A very simple, yet often overlooked rule of thumb is ‘do not cross the street when the DO NOT WALK sign is blaring red, and the traffic light is green’.
Granted, you may be headed to a job interview and cannot afford to be late. Or you’re already late and can’t afford to be another 30 seconds late-er. Not granted, however, is disrupting the flow of traffic and making someone else late too.
When it comes to life or career, we all want to get ahead. And in many cases, most of us have used less than noble ways to further our own bottom lines.
- Cooking the books to boost quarterly revenues
- Adultery in relationships to kill your boredom
- Causing a tantrum in the grocery store to get that chocolate bar when you were younger
We call this phenomena ‘the end justifying the means’. The most common folklore about this notion is presented in Robin Hood. ‘Steal from the rich and give to the poor’ he championed. In many ways, this approach can be selfish and result in hurting people both directly or indirectly.
- The entire company’s reputation is tarnished (See Wells Fargo),
- Your kids have to grow up in a broken home
- Your parents have to deal with other self-righteous parent-shamers in the grocery store.
What’s worse is that taken a step further, the consequences easily come back to you.
1.You get arrested for embezzling,
2.you get a divorce
3. You get a spanking when you get home.
So does the end ever justify the means? Of course! There is no harm done when actions benefit both you and others. Order a water at a restaurant just so you can use the bathroom? Fine. Take the trash out so you can get a break from the screaming toddlers in the house? Great! Because everyone wins.
So yes, Robin hood may have been a proponent for the poor. And that’s fine. But well-meaning does not necessarily mean that the means are justified. (Synonym level 1000).
Maybe create jobs for the poor, Sir Robin of Locksley, that would have achieved the same bottom line. Suffice to say I do not think Robin Hood was a hero.
I strongly believe in the reverse, that the means should and do justify the end. Wouldn’t one feel so much better about a degree they worked 3 jobs to pay for, rather than if they sold illegal drugs to achieve the same?
Besides, what does it count if you eventually get to the interview and the interviewer is late? All because someone stopped traffic crossing the road at a DO NOT WALK sign.
Congratulations, you played yourself.