In my newsletter today I wrote about an incident that occurred with one of my consulting clients. The client wanted me to comply with their intention to unethically require a contractor to complete additional out of contract scope work or not be paid for the work they had already completed according to the contract terms. Since the contractor had already satisfied all the terms of the contract, I refused to withhold the contractor's payment. Because of my "blatant defiance" the client felt he had the right to speak to me in a highly escalated and demeaning tone. Finding this behavior and his unethical intentions to be unacceptable, I suggested that we part ways. He agreed.
What would you have done? Would the possible loss of income keep you working for someone who lacked integrity and respect for you? How would you justify working hard for someone who didn't value you? Do you feel allowing an employer or manager to speak to you in a demeaning manner is acceptable? If it happened once, and you did nothing, aren't you telling them it's okay? If you've allowed them to compromise your integrity, what will keep them from doing it again? At what point do you say, "No!"?
We must all have a line we will not cross. There must be a choice made as to how we want to operate in the world. If we want to be treated fairly and be respected, we must give the same to others. When we know what is right and true, we must stand up for it. It won't always be easy, but stand we must. It's not just about the respect that others have for us, it's about the respect we have for ourselves. I could not respect myself if I were blindly obedient and caused another harm as a result of being so.
Don't allow fear of losing your job or contract to compromise your principles. Stand up for what is right. You and the world will be better for it.