There is probably no place on Earth that did not value integrity. It serves as a compass to many people as they go through a lot of experiences in life. It also becomes a basis of how competent and trustworthy you are as a person. Because of that, I advocate teaching about it more to children throughout the United States.
As a therapist, I had seen the effect of this honesty and lack of moral uprightness in people one too many times. Some families developed a permanent rift among themselves since they could no longer believe what their relatives said. Others drowned in misery as they could not find a way out of their lies. If you’ve ever asked why not, the typical reply you would hear was, “No one taught me about integrity.” That’s what I wanted to change.
When I got my Ph.D. and license, I did not have my own clinic at first. Instead, I worked for a prominent mental health facility catered to children with psychological and neurological disabilities. Since I showed dedication and integrity at what I do, I received a promotion within seven months of working there.
The administration assigned me to supervise and train new therapists on the processes that we follow in the facility. It was not the most straightforward task because you had no idea how these adults would react upon knowing that someone their age – or sometimes younger – would lead them. Some were cool with it, but of course, others were a little less inclined to do as I asked.
Still, I did not let the naysayers faze me; I tried to do my job very well. I mostly did not have problems until I came across a young professional who tested my ability to stay calm.
Dealing With Someone Who Lacked Integrity
Whenever I trained people, a series of written tests were often included in the beginning. Some had multiple choices; others were in essay forms. They all took place online so that the professionals could answer everything at their own pace.
One of the trainees I met was Joanna. Upon meeting her for the first time, I noticed her bubbliness and grace. She introduced herself as a former flight attendant, which I thought was cool. We need a people person like her in the facility.
Then, I asked how Joanna learned about the job. She said, “Oh, my boyfriend is one of the nurses here. In truth, he encouraged me to send my application here. But I must tell you, if given a chance, I would like to go back to working at the airline.”
I did not know what to reply to that immediately. Based on those words, it became evident that Joanna was not too serious about becoming a therapist here or anywhere. She was only doing it for the money, and I was worried about that, but I went on to give her the questionnaires.
Two days later, Joanna informed me that her papers were in my email. I opened the multiple-choice tests first, and she passed. That was an excellent sign, of course. However, as I checked her essays, I realized something: her sentence structure was similar to mine.
I had no idea what made me do it, but I pulled up my old essays from the admin file and cross-checked it with Joanna’s essays. They were almost identical. She only changed several words, but it was all mine. I even showed the papers to my bosses, and they were surprised as they confirmed what I saw.
My body was shaking when I discussed the situation with my bosses. I was both mad and shocked at Joanna’s audacity to copy my essays. And how did she get ahold of them? I did not doubt that his boyfriend took them for her.
When I confronted Joanna, she put on a tough façade and told me she spent all night writing everything. I hate liars as cheaters, so I showed her my work and informed her that I knew what she did. She tried to make excuses, but they were too lame and too obvious. The bosses ended up firing her and her boyfriend due to a lack of integrity.
Do you see why integrity matters? Having integrity allows you to earn the respect of the people around you. It makes you likable and valuable in their eyes. No matter what happens, you know that they have your back.
Without integrity, it will be almost impossible for people to trust you. They already know your character; they will often doubt you. Thus, when things go crazy, it will not be challenging for them to push you away.
The latter happened to Joanna and her man. They tried to cheat her way into the company and did not think someone could see through their deception. Too bad for them, I saw it. If only they were honest, they would still be employed in the facility.