I recently heard a story about an associate of mine that worked in my industry. Due to circumstances that I am unaware of, this person decided to go against specific regulations in our industry and has landed in a correctional facility with lengthy jail time as a result. I would never have seen this coming for this person. As I learned this story I had one of my core principles reaffirmed to me:
“Never compromise your values.”
In any industry, there are specific rules and regulations companies must abide by to remain in compliance and out of trouble. For the data industry, data providers are not allowed to share or even house certain kinds of data. These rules and regulations are often the results of measures taken to protect the consumer from scams, predatory practices, or fraud. Unfortunately, breaking these rules and regulations can often be lucrative for businesses.
Several years ago an employee of mine received a series of phone calls from the same person requesting that we sell them social security numbers of people. After several phone calls of getting nowhere with my employee (because we don’t have social security numbers and would never sell them if we did), the person then asked who would sell them the information. After my employee brought this to me, I decided I needed to intervene. The person on the phone began offering large sums of money for information, much more than our standard rates for data. But that didn’t matter. I had decided long before this moment that I would not compromise my values to make a buck. I told this individual off and warned that if I heard of a business engaging in such practices, that I would report them to the authorities. We never heard from the individual again.
As you progress along your professional journey, there will be opportunities for you get ahead or profit in an unsavory manner. What is your integrity worth? The answer should be, “everything.” Make the decision today to never compromise your values and to always act in a legal, respectable, and honorable way. By making that decision today, it will be much easier to walk away from a bad situation later.