Why do we plunge into career situations in which we’re unlikely to excel or feel good about ourselves?

…Of course, the choice isn’t always between absolute right and wrong. Often the litmus test can be much subtler, such as making the distinction between sticking to the golden rule or bending the rule. The net result is that many of us take the plunge and go along with the ruse or silently comply with what’s expected.

And then, naturally, we try to forget all about it. We dismiss it as the price of “getting things done” and push it into a dark corner of our memory bank. But inevitably the subject lingers, demanding an answer. Within mere hours or days we begin to ask ourselves, “Did I abandon my moral compass in favor of expediency?”

Or the even more unsettling question: “Am I allowing my personal belief system to be co-opted by others? Am I staying true to who I really am?”

The truth is that virtually all of us sacrifice some measurable degree of who we are at heart and even our inborn honesty in the course of doing our jobs. Because it typically happens over a long period of time and in gradual stages. I call the process “integrity erosion.”

“Not me,” you say? Just ask yourself: How different are you today from the fresh-faced graduate and business rookie you were just out of the starting blocks? Are you still an idealistic young maverick, or have you changed into someone you may not have recognized in your youth?read on

A thought-provoking piece by Karen Duncum for Bloomberg Businessweek.com

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