Having a job teaches you a lot about yourself, from the type of employee you are to the kind of people with whom you best interact. Dealing with colleagues, clients and demanding bosses is also a test of strength. How long can you listen to a co-worker prattle on about his daily commute before you scream?
Perhaps most unexpected is how often you find your moral guidelines tested. Quandaries both small and large pop up every day and make you ask yourself, "What do I want to do? And what should I do?"
To prepare you for these ethical dilemmas, we've put together this quiz. Answer these 10 questions to see how ethical you are at work.
You just printed a 200-page document that used all the paper in the printer.
A. You refill the paper tray immediately.
B. You casually mention that the machine's out of paper to people around you so they know to refill it before they hit print.
C. Eh, they'll figure it out eventually.
Your boss hands you a stack of papers that accidentally includes confidential personnel files.
A. Immediately return the files to the boss once you recognize the mistake.
B. Search through the pages just to find your own file.
C. Read everyone's files.
You're running late because you got a little too happy at last night's happy hour.
A. You call ahead to warn your team you'll be late so they're not further inconvenienced by your tardiness.
B. You show up late and hope no one notices.
C. You show up late and blame a horrible (imaginary) car wreck that caused traffic to back up for miles.
You haven't had a vacation day in months and realize you'd like to take tomorrow off.
A. Tell your boss you need to use a vacation day to unwind and recharge.
B. Start coughing and mention you feel bad so that you've built a convincing reason to call in sick.
C. Wait until the morning when you know the boss hasn't arrived. Leave a message saying an emergency's come up and you can't make it in today.
In the middle of the most boring business meeting, you realize you could be more productive (or less bored) if you were at your desk instead.
A. Grin and bear it because it would be rude to leave.B. Pretend to have received an urgent call or e-mail and go back to your desk to work.
C. Pretend to visit the restroom but go back to your desk and update your Facebook.
You find out your cubicle neighbor is having a secret affair with the intern in accounting.
A. You pretend you know nothing about it.
B. You tell your closest work friends because you know they won't tell anyone.
C. You tell anyone who will listen.
You just accepted a job offer at a new company. It begins in a month, so you're going to wait two weeks to give your notice. The next day the boss comes in and explains how he wants to restructure the department and your role is pivotal.
A. To prevent his plans from going awry, you decide to tell him now that you're leaving in a month.
B. You go along with his plans for now, but still give your two weeks' notice so that he receives ample warning time and you aren't let go a month before your new job starts.
C. You wait until your last day to tell him that you're gone and it was nice knowing him.
You know the boss is in a terrible mood. You also know your co-worker is about to go ask the boss for a ridiculously large raise.
A. You quietly warn your colleague that the boss is probably going to throw scissors at him if he goes in there today.
B. You mind your own business because you don't want to get involved.
C. You don't mention the boss' bad mood and instead get your colleague fired up and encourage him to triple the salary request.
It's 3 p.m. the day before Thanksgiving and everyone is on vacation. The phone hasn't rung once and no e-mails have come in.
A. You stay at your desk until 5 p.m. because it's your job.
B. You wait 30 more minutes to make sure nothing comes up, and then you leave.
C. Ha! You've been gone since noon.
The boss loves the ideas you pitched to everyone and can't stop showering you with accolades. The problem is, the ideas were a joint effort between you and your colleague.
A. You say, "Thanks, but I didn't work alone. Sheila worked just as hard as I did."
B. You take the praise, and eventually tell Sheila what happened and that you didn't know how to tell the boss.
C. You accept the accolades and try to get Sheila fired before she finds out you've stolen the spotlight.
If you scored:
All A's -- You're the poster child for ethics.
We should all be as pure as you. As long as you're not gloating about your ethical infallibility, you serve as a great role model for those around you.
Mostly A's -- You're not perfect, but you're still a role model.
No one's perfect, so you shouldn't feel too bad. Every now and then you stray, so just listen to the little voice that tells you to do the right thing most of the time a little more often.
Mostly B's -- You've forgotten a few things your parents taught you.
You could do worse -- much, much worse -- but you still stray from the right decision now and then. Just think twice before you make a few decisions and you'll be good to go.
Mostly C's -- You're far from perfect but could be worse.
OK, sometimes you teeter close the edge of unethical and might be damaging your career. You can still redeem yourself now and then. With a little hard work, you can probably perform some damage control and get on the right track.
All C's -- You'd steal candy from a baby. And laugh about it.
Let's be honest, your reputation is probably not so great. In fact, people probably check their wallets once you've left to make sure nothing's stolen. Now's the time to decide if you want to start fresh with strong relationships and a better reputation.Anthony Balderrama is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. He researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/abalderrama.
Permission must be obtained from CareerBuilder.com to reprint any of its articles. Please send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.