It’s early winter morning here in Dubai. My alarm finally gives up on me as I endlessly hit down the snooze button and crib into the sodomy of my warm bed. Of course, it’s another day at work and no matter how many excuses and pledges my heart wants to make in order to avoid work, there is hardly anything that can salvage me from this morning frenzy. I frisk around looking for my cell phone and pull the covers from my head. As I squint through the Twitter timeline, all I see is people ranting about how their “agency life” and work places.
I don’t blame people for doing what they’re doing. It’s not their fault. Perhaps, each one of us was programmed that way. Contrary to what makes us happy, each one of us is thoroughly convinced on trodding ourselves on the path to happiness.
It comes down to this: only people can have ethics. Ethics, as in, doing the right thing for the community even though it might not benefit you or your company financially. Pointing to the numbers (or to the boss) is an easy refuge for someone who would like to duck the issue, but the fork in the road is really clear. You either do work you are proud of, or you work to make the maximum amount of money. (It would be nice if those overlapped every time, but they rarely do).
I worry that we absolve ourselves of responsibility when we talk about business ethics and corporate social responsibility. Corporations are collections of people, and we ought to insist that those people (that would be us) do the right thing. Business is too powerful for us to leave our humanity at the door of the office. It’s not business, it’s personal.