Finding balance between honesty and etiquette
There seems to be a conflict going on in my wee brain between honesty and business etiquette; I have some pretty solid business ethics, which generally results in my making less money than I could whilst maintaining my integrity, so I'm cool with that. The conflict, however, is playing out in the area where etiquette, integrity and honesty meet, or don't for that matter.
I find life much easier when folk are honest. It makes everything so straightforward. If I screw up, I own up. If I'm unable to fulfil a commitment for whatever reason, I let the folk it affects know as soon as possible and bear the burden of responsibility if required. I don't pass the proverbial buck and I'm pretty honest. And there it is. "Pretty". You see. I can't say "Always" and therein lies my conundrum.
I have recently had the "Pretty" reduced to a "Somewhat" and I've found this quite tricky. I've been doing some pro bono work for a lovely charity, but, but, but..... the trouble is that although the charity is indeed lovely, have honourable intentions and do plenty of great things, there are a few people working there who are not quite so well intended. Egos are everywhere, power games and politics are rife and all of this nonsense is impeding progress. So much so that the organisation is imploding; there's constant infighting and a distinct lack of focus.
And for a time, I just stood by and watched it play out, doing what I could to improve things and respecting that it was not my place to engage with the goings on. However, it was at this exact point that I became immobile. I couldn't move forward because of all of the obstacles, I didn't want to walk away because I had committed to the work and all I really wanted to do was offer my advice, gently, honestly and compassionately, but my inbuilt business etiquette handbook indicated clearly that this was a no go. And so I persevered. And boy did it ever test my patience.
I tried to not let it get to me and I managed to keep it at bay, but all I was doing was delaying the inevitable. When I finally had enough, I had to decide how to untangle myself from the mess. I could have just walked away and said nothing, making some feeble excuse, but this didn't feel right. I could have flipped my lid and allowed my thoughts to spew, but that's not my style. So, I did the unpopular thing; I said that it wasn't working out for me, that our working practices differed in such a way that I was finding it difficult to engage. I didn't criticise them, but they took it as criticism. I didn't speak ill of anyone, but they did, blaming everyone else and everything else for their circumstances, including me. And so, I walked away, with integrity in tact, but still trying to find that elusive balance.