During a semester in the first year of college, I set a goal to achieve perfect grades. I was doing well in every class except one in which the final exam was going to decide whether I get an A or B grade. The final exam for the course was a take home exam but the instructor strictly advised us to do the exam on our own and not collaborate with anyone. One of the questions in the take home exam was giving me a hard time and I wanted to seek the help of a friend who had taken the course before.
I knew that a good score in the final exam was the only thing standing between me and a perfect semester. I really struggled with the dilemma but ultimately I didn’t seek a friend’s help and ended up getting a B in the course. But surprisingly, I didn’t feel as disappointed as I thought I would. The dilemma helped me realize how the desire to succeed often tempts individuals to engage in unethical conduct which eventually becomes a habit. During the dilemma, I asked myself that if I cannot produce the courage now, how I would be able to do in the real world when the stakes will be significantly higher. I also thought about my responsibilities as a student one of which was a fair conduct in doing assignments and tests.
The second example is from a summer job I did at Target. I noticed that employees in the store’s human resources office would often take simple supplies such as pen, stamps, and scotch tape etc. home and would even encourage me to do the same to save a little penny here and there. They would justify their actions by claiming that the store already makes a lot of money and moreover, everyone does it so there is no harm in it. Initially, I was tempted but then I told myself that I took the job voluntary and just because a company does well is no excuse for employees to steal company’s property. I also used the opportunity to test my personal integrity whether I could resist crowd pressure to abstain from unethical conduct. I also told myself that if I ever own a company in the future, I would want my employees to act in ethical manner, thus, I should follow the golden rule by behaving in the same manner as well.