All my life I was taught that we should treat others how we would want to be treated. My grandmother who raised me most of my life believed that even without religion people can be good, moral, virtuous beings by following that simple rule. I cannot tell you how many times as a child she forced me to suffer through what I had done to someone else. But as I grew older I realized what she was trying to teach me, empathy. She wanted me to see, to feel, to ‘know’ what my actions did to others, both human and animal alike. As an adult I strive very hard to live by that very simple principle. It is my guiding moral that all others are weighed against.
When I found ADF many years ago I feel in love with the Nine Virtues. They seemed to speak as loudly to me as what I was raised with. I saw that when weighed against the moral of treating others as I would want to be treated, there was no conflict. I saw that they actually enhanced what I already believed. So it is that I now strive to first treat everyone around as I would want to be treated. I strive to hold onto my integrity and piety moderated with the wisdom I gain over the years. I strive to have the courage to do what is needed and to persevere when there is nothing I can do to change events or others viewpoints. And I strive to achieve my vision of equality so that everyone I come in contact with can have fertile opportunity to grow. And I temper all of this with the logical difference between that I see as right and wrong even when it might not be the most popular action.
Striving to this has been both positive and negative in my professional life. I have built a trust and image of being dependable. I have created an image of someone that will always do what he thinks is right. Much of what I would call right is personal bias; it is “my” outlook on things, which has been shaped throughout my life. I have never seen much difference between personal and professional life because I am the same person in both so my ethic in those situations should be the same. It is nice to know that people see me this way but I also know that it has hurt me in many ways as well. I am not willing to take shortcuts that might profit the majority if I know it will cripple a few or an individual. When I was working for my former company it was their policy to lie to our vendors giving them false information and system service tags to get services or parts which were not covered under warranty. I refused to be part of those activities as they were in direct conflict with my beliefs and values as a person. I was seen as not being shrewd enough to succeed by IT management because I do not believe it is right to short change the “little folk” who are the back bone of the business so that the owners can benefit. Because of that I was never hired on as a full time employee. My contract was dragged out for two years until I just became tired of dealing with their unethical behaviors. And despite this treatment I continued to work giving 100% until I landed my current job.
Much of my professional career has been in IT. The major of the IT work I have been involved with has centered on medical software and hardware. As a data administrator I was held to the highest levels of confidential requirements by federal laws. I had complete and total access to medical records of every single patient which was in our clients’ databases. So I have a vast understanding of confidentiality on a professional level for just that reason alone. How has it been a negative? I cannot say that it ever has been one in the work place. However as the leader of a former ADF Grove that professional confidentiality was challenged several times about events that surrounded the Regional Druid at the time. That became a negative when had a real need to talk with someone outside the situation but knew to do so would be breaching the individuals involved confidentiality.
When it comes to professional boundaries I still struggle with finding a good middle ground. Though I would like very much to make friends with those I work with, I have learned over the years it is best to keep them separate from my personal life. Several times events in my personal found their way into the view of my professional life because of those who crossed over into both areas. Because of that, even though I apply the same principles to both personal and professional, I keep them as separate as possible. It can be a struggle at times because I spend so much time at work. This also reflects back to the fact I also will not break my personal values to further my professional career. That to me is a professional boundary and it will not be crossed no matter the cost.