta, Sauaraya Aur Sanskrit in Rajkishore(Ed) Ashalilta Ka Hamala. New Delhi: Venna Prakashan.

 

 

 

 

 

Have Ethics Been Lost in Cyber World?

Deb Hopkins asked:

omic times as they are, many are turning to the internet to find ways to add to their income or replace incomes.

The internet offers so much to so many across the globe……or does it?

People are bombarded with all sorts of opportunities that leave the viewer wondering which one should they try.

So many chances to earn money and make more than one makes currently working………….leaves people open to birds of prey.

People need to understand the different types of opportunities available and then decide which ones are they willing to take the risk on.

MLM or multi-level marketing can make people money………….some even have great products. The problems that I have come across in MLM is that the companies are not interested in selling to consumers.

MLM companies do not need consumers because the distributors who join an MLM company are the consumers. As a distributor, you are marketing to get more distributors under you and for the privilege of having a chance at making big money, you must purchase a specified dollar amount of product every month that is autoshipped to you and directly billed to your credit card.

The newest ploy with MLM is the “Pre-Launch” phase. “Get in now, position yourself, join for free”…….the problem is once the “Pre-Launch” phase is over be prepared to pay out several hundred dollars for your privileged position.

Do Your homework on MLM companies to find out first if the products are worth the cost and save yourself time and energy.

Gifting Programs………seems to be the hottest thing since sliced bread……………..I will not get into the legalities here, that is up for grabs……..but ask yourself one question…..Why if gifting is legal does your cold hard cash come via Fedex with the actual cash inside a magazine? Why do they not use payment processors or checks?

The IRS code is partially used to show how legal gifting is, yet they send the gift in cash via Fedex or some other shipping company.

Beware of videos you see…..it is very easy to send yourself some cash via Fedex and make a video of them arriving and opening the envelope for all to see the cash they are receiving.

There are all sorts of programs out there claiming they are making hundreds of dollars per day and thousands of dollars per month and you can do the same for a one time fee or a monthly fee………

Beware of the hype and the claims. The ones I love are “do nothing” claims….just pay x amount and they will put people under you.

There are legit programs out there, you just have to put a blind eye to the hype and bs out there….and do your homework.

Do not let yourself be fooled by promises of unrealistic goals.

Yes, there are people out there that are making 6 or 7 figures a year online, but remember they worked very hard by putting their time in to market and learn. They did not start out at the top.

Online Marketing takes hard work and it can be done but it is a process that takes time and commitment.

Currently, I myself am making money online with a program that has No out of pocket cost without the hype. So yes, you can do the same, just do not let yourself fall into some of the less ethical practices that will only drain your wallet.

Wishing you all great success

Deb

What are the Relationship of Internet Marketing and Affiliate Marketing?

Madhvi mittal asked:

Affiliate marketing is an internet marketing practice where a business rewards affiliates for each customer that purchases something on their site. Affiliate marketing has been impacted by the rise of blogging and interactive online communities. Affiliates are now able to get closer with their customers and have a more personal relationship. This is one of the best forms of marketing if used efficiently and ethically. Now that you know what affiliate marketing is, what are some of the advantages?

1. Affiliate marketing boosts sales and opens up new marketing channels.

2. Merchants only have to pay their affiliates when a lead has been generated or there has been a sale, which is cost effective marketing.

3. Marketing allows smaller companies the chance to expose their products on websites that already have a great number of people looking at them. Affiliate sites also benefit from this type of marketing because they receive a commission for every sale they make for their website. With all the advantages, for more details visit to www.forum-marketing-videos.com there are about as many disadvantages.

Some of the disadvantages are:

1. Affiliates may mislead or falsify advertising in order to get the sales commission. The affiliate may make promises regarding the product which are completely wrong or exaggerated. If this happens the merchant will usually receive complaints and potentially lose customers.

2. Merchants could promise high commissions to get new affiliates and then lower the commission rate a couple of weeks after getting the new affiliates.

3. There are link hijackers that hijack the affiliate link and then get paid the commission that the affiliate is suppose to be getting paid.

4. Dishonest merchants can close down their program without telling the affiliate and without paying them their commission. Affiliate marketing has been impacted by the rise of blogging and interactive online communities. Affiliates are now able to get closer with their customers and have a more personal relationship. This is one of the best forms of marketing if used efficiently and ethically. There are many advantages and disadvantages to internet marketing affiliate programs, for more details visit to www.tube-traffic.com most of which have been listed in this article. No matter what the disadvantages are though, affiliate marketing is one of the best forms of marketing available on the internet today and is a great way for you to make money. If you are looking for a way to make extra money and help others market there business, affiliate marketing is right for you.

Finding An Ethical SEO Consultant

Ben Norman asked:

Search engine optimization, popularly known as SEO, is a technique that optimizes a website in order to make it very search-engine-friendly. SEO can be performed at the programming as well as at the content end – the programming aspect of SEO tunes the website to the requirements of the latest search engines algorithms, while the content aspect of SEO involves strategically embedding sought-after keywords in the website content. There are other methods as well – e.g., link building, article submission and directory submission.

If you want your website to register its presence in the competitive world of Internet, you’ve got to resort to SEO techniques. Otherwise, a website fails to get noticed amongst millions of them. But the bad news is that there are many unethical outfits out there who promise you great SEO, but all they do to get your website a high page rank on the results page is employ a variety of unethical techniques (the so called black-hat techniques) to fool the search engines. If caught by search engines, your website can be blacklisted and banned for adopting unethical SEO techniques. It is, therefore, absolutely important that a website owner works along with an ethical SEO consultant, and here’s how you must choose one.

Guide To Choosing An Ethical SEO Consultant

The Internet has made the world a smaller place and a website owner can work with SEO consultants based in any part of the world – there are many SEO consultants’ websites all over the Internet, and tracking down one is not all that difficult a task. And here’s how you must choose one:

1. If the SEO consultant is a professional, then he must be accredited by many reputed organizations such as Google AdWords, Web CEO University, and SEO Pros. If the SEO consultant has more accreditations, well, the more the merrier. A certified SEO professional is ethical by default – ethics are inbuilt into their work code.

2. He must have an impressive roster of clients who speak highly of him. And he must not be hesitant to give out a few references.

3. If the SEO consultant is professional and ethical then it automatically follows he will have a successful track record. So, go ahead and check the websites he has performed SEO on, and check if they rank high on search engines results pages.

4. The SEO consultant needs to be versatile and he must offer services such as website analysis, content writing, keyword research, link building, SEO and, of course, adequate reporting back to the client.

5. The SEO consultant must have a clean track record, in the sense that he must never have been blacklisted for adopting unethical SEO techniques. Such techniques include spamming search engines, trading links with websites that are part of link farms, or cloaking, which means coating keywords with the same color as the website’s background and stuffing a whole lot of them on all the pages. You can find out if the SEO consultant has resorted to dubious means by running a check on him on search engines and on message boards. Plus, you can always check with his references too.

That was a small guide on how to go about selecting an ethical SEO consultant. True, finding an ethical SEO consultant will take a little bit of time and effort, but it is well worth it. Because an unethical SEO consultant can kill a website, while an ethical consultant can help you build your fortune.

I Am a Millionaire Now – it is Different Than I Thought it Would be

Greg Cox asked:

I am a millionaire, but I don’t feel like one. Perhaps the better way of saying it is it does not feel like I thought it would. Let’s get back to that a little later.

First a bit about me and the family. I am a forty-one year old white male. Married for 12 years with two kids- a nine year old girl and a seven year old boy. I have an undergraduate degree in finance and went to night school to get an MBA. I have spent my entire career working in information technology (IT). Most of that time has been programming. I have a few stints in management, but it didn’t take.

My wife works at home and has done so since our daughter was born. She volunteers at the kid’s school quite a bit. I also keep her busy with a lot of the business activity. Our kids attend public school. We were going the private school route for a few years. When both were going to be all-day students, the bill was $18,500 for the year. By the time they are be in 2nd and 4th grade, the bill will be $21,000 and that was if tuition stayed the same. Fat chance on that.

I have started my own company. The dream was to have a big operation where I would have 50+ people working for me and spend my time running the business and helping bring in new clients. Four years into it, we are considered successful, but the big dreams have turned out to be little dreams. I have a few people working for me but the majority of revenue is still billing my own hours.

I come from a middle class home. My father worked for the federal government and never made more than $25,000 a year. I went to public schools. I am smart and my grades always reflected that. I graduated high school in the top 10% (barely). My father passed away when I was in high school. While there was life insurance, it was not much. My mom had to go back to work after staying home to raise the kids for 20 years

My career and savings started when I was 22 and graduated from college. 18 years later I can see several things:

I made some great decisions

I made some bad decisions

I made good decisions with bad results

There has been good luck and bad luck, which came whether intended or not Inaction that should have been action.

 

Some Good Decisions

Student Loans – I never had any. My undergraduate was paid for by scholarships and out of pocket. My employer paid for the MBA. I did not go to a big school, although I could have. The decision to go where I did, McNeese State University in Lake Charles, LA, was made out of finances. They offered a scholarship that covered tuition, books and a room. I was on my own for food. A little help from mom and some part time work took care of that.

I noticed that many of my friends upon graduation were paying off student loans. Every month they were paying a couple of hundred dollars. For them this went on for years. I was saving my money instead. This provided a good foundation for later.

Avoiding bad debt – I can remember one day talking to a friend who was about to get married. He had $8,000 in student loans, $10,000 in car debt, $3,000 in credit card debt and was about to get a loan to pay for his portion of his $30,000 wedding. He never told me exactly what he wound up paying for the wedding but I bet his portion was half. Here is a guy who is 25 years old and $36,000 in debt and all he has to show for it is a car and a marriage certificate. He was going to be paying that off until he is in his thirties and then start saving. I had a ten year head start for savings on him.

While I have had car notes, they were never huge and never more than three years. I put as big a down payment as I could. I have bought more used cars than new cars.

I pay off the credit card every month. I do charge everything I can. This maximizes the points. The bill has often been higher than what I want it to be. My wife and I have had more than our share of fights when I opened the credit card statement. In the end I made sure the balance never got up and we never paid interest or fines.

I recently had a conversation with a co-worker who told me she had $75,000 in credit card debt. This fascinated me because we had similar jobs with similar pay and are similar ages. How can I have so much and her so little? Her answer was it started small when she was in her 20’s. She and her husband would carry a balance this month and go on vacation instead of paying for it. That balance never got paid. The next month they had an $800 car repair, adding to the balance. They had a cycle of accumulating bad debt for 15 years that resulted in $75,000 of debt.

Ground rules with the spouse – Before we got engaged, I wanted to go over finances with my then-girlfriend. I discovered she had $2,800 in credit card debt. I let it be known that we were not going to get engaged until she got it off the credit cards. She applied for and received a debt consolidation loan at a much more reasonable rate. This started the groundwork very early for us about what would be good and bad financial decisions.

My wife is not a money person. She is a spender and consumer. She impulse buys regularly while I seldom do. My saving has often been countered by her spending. I could have been a millionaire many years ago if she viewed money like I do. The things we do for love.

While we have fought, and will fight again, over money and spending, there have always been some ground rules. No credit card debt, do not touch the savings unless for another investment, save every month, try to avoid spending on the big things.

We have taken trips, bought clothes, had nice meals and remodeled kitchens. We temper these things. I try to delay these expenses and question if we really need all of it.

One thing that works for us was we created a separate checking account for her. Every month we transferred money into that account. Birthday gifts, baby gifts, wedding showers, clothes and her pocket money all came from there. These were the items that would get out of hand. More than once she was giving a wedding or baby shower with other people. It always seemed that one of the others would go out and spend an outrageous amount. The $400 dollar cake was my favorite. They would through the receipts in a pile, add them up and divide. Three showers in a month totaling $450 can bite you quickly. When these types of expense would come from our savings, she treated it like there was a bottomless well. When she had to pay from her own account, she started budgeting. The account literally saved our marriage.

Buy a house early – I bought my first house when I was 25. I paid $52,000 for it. It is a 2 bedroom /1 bath with 1100 square feet. I lived in it for 5 years. Four years being single and one after we got married. I still own that house today. It has been a rental property the rest of the time. By the time we moved out, I could rent it to cover the note and then some. As time went by and property values rose so did rents. This house is now paid off and is valued at $210,000. I collect $850 a month in rent. I could get a little more but we have a good tenant who pays on time and doesn’t call much.

That single decision is now responsible for nearly 15% of my net worth and provides around $6000 a year positive cash flow (minus taxes and insurance).

Maximize 401K – We have put as much in to our 401Ks as we can. These accounts are now worth over $200,000 and the returns have just been average. I have changed jobs several times. Several of these 401Ks are now in IRAs. This money is taxed-deferred, encourages savings and adds up over time.

Sa
ve every month
– Shortly after college I opened a mutual fund account. I started putting $100 a month into it. After a while I upped it to $110. I got another fund and started adding $50 a month into it. Over the course of time, those monthly investments became $800 a month. But over the course of time, these mutual funds are now worth $180,000.

Look into making money outside of your job – There are lots of ways to make money on the side. We have gotten in and out of direct-marketing companies. We have bought and sold on Ebay. I have been to dozens of foreclosure auctions. These are only a few of the items I have looked into. I have invested hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars over the course of time. Multiple times I had to make the decision that this was not worth my time or any more of my money and had to cut my losses.

In the end I have found side incomes that bring in an extra $30-$40K a year. There are a ton of get-rich-quick ideas out there. Many of the things you will come across are scams. Some only work for certain types of people, usually not the type of person I am. What I currently do, I stumbled into. I stumbled into it because I was looking into something else that did not work. Every opportunity you see, book you read, seminar you attend will spurn some other thought and idea. The challenge often becomes evaluating what is the best match for your skill, capital and time.

Hobbies – I know guys who play golf every weekend. Others go hunting or fishing. While we all need our hobbies, often these hobbies dominate our lives and finances. Golf is not cheap. Even the cheapest green fees can run up the hundreds of dollars a month for the avid player. Add in balls and clubs and it can really get up there. If you are making $70K a year and have two kids and spending $300 a month on golf, it is time for a financial re-evaluation. If golf is more important than wealth keep it up, but you are not going to make it to the millionaire club that way.

Let’s not just pick on the golfers. Hunters, boaters and shoppers have equal if not more outflow. I see hunting leases for $2000 a year. $500 pair of shoes. $17000 boats. If you want to save, you eventually need to decide – hobbies or wealth?

I started my own business – I could have easily just worked for someone else or gotten a job in a big IT shop somewhere. Instead I put myself out there to accept contract gigs. There were times where it was just me. Luck plagues the diligent. I sought out opportunities where I could bring in other people. Since I was incorporated, I could do that. I knew a bunch of programmers and could get them better rates that anywhere else. I kept thin margins, but making $4K a year off of someone is better than making nothing.

Starting your own business enables multiple opportunities outside of the obvious profit centers. There are so many expenses that I used to absorb that I could now deduct from my taxes. Office supplies, mileage driving to client, etc.

Work Hard – whether I was working for myself or someone else, I was always a hard worker. I came in a little earlier and stayed a little later. I did not whine if I had to come in on the weekend. I accepted responsibility and sought allies. I took the blame and shared the credit. I became valuable wherever I was. This set me up for higher pay when I worked for someone. When I went out on my own guess who the first clients were – people who used to work with me. They knew they would get a certain level of productivity out of me.

Things I wish I did

Increase the monthly investment – There were long periods of time (5-6 years) where I left the monthly investment in the mutual funds alone when my income went up. I should have increased the monthly payment into them each time my pay went up.

Buy and move into more houses – I look at the house I bought when I was 25 that is now worth $210K and regret not repeating the process. My wife and I could have moved 2 – 3 times more and bought a house each time. This would have left us with a bigger trail of rental properties all well on their way to being paid off.

The single best beginners way to build a real estate empire is to buy a house, live in it, buy another, move into that and rent out the former. Fixed rate loans for the owner of the house is still the cheapest way to get a loan. It also avoids the extra loan costs of buying investment property.

Things I cannot control

Luck – This goes both ways. The house I bought when I was 25 was in an area that has not suffered from urban decay. I cannot predict how a neighborhood will get that disease. It could have just as easily turned out to be a bad neighborhood. Fortune smiled there.

Just like that was good, I can account for $250,000 I have invested back into my business that I have not received a return on. I have hired several sales people who did not work out. Each one of them drew a salary, submitted expenses, hired outside support and took people away from billable efforts all to help close a sale. While these are things you do to grow a business, you want to them to actually grow the business.

My business has grown more from my efforts than anyone I paid to do it. Was it my bad judgment in evaluating their sales talents or I did not give them the support they needed? I cannot rule it out. Were they not putting their all into it? I cannot rule that out either. When they were hired, everyone thought it was a good idea, the approach was sound and we communicated regularly. I just never got the result I wanted. It was a good decision that had a bad result.

The Dot Bomb era – I had a lot of technology stocks. There was a point in time where my and my wife’s IRA was worth $160K. This was in early 1998. A year later they were worth $60K. There is a reason I primarily invest in S&P 500 index funds today.

I used to consider myself a “very aggressive” investor. Not any more. Losing $100K in the market will do that to you.

What it is like to be a millionaire

Having over a million dollars in net worth is a good place to be. It sounds oversimplified but being a millionaire is better than not being one. It is not the penultimate financial goal that I once thought it was. I am not retiring and picking up golf any time soon.

I still worry about cash flow. So much is tied up in real estate, mutual funds and the business that I cannot get to a lot it without tax consequences. I still drive an eleven year old car. We eat at the same places. We still argue about the credit card statement. I still buy the generic pasta at the grocery store because it is 15 cents cheaper. I am not going to “summer” in Europe or buy a Mercedes. That is not how I got here. If I make those types of lifestyle changes, I might not stay here. I have splurged on a few things. I have “invested” in my baseball memorabilia collection and we took a nice vacation.

I do sleep better knowing I have some flexibility and assets working for me. There are people I work with that have a couple of thousand in the bank, even more in credit card debt and live from check to check.

I have over $1.4 million in assets. This includes everything. If I get 5% return on them, that is another $70K added onto the amount in the next year. The same people I just references are years away from saving $70K much less $70K in a single year. That is what a lot of people make in a year. That is my return when I do nothing.

It was not positive linear growth every month. Many months went backwards or stagnant. Remember, I saw my market values drop $100K. There was over $250K invested back into the business. To save a million dollars you to need to be out there and take a chance. Not all of them are going to work. Hopefully a lesson learned pays dividends down the road.

Having the mone
y allows me to look at different investments. Doors that were shut are now open. I just have to be smart. I can consider different options. In the end that is what I am really after – the options to control what I want to do and on my terms.

 

In the Passing of a Brick: the Gvn Story

Megan Taddy asked:

The first image in the photograph to emerge was the ghost of figures, pale outlines on glossy paper, developed in a dark lab among hundreds of other snapshots of birthdays and couples beaming in front of scenic landmarks and babies taking first steps. Plunged into its chemical bath and then saved from drowning, the photograph was pulled out dripping, like a wet laundered sock, and hung to dry.

And in its chromatic, magic way, the ghosts became alive: eyes to peer in to, lips that curl a hungry happiness, hands that are almost, but not quite, moving. A photograph to prove an existence.

Perhaps it was the gingered hair of the young boys that made the photograph unforgettable. Or the rounded stomachs that belied nourished bodies. Or the clothes, worn day after day, that stretched ripped across torsos and framed startlingly snap-thin legs.

Whatever it was, Colin Salisbury, pictured then as the blond-haired 18-year-old in flip flops surrounded by five Papua New Guinean youth, was never able to shake the way his thumbs-up to the camera promised a future where everything was going to be okay.

Fifteen years later, the photograph is hanging in Colin’s office, and when he’s asked how he got into the business of people helping people, he points to it. Like the photograph with its quiet and sustained birth, so, too, was Colin’s idea for the Global Volunteer Network (GVN).

Of the six weeks he spent in Papua New Guinea, Colin says, “For a young guy from New Zealand, it had quite an impact.”

Such an impact, in fact, that GVN, a non-governmental organization born out of a compassion for people that gripped Colin like an island vine, is connecting volunteers with communities in need all around the globe to deliver on his wordless promise all those years ago.

Although Colin had been fascinated with finding a solution for the poverty he had witnessed during his travels the next decade after his first overseas experience, it wasn’t until he took a trip to Ghana in 1998 that he had his epiphany.

Colin, who has a Master’s degree in International Development, was working for WorldVision doing a literacy study in Ghana when he made an alarming discovery. Schools, lacking books and teaching materials, were also lacking the most precious resource: teachers. In a majority of classes, teachers, underpaid and overburdened, were outnumbered by a ratio of 150 to 200 students to two teachers. Colin was compelled to leave the trip with more than just empty promises.

“Long term, it’s obvious we need to train more teachers,” Colin said. “But in the short term, these kids would really benefit from an education now. International people coming in to help fill those teaching gaps seemed like the next step. So that’s when I went, ‘Wow, there’s actually a real need for volunteers.'”

Upon returning home, Colin continued working his full-time job while, with the help of his wife, Jo Salisbury, began laying the foundations for GVN during everyone else’s happy hour.

“It took me a year working nights to figure out how I could make this idea work,” Colin said. “I didn’t share it with anyone until I got it going.”

In his research, Colin found that other organizations charged high fees to volunteer, and vowed to make his organization as accessible as possible.

“I got frustrated with the fact that a lot of organizations just wanted people’s money and nothing else,” he said. “I wanted to give people the opportunity to get their body there, as opposed to just paying their dollar a day.”

Colin was also adamant that his organization would align with the idea of “local solutions to local problems,” working at the grassroots level to achieve their goals.

“Local people are the ones who live in those communities, so they know their needs and how best to address them,” Colin said. “What they need is support in doing that, not someone else coming in and setting up an infrastructure when a lot of those infrastructures already exist.”

Colin and Jo officially launched GVN in 2002 with a web site that now brings snickers in the increasingly computer-savvy office. And with help from the first hired staffers who worked out of Colin’s spare bedroom, GVN began sending volunteers to programs in Ghana, Nepal and Ecuador. With growth that would surprise even the staunchest GVN supporter, the organization leaped from sending just 240 volunteers its first year to 1,520 volunteers two years later.

“I had no idea how well it would go,” Colin said. “It was kind of like, let’s set it up and put our marketing in place and hope it will take off. And it really did. As demand grew, we added more programs, and we’ve basically been doing that ever since. It was good timing with the Internet becoming available; it meant that we could provide lower cost volunteer opportunities than other organizations that were around before the Internet that have different cost structures.”

And with the growth of GVN came a proper office and an expanded staff team of 20 people to help administer volunteer applications and coordinate country programs. The map on the wall of the meeting room now has 19 pushpins denoting GVN’s programs in Alaska, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ghana, Honduras, India, Kenya, Nepal, New Zealand, Philippines, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda and Vietnam. Volunteers, who work anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months, are involved in programs at orphanages, schools, wildlife sanctuaries, nature reserves and refugee camps.

And the GVN network continues to expand. The GVN Community Fund was established in 2004 to support the work of GVN’s partners with resources so they are able to continue and enhance their work in their local communities. The Community Fund plans the fundraising treks to Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Everest base camp, Machu Picchu and New Zealand’s South Island. The treks, a mix of adventure sport and humanitarian aid, add a new twist to the “sponsor my walk” fund-raiser, with every dollar earned going to support a project in the foothills of the peaks, such as a new school in Uganda.

The Office

It’s an odd day if Colin’s four-year-old daughter isn’t riding her tricycle around the office, weaving in and out of desks as if they were traffic cones. Staff members enjoy Ping-Pong breathers, take hot drink orders and get infuriated during Sudoku competitions.

“Our partner in Vietnam just sent us pictures of his baby,” Program Coordinator Graham Fyfe announces to the office, who crowd around his desk and croon. Out the window, only a few feet away, young guys work lackadaisically on a line of cars waiting to be washed and waxed. The office, like a best-kept-secret noodle shop, is tucked among several non-descript warehouses and a car wash.

“People often think we’re a big American conglomerate and that we have offices in every corner of the world,” said Anna Wells, the program coordinator for Nepal, China and Romania. “I think if people realized that we were in the back blocks of Lower Hutt, they’d be quite surprised.”

It isn’t all sack races and bean bag throws in the office; GVN gets over 400 e-mails a day and program coordinators are busy sifting through travel questions-Should I take Malaria pills?-to taking phone calls from worried moms.

Most of the program coordinators have been volunteers themselves at one time, so their exclamations of volunteerism are genuine.

“Volunteering really shows you what a huge difference one person can make in a relatively short period of time,” Anna said. “You can learn so much about a culture by working alongside a community. It’s something you can’t experience any other way.”

Erin Cassidy, GVN’s office manager, volu
nteered in Uganda for three weeks last year with her five-year-old son.

“I saw firsthand what volunteering does and how it helps communities,” Erin said. “It really opens your eyes to how much you have and how much you don’t need. It’s impacted even the way we operate at home. I don’t run the water when I clean my teeth at home. I know that’s just a small thing, but I’m now aware of just how precious that resource is.”

For Charisse Gebhart, the program coordinator for Ghana, South Africa and Uganda, the six months she spent volunteering with GVN in Nepal changed her worldview.

“I was barely aware of the poverty and suffering that was out there,” Charisse said. “I’d see the commercials by Sally Struthers, but that was about the extent of it. Witnessing it for yourself is very different from just knowing it’s out there.”

And GVN offers a variety of ways to witness it for oneself, from standing up for the first time in front of a classroom filled with giggling Ghanaian students, to giving dinner to a rescued gibbon at a wildlife sanctuary in Thailand, to baking a cake with an orphan in Romania.

“No matter what your skill sets are, there are places where you’re needed and you can contribute,” Graham said. “Volunteering is not a one-way thing. It’s not just going to change the people you’re working with. It’s also going to change you. You’re going to gain more awareness of yourself, of what you’re capable of and what you’re passionate about. It’s worthwhile to put yourself in that position.”

A Catalyst for Change

Volunteerism isn’t all journal writing and introspection. The communities where volunteers work are often deeply affected by their presence. After all, it isn’t everyday that someone gives up the comforts of their daily life to pay to work long hours in a new and often demanding environment.

“One of the main factors of development is self-esteem and national pride,” said Hanna Butler, an administration staff member and fundraising trek organizer. “When I volunteered in India, sometimes it felt like I really wasn’t doing that much. But in some places, where we were the first foreigners to come there, people realized that they weren’t forgotten. They thought, ‘We’re worth being helped.'”

It’s often this feeling of self-worth, of recognition during a time of hopelessness, that can jump-start a community into action. When volunteers arrived in India to work in a community gutted by a swift reach of a wave-children separated from parents and homes exploded by a salt-water bullet in the time it takes to brew a pot of coffee-they found many people still stunned and unresponsive.

“A lot of people were still in shock,” Colin said. “There wasn’t a lot of action happening. But [the volunteers] just got in and started rebuilding the wells and ensuring that there was good water and everything. And as soon as they started, the locals just came and joined in, and in some places, took over because they were better at it than the volunteers. The point being is that volunteers often act as a catalyst. Local people often think, ‘If these people are going to fly half way around the world and pay all the money just to help us, than I think we can help too.'”

If GVN considers the organization a success, it’s only because of the difference they’ve been able to make in other communities.

“In Nepal, we’ve been able to take them from basically zero in terms of volunteers for their projects to 20 or 30 a month,” Colin said. “What that’s meant for them is they’ve been able to have a fantastic impact in providing teachers for the schools and the orphanages. So part of our success is the success that’s meant for others.”

Colin continued, “In Ecuador, GVN supplies half the number of volunteers that the organization has. Since they’ve started working with the volunteers-it’s not always all better instantly-it has had an impact on the environmental policy on the country and the local attitude toward conservation.”

And while volunteerism creates many tangible changes for communities, from new school buildings to cleaner streams, it also helps to bridge a divide left behind by decades of Western imperialism, colonization and exploitation.

“Quite often you hear about developed countries taking advantage of developing countries,” Michelle said. “But volunteerism allows developing countries to see that there’s another side to people, and how people want to be in the world.”

The GVN Difference

Asking a GVN staffer to tell you the difference between GVN and another organization doing similar work is like asking a child what they want for Christmas; they just can’t stop listing things.

“I think that one of the best things about GVN’s programs is that volunteers have a lot of space to use their own initiative,” said Michelle, the program coordinator for Kenya and Tanzania and the administrator for GVN’s travel insurance option. “I think our programs work for someone who has a lot of enthusiasm, energy and wants to see things get done.”

While GVN doesn’t just send volunteers out with a map and a compass, they do allow volunteers to make many of the decisions about how they want to spend their time volunteering.

“Other organizations send a guide out with their volunteers and it’s all very set and concrete,” Graham said. “And while that ensures a certain consistency in the program, it’s also really limiting in terms of what you can get done. With GVN, you’re given support but there are no prescribed guidelines.”

Although GVN is a relatively small organization, Graham believes its tight-knit office is actually one of its strengths.

“We’re quite responsive and can turn around and gets things done if changes need to be made,” he said. “We don’t have ten layers of administration that you need to go through to get things done.”

And unlike other organizations, GVN’s programs don’t require a second mortgage to take part. Volunteering in Thailand for four weeks costs only $650.

“Volunteering is expensive,” Michelle said. “You’ve got to take time off of your own life, but still keep it going. Things just don’t stop when you go overseas. So you want the best value for your time and money.”

Choosing a Partner

Being popular isn’t always easy. GVN gets at least two queries a day from organizations that want to partner with them. The task of deciding which partners to invest in is a long one.

“We look at the impact that those projects are making,” Michelle said. “We make sure that they’re worthwhile projects, that they’re up to GVN standards and that they make a good impact on the local community.”

Understanding that business practices, cultures and even ethics run the gamut when working with international partners, GVN instituted The Ten Steps of Quality to ensure consistency. The steps, actually a checklist, help GVN set standards as they work toward excellence in all of their programs.

“Sometimes partners we work with are really eager to help but they’re not used to running a business the same way we are,” Graham said. “So the Ten Steps of Quality just gives them the tools to be able to do it effectively.”

There are times, however, when opinions differ and partnerships become more exacting rather than symbiotic. GVN, always careful about whom they’re working with, sometimes has to make the tough decision to cancel a partnership.

“We had a previous partner in Nepal in the beginning,” Colin said. “Things changed in regards to the way they were working and there was some question as to the use of finances. We had to decide that we couldn’t be involved if that sort of thing was going on. We had to pull the plug.”

Volunteer Expectations: Where’s the Air Conditioning?

“I need to change the Info Pack for the Philippines,” said Annika Lindorsson, the program coordinator for India, Philippines and Vietnam. “I think it’s confusing for people to find the taxi from the airport using it.”

Annika had
just returned from a five-day trip to the Philippines to meet with one of GVN’s newest partner organization and assess the program. Following the path that a volunteer would take, she discovered a glitch in the directions.

“Going to the Philippines has made all the difference in my ability to do my job,” she said.

GVN isn’t shy about sending its employees to investigate their programs. For Annika, she brought back more than just a suntan: first-hand knowledge of how her program runs, what accommodation looks like, what volunteers are fed and the general logistics of getting around a country most volunteers have never been to before.

“It’s really helpful to see the logistical things, like the airports where the volunteers arrive,” said Graham, who traveled to Vietnam, Ecuador and El Salvador last year to check on his programs. “It’s a lot easier to give advice when you know where they’re going.”

Sharing a meal with a GVN partner also helps to build a relationship that had been solely Internet and phone based.

“It really makes it a lot more personal,” Anna said. “You have quite a close relationship with the people you’re working with over there. So to actually meet them makes it a lot more real.”

By seeing the country the way a volunteer would, program coordinators are able to ensure volunteers’ expectations are realistic; there really is no air conditioning in Uganda. Program coordinators also try to relay to volunteers that their trips will be nothing like a backpacker’s excursion to a dude ranch.

“Some of the volunteers will think the trip will be a real adventure,” Colin said. “Others think that in the month that they go, they’re going to dramatically change the place. Some views are naïve, some are more realistic and some view it as a holiday. So we try to get people’s expectations in line with reality without deflating them too much.”

Unlike some travel holidays where tourists can view poverty like a circus tent-circling around, pointing, but never joining in-volunteering with GVN makes acclimatizing to the environment a necessity.

“For the India program, for instance, accommodation has been selected that is not luxury accommodation,” Michelle said. “You’re actually learning to live another way without the comforts that you’re used to. At the end of the day, we want volunteers to gain a true experience of the country, rather than a tourist view.”

And while volunteers will have the opportunity to explore the country, there’s no mistaking that they work hard.

“I think a lot of people think it’s going to be really nice, like wiping sweat off people’s brows,” Hanna said. “But its long, hard work. Sometimes you feel like you’re not getting much done. And some days you think, ‘And I’m doing this for free? What am I doing?'”

Would she do it again?

“Yes,” she said.

Making the Big Leap: Just Go For It

“I was terrified,” said Charisse, of her first days volunteer teaching in Nepal. “I had no teaching experience. I was scared about having a classroom full of kids to myself. I didn’t know if I would be able to fill up all the class time and if I would be able to keep them under control.”

And how did it go?

“The way you’d expect it to,” she said. “There were some rough days, but it was great.”

The fear that gripped Charisse-How do you command a class full of children who don’t speak the same language?-is universal among volunteers stepping into situations that would make even the most experienced travelers blanch.

“Other volunteers have gone feeling the same way,” Charisse said. “In fact, every volunteer will have felt the same way. And you probably don’t always get that from the journals on the web site. But that shouldn’t be a reason to stop you.”

It’s this fearlessness, this nerve and heart and patience that a volunteer embodies that helps to push against a global current of hopelessness, despair, inequality, greed, racism and xenophobia.

“There have always been people in need, and unfortunately, I think there always will be,” Anna said. “You just have to help people one person at a time. I’d like to say that the end result is that GVN helps so much that they make themselves obsolete. But all throughout the history of the world, there has always been people who have nothing and people who have something to give.”

The act of giving, of taking on a responsibility for humankind, of declaring that a person whom you have never met has the basic and fundamental right to a life free of suffering, is incomparable to any other gesture.

“Yes, it’s tough,” Erin said. “And often there is culture shock. No one can ever prepare you for that. I don’t think you can be totally prepared for it. I’d seen pictures, watched videos, but in the end, the reality was different. But after the first few days, when you get over the jetlag and the change, I can’t see how you would ever regret it. I just can’t.”

And in the passing of a brick, in the chalk-dusted writing of a word, in the gentle rocking of a lonely child, a new world is forged where the universal truths are love, compassion and generosity; a world where photographs-a glimpse, an eye blink-become inspirations become ideas become endeavors become legacies.

Get More Value from Your Values… By Walking Good Talk

Donald Mitchell asked:

As difficult as it is to determine and reinforce the values of an organization, it’s even more difficult to be sure that those in the organization live those values in visible ways. But that visible following of values is much more valuable than simply establishing the values in the beginning.

Here’s an example. Habitat for Humanity is one of the fastest-growing large organizations on earth. This charitable enterprise finds deserving people who cannot afford decent housing, helps them build such housing at modest cost, and provides a no-interest mortgages to finance the purchases.

A key element of Habitat’s ethic is that the organization is based on Christian principles, and Habitat sees itself as a Christian ministry. This religious ethical foundation enables Habitat to draw on teachings about “helping thy neighbor” and “loving thy neighbor as thyself.”

Habitat uses these values as an irresistible force to draw volunteers and resources to the organization. Naturally, the group carefully lives up to its creed. Although the charity operates from one set of religious principles, people of many faiths support Habitat’s work out of respect for the values that Habitat upholds.

To some this enterprise may sound like a fairy tale. Check it out. I think you’ll be impressed.

While conventional builders take weeks and months to complete the simplest structure, Habitat routinely builds housing in hours or just a few days as part of special events. Its members rigorously work to reduce costs, improve quality, and accelerate progress, and are the world standard in much of what they do. Now that’s a breakthrough solution!

Right now, there’s a housing crisis in the United States because so many home owners cannot pay their mortgages. As a result, conventional home builders are losing billions of dollars as homes sit empty.

Compare that sad circumstance with what Habitat can accomplish. As home and land prices drop, Habitat can afford to start more homes. If building material prices also drop, Habitat will be able to build its homes at lower prices. As a result, more people will enjoy being in homes where those who buy from conventional builders will have lost.

The Habitat home owners put no cash down into their homes, and they pay no interest. Those homes aren’t going to be repossessed for nonpayment. In fact, if a Habitat home owner has problems paying, there’s flexibility to help the home owner find another job or to reschedule the payments.

Imagine how much better it feels to work for Habitat (for pay or as a volunteer) than to be with a conventional builder.

Is your enterprise based on values that are this inspiring for you and the rest of your organization?

If not, now is a good time to see what you can do to draw on rich value roots such as faith-based ones to create an irresistible force for accomplishing more.

Do Your Products Reflect Ethical Values

Akhil Shahani asked:

You have initiated a business of your own couple of years back, and the progress is in full swing. Consumers feel the products are awesome, and you are all set to expand your reach. And why not! But, just when you think you’re ready to take the next big leap, someone asks you whether your products are ethical!

Strong business ethics always form the basis of all of your relationships, especially those with customers and employees. In the new era of business, corporate values and business ethics will always pay you back in terms of helping you achieve standards of excellence and securing a reputation for being trustworthy. Conversely, violating the ethical code can always put you on the road that you don’t wish to travel. Don’t believe us? Hold on! We’ve got a handful of examples especially for you.

Remember Anita Roddick? Okay, let us remind you of Anita Roddick’s success story. Anita Roddick, the founder of ‘The Body Shop’, the cosmetics company dedicated to producing and retailing nature-inspired beauty products, was well-known for her belief in ethical values. And this was reflected in several aspects of The Body Shop. Not only were the products organic, none of them were tested on animals, reflecting the company’s deep respect for nature and the environment. And they didn’t merely make good products – the company made sure that basic labor rights of their suppliers from third world countries were not violated. Anita developed a unique set of ethical values for The Body Shop that brought global success to a business that started with a single store. Take a leaf out of her book – for example, if you are in the food processing business make sure you don’t risk the health of your farmers.

Have you heard of green consumerism? Let me tell you a few words about green consumerism. Green consumerism refers to the growing demand for natural products, and this trend is most vibrant in the United Kingdom, and catching on in the rest of the world. Want to know the reason behind that? Don’t you admit that we should put a stop to the damage to our environment? A lot of manufactured products have an adverse environmental impact, however small. Hence, environmentalists are urging companies to look at the entire life cycle of their consumers’ purchase from a pro-environment point of- view. That’s because a consumer does not just buy a ‘product’, but also everything that goes into its making, and everything that would result from its usage. So, take a serious step and try to base your business on natural products and eco friendly practices. On a practical note, remember that your business and its ability to survive depend on how quickly you respond to the demands of consumers – and today the consumer is demanding ethical values!

Ready for some charity? It is worthwhile considering contributing a certain part of your profits to a charitable cause that you believe in. Philanthropy is undoubtedly one of the most ethical values any business could espouse. Not only does your company make a worthwhile difference to a cause, it also acquires a great deal of credibility and acceptability in the eyes of the public.

It is seen that consumers in the new era are tending towards products of socially responsible companies. Wouldn’t you like yours to be counted among them?

What is Ethical Shopping?

Davinos Greeno asked:

But you can by shopping in an Ethical way. Put simply, this is buying things that are made ethically by companies that act ethically. Buying ethically means buying a brand or from a company which doesn’t exploit labour, animals or the environment. The way in which you can act as an ‘ethical consumer’ can also take on a different form and that is avoiding products (also known as boycotting) you disapprove of such as battery eggs.

GuideMeGreen acts as a unique internet guide, showing you which brands and companies are classed as ethical. For more indepth information see the Good Shopping Guide or the Ethical Consumer magazine.

Why buy ethically?

Everyone needs to go shopping in one way or another. As an ethical consumer, every time you buy something you can make a difference by choosing an ethical product or by buying from an ethical business.

For example, when you buy from a company that doesn’t exploit its workers and provides them with decent working conditions, you are giving the company the funds to continue its ethical behaviour. At the same time, you are no longer buying from a company that exploits its labour with poor pay and often a dangerous working environment. That company then loses business, which may encourage it to change its ways and to look after its workers.

Marks and Spencers the huge retail chain in the UK recently ran an ethical products campaign and said that this was its most successful ever. Many of the big retail companies are now seeing the benefits of offering a range of ethical goods for sale including ethical trainers, ethical shoes and t-shirts.

How do I know it’s ethical?

In general consumers must have confidence that any ‘ethical’ claims that a brand may make conform to certain standards which are independently accredited. Organisations such as the Good Shopping Guide and Ethical Consumer provide an ethical analysis of everyday brands and the companies behind them. The Ethical Marketing group publishes the Good Shopping Guide, updated annually, grading hundreds of companies according to their policies on 15 ethical issues.

Working to promote ethical shopping, The Ethical Company Organisation enables consumers to easily compare the Corporate Social Responsibility records of hundreds of companies and brands.

The Ethical Company Organisation’s Research Department monitors the ethical records of hundreds of different companies across 15 criteria including environmental records, human rights, animal welfare and involvement in the arms trade. This involves working with hundreds of ethical consumers, progressive companies and NGOs on a range of research and publishing programmes.

For example, next time you are buying clothes, the good shopping guide recommends that you buy from HUG and avoid Nike.

Find Ethical products via GuideMeGreen’s ethical directory

The Great Green Clean: How to Make your Own Ethical Cleaning Products

Adam Singleton asked:

The last time you dressed in yellow rubber gloves, the most stained and ratty t-shirt you owned, and possibly a face-mask, you probably weren’t heading out to a fancy dress party, or even leaving your home at all. You were cleaning it. But why all this protective attire to combat dirt, germs and grime in the place that you are working hard to make a more liveable, safe environment?

Why are we using products that are so harmful that we require protection to use them? After all, you want to be able to eat off surfaces you have just cleaned, but the very same toxic chemicals that rid our homes of dirt and germs can also be toxic to ourselves!

What the manufacturers of harmful cleaning products don’t want you to know is that you can clean your home with far less toxic products, many of which you probably already own. Most chemicals that make you want to wear a gas mask are not surprisingly harmful for the environment, but you can achieve the same results using everyday things that do not require protective garments. Next time you clean, arm yourself with white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, a lemon or two and a splash of hydrogen peroxide and you are ready to clean your home the green way.

A green way to clean windows is by using a mixture of one part white vinegar to three parts warm water. To get a lemon scent, cut a lemon in half, squeeze the juice into a bucket and then plunk the rest into the solution and voila! Lemon scented window cleaner.

To clean kitchen counters, cutting boards or other areas where harmful bacteria may be lurking, hydrogen peroxide is a great alternative to chlorine based bleach. It can be bought at any pharmacy and does not have the harsh smell of regular bleach or ammonia. Simply make a solution with warm water and wipe. For surfaces with harsh stains, apply a thin layer of bicarbonate of soda and scrub with a moistened brush.

The next time the kitchen sink is blocked, try rapidly pouring a bucket full of recently boiled water down the drain. Just be careful of splashes! This is a great alternative to using a caustic drain clog remover and can also be used on a clogged bog!

If using ethical, environmentally friendly products is important in your life, you are a member of an increasing number of people out there and be assured, manufacturers have taken note. If you’d prefer not to make your own, there are plenty of ready made ethical products available for sale, which you can feel great about using.

An Ethical Clothing Company Story

Davinos Greeno asked:

It may sound like a talkative monkey, but Gossypium is something even stranger- a clothing company that puts farmers first.

Their name comes from the Latin for cotton, and expresses their unexpected belief that the way clothes are made is as important as how they look. All their clothes are made from 100% organic Indian cotton woven on handlooms to prevent wasting energy and the build up of cloth mountains and without the use of any GM seeds.

The cotton they use is grown by farmers supported by the Agrocel farmers centre. Based in Gujerat, Agrocel helps farmers grow their crops completely organically with technical advice, support and regular visits. The 60 farmers are paid a fair, above market price for their produce, and have a long-term sustainable relationship with the company.

Abigail Garner, a director of the company, set up the first clothing collection for Traidcraft and knew how important it was to treat not just the farmers well, but the earth too. Instead of chemical colours, Gossypium uses vegetable dyes, a time-consuming but high quality alternative. No waxes or chemical treatments are used to spin the cotton.

The clothes are stitched in India and Gossypium is working towards total transparency and independent monitoring. Thomas Petit, a company director explains that in the meantime they visit the factories themselves, We try and use the same factories as fair trade organisations use. Where this isnt possible we visit the factories ourselves?. They have also set up an education fund linked to the garments, each item stitched means more money to buy books for local schools.

Gossypium has its own fashion and print designer who adds a fresh edge to the ethical and environmentally conscious company. Their yoga collection is particularly popular because wearers know they are helping others while they reach their higher plane! The collection is already stocked in 30 shops throughout the UK. Its growing fast and is very popular, says Tom.

Their childrens clothes are perfect for sensitive babies and their sensitive parents who prefer not to wrap their offspring in chemicals, and the hardwearing material withstands the games of the most robust kids. For adults the emphasis is on simplicity and comfort, but never at the expense of fit or style. We especially like their slash neck tops and strappy vests.

Gossypium is bent on not just altering the fashion industry but turning it on its head to give power to the producers. Because of this, all profits are shared between Agrocel and the design/sales part of the company. The aim is to get as many farmers into Agrocel as possible, giving them the freedom to work without endangering themselves with pesticides and to be paid fairly for their work. The unique combination of ethics and style will ensure pretty soon everyone will be talking about Gossypium.

Ethics of Abortion

CD Mohatta asked:

Abortion will always remain a topic of discussion. Lot of religious, ethical and practical issues are involved in abortion. Is abortion killing? Is abortion taking away the rights of an unborn child? Is it not murder? And what if the parents or the mother does not want the child? Who will take care? Why should she carry a child in her womb if she does not want it? How about her rights? Such questions keep getting asked when the subject of abortion comes up.

I saw a discussion where a woman wanted to abort a child conceived because of rape. In this discussion also I could not find everybody agreeing to get aborted. Some religions forbid it. Karma theory says that you get raped because of your past karma and you must bear the pain of bringing up the child to wash off your bad karma. Some religions say that life itself it too precious. Only God can take it away. No body else can do that.

Ethically speaking the subject becomes very hot. Because we have our own ethics. My ethics need not be same as those of yours. Something like ethics of lying. Some people feel it ethical to lie if it helps someone. Others say that one should never lie irrespective of the result. Abortion has similar results if you look at opinions. Some people are very much for it while others are totally against it.

I have a simple question. If one cannot kill a newly born child, how can one kill a child who is unborn? Because we feel that the child is without life at that time? Who can give a definite answer to the question of when the child becomes a living being? I do not think that other than God any body knows the answer.

Business is not a Social Giveaway

Donald Yates asked:

 

Make a profit and leave social programs to the Government.

 

Being in businesses serves one purpose and one purpose only, and that is to turn a profit for its owners or stake holders. People who begrudge businesses for making a profit don’t fully understand their purpose. In a capitalistic system such as that found in the United States, profit is the soul purpose of any business endeavor. Small businesses are no different, people who go into business for themselves, usually do so for the income. When all is said and done, income is after all, the root of the businesses importance.

 

Social endeavors on the other hand are driven by the need to provide a service. Some social businesses are for profit and some are not. Many times the proprietors take a salary while the business itself is self sustaining but does not occur a profit. Even though an enterprise may be a social directed business, it still operates under the same financial pressures as a profit driven business. Its aim may be to provide a clear social benefit but it must adhere to more strict rules and regulations than other businesses. The internal structuring may include volunteers and solicited donations. Accounting is strict and reporting to government agencies may be more scrutinized. Any profits occurred are mostly reinvested, or used to support its societal direction, rather than being paid to the owners of the business.

 

If you are community minded, you may want to start a business that isn’t just for profit but also has a social function. For example, you might want to provide a service for injured war veterans , or help improve conditions for disadvantaged children.

 

Here are some Advantages of starting a social directed business.

You get a feeling of self-worth while earning a living.

The community and your beneficiaries benefit as your business grows and matures.

Customers may be willing to become involved in the business because it supports a good cause.

It could be easier to attract and motivate employees and volunteers to share in your social aims.

You could possibly qualify for a government or church based grant and raise funds from people or organizations who share your social aspirations.

 

Here are some Disadvantages of starting a social directed business.

Sometimes your social aims may get in the way of making progressive decisions.

You may have to make difficult choices as to how much income to make.

If there is any surplus, profits it is expected to be put back into the business or go toward supporting the cause.

 

 

Why people change careers or start their own business

A change in conditions like loss of job or sudden need for more money.

A major life event can prompt or even enable you to start your business.

An inheritance or other dramatic personal event may provide the funding to kick-start you into action.

Loss of job or job stagnation could mean that now it is time to take the big step.

 

 

What are the Advantages of going into business?

It just might be an opportunity to start over or do something you’ve always wanted to do.

You have a chance to prove yourself.

You get to choose your future

You can make as much as you are determined to make. .

Even though you’re never your own boss you can have the flexibility of working around family commitments.

 

 

What are the Disadvantages of going into business?

You will have to ware many hats, meaning its up to you to take care of all business matters.

Going into business is a life-changing event and it can be very stressful.

Don’t make decisions that would effect others when you are personally disturbed.

It usually takes about three years to start showing a profit from a new business.

It is most unlikely that you will see any speedy returns on your investment and you must prepare for a long, and sometimes difficult challenge.

In the beginning stages especially, it could mean working long hours for little pay and making sacrifices in your personal life. Make sure those around you are prepared for the challenges ahead.

 

Should you start a business when you’re unemployed?

If you’re drawing unemployment your composition wages might not be enough to carry you through while starting a business. It may be better to find a job and slowly work into a business on the side. If you already have the tools, like a lawn mower (lawn service), a buffer and vacuum (carpet cleaning) or car (delivery service) then you might solicit people you know for business or references.

 

Starting your own business is not easy. It takes unusual fortitude to make the transition from wage earner to self reliance. Don’t attempt it unless you have the confidence and determination to succeed.

 

Happy Trails

 

 

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People of the Book are One Another’s Trusted Friends

Harun Yahya asked:

Islam is the religion of peace, love and tolerance. However, nowadays certain circles are trying to give Islamic morality the wrong image. The religion of Islam commands people to create an “abode of peace and well-being” on the face of the Earth, but those circles try to show the opposite of this as if there was a conflict between followers of other religions and Muslims. However, the view Islamic morality takes of Jews and Christians known in the Qur’an as the “People of the Book” is extremely just and merciful. God makes this known in the Qur’an as follows:

God does not forbid you from being good to those who have not fought you in the religion or driven you from your homes, or from being just towards them. God loves those who are just. (Qur’an, 60:8)

Only argue with the People of the Book in the kindest way – except in the case of those of them who do wrong – saying, “We believe in what has been sent down to us and what was sent down to you. Our God and your God are one and we submit to Him.” (Qur’an, 29:46)

The Qur’an states that there are those among the People of the Book who are sincere in their belief:

Among the People of the Book there are some who believe in God and in what has been sent down to you and what was sent down to them, and who are humble before God. They do not sell God’s signs for a paltry price. Such people will have their reward with their Lord. And God is swift at reckoning. (Qur’an, 3:199)

… There is a community among the People of the Book who are upright. They recite God’s signs throughout the night, and they prostrate. They believe in God and the Last Day, and enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and compete in doing good. They are among the righteous. You will not be denied the reward for any good thing you do. God knows those who guard against evil. (Qur’an, 3:113-115)

Those who believe and those who are Jews and the Sabaeans and the Christians, all who believe in God and the Last Day and act rightly will feel no fear and will know no sorrow. (Qur’an, 5:69)

In the books of truth sent by God as guidance to His people, a community model is described that is based on love, peace, tolerance and justice. For example, in the Qur’an God tells that the Torah brought down to the Jews is a guidance for people:

We sent down the Torah containing guidance and light, and the prophets who had submitted themselves gave judgment by it for the Jews – as did their scholars and their rabbis – by what they had been allowed to preserve of God’s Book to which they were witnesses… (Qur’an, 5:44)

The arguments and conflicts between Jews, Christians and Muslims based on historical problems, prejudices, misunderstandings and misapprehensions should be put to an end once and for all. Followers of all three religions should live in mutual understanding and tolerance. What is important is to bring up points in common rather than differences, to be helpful rather than troublesome, constructive rather than destructive, cooperative rather than obstructive, integral rather than separate, and to cause unity rather than segregation. In the Qur’an God makes known as follows this responsibility of the believers:

Those who do not believe are the friends and protectors of one another. If you do not act in this way there will be turmoil in the land and great corruption. (Qur’an, 8:73)

God has ordered the believers to be the peacemakers and protectors of peace on Earth. He has condemned those who disturb peace on Earth, declare war without just cause (such as defense or salvation from oppression), disrupters, and killers of innocent people. Our Lord has ordered believers to create a world where all people can live in peace and it is one of the important responsibilities to ensure peace and security for mankind.

At the root of wars, conflicts and all forms of corruption is man’s distancing from the true religious moral values. Sometimes the perverse interpretations of certain individuals allegedly in the name of religion can influence people who have insufficient knowledge of the true religious ethic. And this may cause them to commit acts that are totally inappropriate in terms of religious ethic. The solidarity of the believers gains importance in the face of people who believe in the necessity of solving disagreements and problems by violent means, those who persecute people with oppressive and despotic implementations.

Every Christian, Muslim or Jewish believer is obliged to do his utmost to strive to this end. It is right for those Muslims, Jews and Christians who believe in one God, who try to gain His approval, who have surrendered to Him, whose hearts are bound to Him, who praise Him, and who essentially defend the same values, to act in partnership. Sincere believers should unite in order to live according to the moral values of religion, prevent the disasters caused by irreligion, struggle intellectually against atheism and materialism.

Prejudices arising from ignorance or the provocations of those who are against the religious moral values should be banished. Jews, Christians and Muslims should try to cooperate to spread the high moral values on Earth. This cooperation should be built on the founding principles of love, respect, tolerance, understanding, harmony and cooperation. It is necessary to consider the immediate need for action, and to keep far away from elements that can lead to conflict, argument and dissidence. In the Qur’an the Muslims’ call to the People of the Book for unity is made known as follows:

Say: “People of the Book! Come to a proposition which is the same for us and you – that we should worship none but God and not associate any partners with Him and not take one another as lords besides God.” (Qur’an, 3:64)

Under the pen name of Harun Yahya, Adnan Oktar has written some 250 works. His books contain a total of 46,000 pages and 31,500 illustrations. Of these books, 7,000 pages and 6,000 illustrations deal with the collapse of the Theory of Evolution. You can read, free of charge, all the books Adnan Oktar has written under the pen name Harun Yahya on these websites www.harunyahya.com

How Can I Do Ethical Marketing Through Blogging

Mukeshh Kumarr asked:

What on Earth is Astroturf Marketing

It is believed that the concept of astroturf marketing was coined by US Senator Lloyd Bentsen of Texas to refer to situations in which people with no political agenda present grassroots perspectives on major issues. Simply put, astroturf marketing is the notion of promoting your product or service in forums designed for discussion and not for advertising where the promotional message is projected in a context that is in no way related to promotion. What makes astroturf marketing so attractive for many is its high-impact character and negligible cost. The platform in which astroturf marketing is leveraged usually involves audiences that do not expect any advertising to take place. More often than not, any form of advertising is strictly prohibited on these platforms and there are strict penalties for violators.

Two Ways for you to Astroturf-Market your Product or Service

Here are two unique ways in which you can astroturf-market your product or service and not even have to pay to do so. Please be sure to follow the ethical guidelines we have recommended.

Post Intelligently to Special Lists and Discussion Groups

There is no knowledge domain on the planet today that does not have an associated discussion group, bulletin board, message board or listserv. If you happen to be a manufacturer of metal castings for automobiles, chances are that there is a discussion list for this industry. Promoting your product on such lists can be hugely rewarding because many potential customers also subscribe to these types of lists not to mention consultants and contractors. But since you can rarely advertise on these lists and in many cases, can‘t advertise even if you wanted to pay for it, visibility on these platforms can be tricky to achieve.

Consider the following. When commenting on a topic, a thread or a hot issue, use the signature feature in your e-mail client. Your signature should include:

• Your real name

• Your designation or title at the company

• The name of your company

• A “one line“ short descriptor such as “the New England photocopying experts“

• Physical mailing address

• Phone number and URL

• e-mail address

Never modify your signature once you start using it except on rare instances in which information needs to be updated. Chances are that your list administrator won‘t ever object to this form of veiled marketing not only because there are others doing it but also because this practice has gained momentum and is gradually becoming ubiquitous. Your posts should always be original and intelligently crafted. The value addition should be worth the time it takes to read your post on the list.

Carve your Niche in Blogosphere

Setting up your own blog on a free hosted blogging platform such as Google‘s Blogspot, TypePad or WordPress can generate significant ROI for your time and effort. However, it has to be done right. If you start posting your company‘s marketing collateral on your blog, it will drive away more traffic than it will generate. Therefore, it is a wise idea to engage in constructive commentary in your blog posts. For instance, did you “almost“ make a mistake yesterday when hiring a manager? What was the mistake and how did you prevent it? Have you just come across a new vertical search engine for your industry? What is your assessment about its functionality? How extensive is it? Mention your company and the services you provide but only in a context and that too in passing. Contrary to what many believe, you don‘t have to post to your blog every day. Post two or three times a week. It is the quality of the content that matters, not the quantity. Always provide links to your company‘s website, preferably, to specific and relevant pages when possible. This can generate valuable back- links for you. Your name at the end of each blog entry should also link to your company‘s home page and not to your profile on the blog site which is what most bloggers do.

Never Become or Use a Meat Puppet

A meat puppet is an anonymous and fictitious entity that you either create or pay to create in order to present your point of view. Using a meat puppet while astroturf-marketing is both unethical and impractical. Even the courts disapprove of such gimmicks. Communicate your message judiciously on the Internet and watch your ROI soar.

Astroturf your way to success in your online endeavors!

Introduction To Business Ethics

Jonathon Hardcastle asked:

Is it possible for an individual with strong moral values to make ethically questionable decisions in a business setting? What affects a person’s inclination to make either ethical or unethical decisions in a business organization? Although the answers to that question are not entirely clear, there appear to be three general sets of factors that influence the standards of behavior in an organization; individual factors, social factors and opportunity.

Several individual factors influence the level of ethical behavior in an organization. An individual’s knowledge level regarding an issue can help to determine ethical behavior. A decision maker with a greater amount of knowledge regarding an object or situation may take steps to avoid ethical problems, whereas a less-informed person may unknowingly take action that leads to an ethical conflict. One’s moral values and central, value-related attitudes clearly influence his or her business behavior. Most people join organizations to accomplish personal goals. The types of personal goals an individual aspires to and the manner in which these goals are pursued have significant impact on that individual’s behavior in an organization.

A person’s behavior in the workplace is, to some degree, determined by cultural norms, and these social factors vary from one culture to another. For example, in some countries it is acceptable and ethical for customs agents to receive gratuities for performing ordinary, legal tasks that are a part of jobs, whereas in other countries these practices would be viewed as unethical and perhaps illegal. The actions and decisions of coworkers is another social factor believed to shape a person’s sense of business ethics. For example, if your coworkers make long-distance telephone calls on company time and at company expense, you might view that behavior as acceptable and ethical because everyone does it. Significant others are persons to whom someone is emotionally attached-spouses, friends, and relatives, for instance. Their moral values and attitudes can also affect an employee’s perception of what is ethical and unethical in the workplace.

Opportunity refers to the amount of freedom an organization gives an employee to behave ethically if he or she makes that choice. In some organizations, certain company policies and procedures reduce the opportunity to be unethical. For example, at some fast-food restaurants, one person takes your order and receives your payment and another person fills the order. This procedure reduces the opportunity to be unethical because the person handling the money is not dispensing the product, and the person giving out the product is not handling the money. The existence of an ethical code and the importance management places on this code are other determinants of opportunity. The degree of enforcement of company policies, procedures, and ethical codes is a major force affecting opportunity. When violations are dealt with consistently and firmly, the opportunity to be unethical is reduced.

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The PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

Cornelius Fichtner asked:

Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie. This short sentence pretty much sums up the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. It describes the expectations that we have of ourselves and our fellow practitioners in the global project management community. It articulates the ideals to which we aspire as well as the behaviors that are mandatory in our professional and volunteer roles.

The purpose of the Code is to instill confidence in the project management profession and to help an individual become a better practitioner.

You cannot find the Code in the PMBOK Guide. It is a separate document that you have to download for free from the PMI Website. But as so often on the PMI Website it is somewhat difficult to find. Here is the direct link to it: http://www.pmi.org/PDF/ap_pmicodeofethics.pdf. Just like the PMBOK Guide, this is a “must read” for anyone studying to take the Project Management Professional (PMP) or Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) exam.

Unlike the PMBOK Guide, where memorization is necessary to pass the exam you will not be asked to recite from the Code during the exam. Instead, expect several scenario-based questions where you have to show that you can apply the Code. For instance: “You have just arrived in London where you will spend 3 days with a vendor reviewing a proposal. The vendor calls you in your hotel room and invites you to dinner. What do you do?”

Let’s take a look into this document. Upon creating the code, the PMI found that there are 4 values which project managers around the globe identified as being important: responsibility, respect, fairness and honesty. These values have become the foundation of the code and each of them is discussed at length in a separate section. For each of these values the Code lists aspirational and mandatory standards.

The aspirational standards describe the conduct that we strive to uphold as practitioners. Although adherence to the aspirational standards is not easily measured, conducting ourselves in accordance with these is an expectation that we have of ourselves.

The mandatory standards establish firm requirements, and in some cases, limit or prohibit practitioner behavior. Practitioners who do not conduct themselves in accordance with these standards will be subject to disciplinary procedures before PMI’s Ethics Review Committee. However, even though we have this distinction of aspirational and mandatory standards, for the PMP exam consider everything in the Code as mandatory.

The code applies to you both as a PMP Aspirant and later on also as a PMP. First, as a PMP Aspirant: When you apply for the PMP Exam you will be asked to sign the PMP Candidate Agreement and Release form. In it you state that as a PMP Aspirant you will comply with the Code. This means, for instance, that you don’t cheat on the PMP exam. And once you pass the exam the code also applies to you as a PMP.

Now you should exercise Responsibility and take ownership of the decisions you make or fail to make, show Respect to yourself, others and the resources entrusted to you, apply Fairness when making decisions and act impartially and objectively, and finally, employ Honesty in both your communication and conduct. If we all manage to live up to these high standard from the code, we will improve the respect towards our profession as well as enrich today’s business world.

Here are two more examples of applying the value of “Honesty” to your work: First, as a project manager you may be working on-site for your client and you may have access to proprietary and copyrighted material or information. The confidentiality of such intellectual property that you have access to, must be maintained. And second, let’s look at status reports or press releases that you provide. The information that you as a PMP provide in these documents must be accurate and truthful… however difficult it may be to define the word “truth”.

Applying the code in your daily dealings with work colleagues and your colleagues in the professional organizations will also set you apart. The code can assist you in making wise decisions especially, when you are faced with difficult situations when you might be asked to compromise your integrity and values. Sticking to the code will show others that you are an upstanding, ethical project manager.

Take this a step further. If your colleagues know about you in this way, this will be part of your reputation. And being honest and ethical makes finding a new job much easier, than if you had the reputation of stealing, backstabbing and lying.

Let’s come back to that dinner invitation from earlier. Would you accept or would you decline? I would accept because going out to dinner with a vendor or partner is normal social behavior and will not jeopardize your objectivity on the project. However, if the vendor offers a free Caribbean cruise to you then you should decline and notify your superiors.

Next to the PMBOK Guide the code of ethics is one of the more important documents on the exam. Study it and try to see it not just as a theoretical document but apply it to real life examples of how it applies to your work on a project and what you should do in a given situation.