Thursday, February 12, 2009
TheTVObserver: Life’s Stickiest Situations
I consider myself to be extremely ethical…in fact if I am faced with a situation
which goes against any ethical standards I break out in hives. Its nasty and to the determent of others, I expect them to have a degree of ethical behavior for life’s stickiest situation.
This is going to be short since, I am sick after a dinner with friends left me with an unbelievable stomach bug….more like food poisoning. I took the day off. Anyway….I was at home waiting for my Doctor’s house call. After he told me I need to take some medicine and rest, then wait and see how I feel tomorrow, before I decide to return to work.
So, I decided to write about Randy Cohen appearance on Oprah to discuss ethics. The question in my mind was very simple…..how ethical are you? The thing about ethics is that whats ethical for one may not be considered ethical by some. Well let’s see
If you are at the bank to withdraw money not at the ATM but inside…lets say $2000, and the teller gives you $1000 more than you actual asked for, do you return to the bank and give the Money back or you keep it?
If you are at a restaurant and someone walks out of the bathroom and they happen to be dragging toilet paper with their shoe, do you alert them or leave them be?
If you are an a clothing store and you hear a change room attendant making fun of the weight of a customer whose trying out clothes, do you ignore them or would you ask them to respect their customers?
Your boss makes offensive comments about a colleague. Do you ignore him and keep quite or do you politely make it clear that he is being offensive?
Your child aged 13-15 gets a sexually explicit text message from a classmate. Do you report it to the classmates mother or you tell your child to stay away from him/her? If you tell the parents, how do you address the issue?
Randy Cohen was joined by O magazine contributor Faith Salie to talk ethics on Oprah. I’ve never had a problem speaking my mind and I always felt telling the truth is better than having to manufacture lies.
If your friend’s husband, made a sexual proposition, would you tell your friend or would you take him up on the offer and keep it a secret and hope for the best?
If your neighbor left a nasty note on your windshield regarding how close you had parked to her car: “Learn how to park! I couldn’t get out! Next time I’m slamming your front bumper [expletive]!” This written on an envelope containing $40, would you return the money or keep it as payment for her harsh words?
If your father married a new wife who has a son, whom you discover that you are in love with, would you act on your feelings or respect him as a brother by marriage?
If you saw your pastor kissing another women from your church whilst he is married, would you keep quite or tell the congregation that the minister is having extramarital affairs? Or would you tell the wife of the pastor?
You call your friend and discover that they are driving, do you continue chatting to them despire the fact that this may destruct him/her from driving which may result in an accident. Or do you ask to call him when he arrives at his next destination?
Driving while talking on the phone is dangerous, and research supports this.
If you had children on a car pool and you discover that the other mother who drives your children to school is always on her phone whilst driving. Would you confront her or hope that your kids arrive safely to school and back?
You are studying for your degree and you discover that your roommate who does not study always A’s her papers, until you discover that she is sleeping with her professor/s for good grades. Would you tell the university even if it may result in your friend being kicked out of university? Or do you keep quite and keep your friendship?
You buy a plane ticket to take your young son. Near the departure date, you decide to take your older sister instead. The airline prohibits name changes on a ticket, and a replacement cost is required, but someone in customer service tells you: “There’s no requirement for children under 18 to present photo identification. Do you understand what I’m saying?” Do you take that person’s tip and fly anyway or do you report him and your situation to the ticket desk?
You are friends online until you discover that one of your friends is gossiping about other friends in your circle of friendship. Do you confront her knowing full well that she may just do the same to you or you keep quite and indulge her back handed comments about certain friends in your online circle of friends?
You hear your neighbor being beaten by her husband. Do you call the police or do you wait until she comes crying for help, before you can do something?
You hear rumors about one of your hot work colleagues who is a bit of a Casanova, that he has a small member despite his continued insinuation that his well embowered. Do you enjoy the rumors or do you ask the person who tells this rumor to leave you out of it?
You are participating in a charity event where you asked to raise a certain amount of money, let sat $2000 and you discover that you have raised $5000 from your sponsors. Since the event will take place in Cape Town and you are in JHB, there are additional costs of airfare, hotel and registration fees. Do you apply the surplus money to those costs and keep some, but only give the event their $2000? Or do you give the event what your managed to raise and figure out how to get to the event?
You work for a predominantly white firm and one day your boss tells everyone that he is looking to hire someone new but he wants to hire a white person……and he makes a comment “I am tired of these blacks” even thou you are black. Do you ignore the comment and keep your job or do you immediately share your opinions about the racist comment even if you may loose your job?
How have you been challenged ethically and which decision did you make in that situation?
Now imagine if your ethical position is completely WRONG and everyone can see it but YOU! What do you then? What is the most ethical thing for you to do in that outcome?
For the Oprah Winfrey Show please check local listings. Randy Cohen writes “The Ethicist” column for The New York Times Magazine and Faith Salie is contributor for O magazine.
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