In less than a month, Northwestern seniors will leave their college years behind to enter a new phase of their lives: their first real job. But in between job searching, networking, applications and interviewing there is one area that doesn’t always cross our minds when entering the workforce: Workplace ethics. Behaving ethically may seem second-nature to us, but often what is fine and good in college and our personal lives may not be accepted in the workplace—especially when workplace policies vary across the board.
With this in mind, UCS featured its “Workplace Ethics Challenge” on Facebook as part of its May “Life After College” series. The challenge offered five separate scenarios centered on workplace ethics and polled fans to choose the most ethical approach for each. If you missed it—or would like to refresh—here they are again, with the answers in bold:
Scenario #1: You’ve just started a new job and your friend from college calls and invites you to drinks with your college buddies. The reunion ends up being a night of partying. The next day at work you know will be uneventful, so you decide to stay out late. The next day you are not feeling well. What do you do?
A. Call in sick, nothing much is happening at work today.
B. You feel too sick, so you go back to bed.
C. Go to work as you normally would.
Scenario #2: You are at a team meeting and your boss is presenting the results of the last month’s work to a new, important client. You notice that your boss has made an error. What do you do?
A. Correct your boss at the presentation because this is a time to get noticed.
B. Mention the error to your boss in private and offer solutions to correct it.
C. Say nothing, someone else will say something and get fired.
Scenario #3: Over the weekend you meet the woman/man of your dreams! You are so excited to see and talk with this new person! You decide you can wait no longer to chat with them and you want to set up a date for that evening.
A. Send them an email or IM during work hours, it can’t wait!
B. Send them a text on your iPhone from your office.
C. Use your iPhone while at lunch at Chipotle to set up your date.
Scenario #4: Your new boss assigns you a task to complete. After you complete it, your boss gives you feedback on your work. This feedback is direct and uncomfortable for you. You don’t feel at all good about this situation. What do you do?
A. Speak to your boss’ supervisor about the issue.
B. Go to Human Resources to complain.
C. Meet privately with your boss and discuss ways in which you like to receive feedback.
Scenario #5: You are working on a new client’s account and notice you made an error in your calculations. You are concerned that mentioning this mistake will create a negative impression with your boss. You decide to not say anything because there is a very small chance anyone will notice. Is this the right move?
Do you have a workplace ethics question of your own? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “workplace ethics.”