Ethics and Integrity

Exponential Disappearance: That’s an oxymoron to describe the rate at which integrity is evaporating from the home dwelling industry. I have isolated a few traits of such ethical failure:

  • Drive-By Supervision: That’s when a ‘builder’ pulls his pickup truck to the street edge of the home site – by the way, in tow is a golf-cart-carrying trailer pulling a second trailer which is carrying a fishing boat – to gaze from the driver’s seat at the in-progress erection (the house), verifying only that it is still there but never getting out to check that walls are straight, floors are level, and windows are in the right place, then driving off to put to their intended use the golf cart and fishing boat, both of which, along with the truck, were purchased with money diverted from the home owner’s construction loan.
  • Planning the Perfect Lie: The entire home planning industry is rife with misrepresentation. One home designer/builder will deliberately lie about the size of the home he draws for any given client. To keep from having to redraw a plan he has made too large to be affordable, he simple renames several rooms ATTIC, then removes those rooms from the square footage count giving the appearance of a smaller, more affordable home. However, the rooms are still there and will cost just as much to build as any other correctly counted area of the house.
  • Building Less with More Deception: One particular builder maximizes his profit by shrinking a house on the sly. Without letting his client know, he will remove several thin slices of space, grid-fashion, to make the house smaller. But he never tells the client and still charges for the original, larger house. His words: “These little house wives don’t know the difference, so why shouldn’t I make more?”
  • Lower the Bid to Raise the Profit: A design/build company is run by a person who has no qualms about stealing from clients. He routinely matches his bid to an amount of money a little less than what he knows his clients have, even though that lesser amount won’t actually be enough to finish their house. His words: “When their money runs out, I just walk away.” Sadly, he does this several times a year.

The way of the world is not always one of truth and light. As the true anecdotes above illustrate, there is a dark side to life. But there is an ideal way to live and work that involves the highest level of integrity. Here is my personal formula, an oath to myself.

  1. FIRST and foremost, I swear to cause no harm.
  2. BEFORE I PROCEED WITH ANY PROJECT, I swear to diligently seek knowledge of any harm, ill effects, disruption, and destruction, which might be caused by my work.
  3. I swear to avoid any harm to others, which may result from my work, whether financial, political, physical, social, emotional, or environmental.
  4. I swear to thoughtfully consider whether, while creating profit for myself, my work also creates good contributions for civilization and mankind.
  5. I swear that should my work, when weighed in the balance, be found wanting for benefits to the world or if it is found to be harmful, I will avoid it and pursue another course.
  6. I commit to choose a work-path headed in a sensible direction with reasonable goals, mindful that passion and persistence – while most often associated with success – are also essential ingredients of futility.
  7. I will hold fast to my own beliefs, but I will respect and care for the needs of the client or person who holds a different belief.
  8. I acknowledge the freedom of others to live and behave differently from me. I will not be angered when another thinks and acts differently from me, as long as those differences do not affect my ability to :
    1. take my next breath,
    2. say my next prayer,
    3. have my next meal,
    4. express affection to those I love,
    5. provide for those in my care.
  9. I will extend tolerance to those who believe differently from me, as long as the other’s belief doesn’t cause malicious harm to me, my work, or my country. If I become associated with an illicit activity, whether faith-based or secular, though I might stand to reap great profit, I will turn from it, regardless of the pushing away of any possible gain.
  10. I acknowledge that I stand on the shoulders of giants who have lived and worked before me.
  11. I swear to be accountable for the way I use their work.
  12. I swear to be responsible in the way I choose to go, or not to go, along their path.
  13. I swear to be conscientious that, should I proceed, I will look forward to all possible futures, good and bad, resulting from my work, to responsibly consider good actions, and to vigorously refrain from bad actions.
  14. I will live by the creed that I, and I alone, am responsible for the consequences of my actions.
  15. I will put Humanity before gain.
  16. I will remember that as I cross the paths of others, their needs for dignity, livelihood, and peaceful existence may outweigh my desire for profit and glory.
  17. I will apply in the present for the benefit of humanity in the future all measures which are required to consciously avoid the traps of being so thoughtless, overzealous, and self-centered toward my work, that I become complacent about the value of the lives of the people my work might affect.
  18. I will remember that people’s lives and well-being can be affected, even threatened, by the work I do.
  19. I will remember that each person’s life has more value than any profit & loss chart, or scientific log, or community development scheme, or political agenda.
  20. My business responsibilities include watch-care over each person’s freedom and ability to pursue prosperity.
  21. I will not be ashamed to say, “I don’t know,” or to ask for help from one who possesses superior experience, intellect, and skill.
    1. I will be humble in the knowledge that there will always be people who are better than I.
    2. I will approach those whose help I seek with respect but without cynicism, with gratitude but without pride, with a cheerful disposition because they’re helping me but without embarrassment because I’m asking for help.
    3. I will be grateful and express it.
  22. I will never stop learning.
  23. I will always seek to know more about all subjects related to my work.
  24. I will never say, “I know enough.”
  25. I will for all my life be positively unyielding in my pursuit of knowledge, sometimes stopping to look back and see how far I’ve come, but with a gaze consciously forward to see how far there is to go.
  26. I will always exert the spirit of superior effort summed-up in the words “I CAN learn more. I WILL be better.”
  27. When I discover an error, I will not lazily pass by it, but I will stop and try to correct it.
  28. When others discover an error by me, and point it out, I will accept the criticism, and exert all possible effort to understand; and if needed, make a correction.
  29. When I see an error by others, I will intervene, boldly, but without conceit or malice.
  30. Whenever it doesn’t jeopardize my livelihood, I will openly share my knowledge with others to raise the standards of my calling.
  31. Even while protecting project-related secrets, I will be a champion of the highest standards of effort, integrity, and precision.
  32. In the same way that I want others to respect the value of my work and my right to benefit from it, I will respect the right of others to profit from their own work. I will not seek to steal, whether by direct theft, illicit borrowing, casual lending, pirated buying and selling of physical and digital products, or copyright infringement by feigned ignorance. I know the difference between right and wrong. I will reject all that is wrong. I will lift-up all that is right.
  33. If I should win the accolades of peer and public, I will never rest upon such laurels, but always push ahead.
  34. I will never be false and when deserved I will offer generous praise to others.
  35. I will allow myself to be satisfied, acknowledging that such gratification may come from serving others as well as myself.
  36. I will enjoy brief achievements and proud moments, but shy away from arrogance.
  37. I will respect the personal privacy of all for whom I work, and all who share my work, for their situations are not disclosed to me that the world may know.
  38. Most especially, concerning others, I will remain sincere in matters of relationships, care & comfort, and personal dignity.
  39. If power is given to me, by Providence, to care for another by the virtues of my work, I will be thankful.
  40. If power is given to me to cause destruction with my work, then I will face this awesome responsibility with humility, fully aware of my own frailty.
  41. I will remember that I am but a single member of Human society with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, whether they are of sound mind and body, or an existence challenged by infirmity.
  42. May I always act to preserve the finest traditions of my calling, while ever-seeking to reject the worst traditions, and only building upon the best.
  43. May my work provide to me the personal reward of life in abundance, so that I may also enjoy the lifelong experience of choosing to lift-up those who seek my help.
  44. May I never violate this oath, that I may enjoy life and prosperity, respected while I live, and, ultimately, remembered with fondness.
  45. Last but still foremost, I swear to cause no harm.

Don’t Lie, Cheat, Steal, or Gossip,

Never withhold your best talents,

Don’t sell your soul,

Don’t make a mess.

Andy Bozeman


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