Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What Integrity Means To Me

"No man can purchase his virtue too dear, for it is the only thing whose value must ever increase with the price it has cost us. Our integrity is never worth so much as when we have parted with our all to keep it." ~ Charles Caleb Colton

Last night I received a call from a man who was returning a call I made to his company in answer to classified ad for a position as a loan officer at his company. He asked me to send him an e-mail with my resume attached and a "letter of integrity" .

Now, never have I been asked for a letter of integrity and I confessed to him that I wasn't exactly sure what he meant by that term. He said all he wanted was a few short paragraphs explaining what the word, "Integrity" means to me.

I slept on it, not because I am desperate to be a loan officer, but because integrity is not as simple a concept as one may think. So, I slept on it and pondered what I would write. After some time, I at last sat down to write out my thoughts on integrity. The following is the entire content of my letter minus the sign off:


You asked me to write a few short paragraphs explaining what integrity means to me.

To begin with, Webster's Dictionary defines integrity as adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

While these definitions are indeed true, I think it is more than that. It is not a personal preference. It is instead a way of life, a world view. After all, what are morals? What is considered moral by one man may not be considered the same by another.

I do not believe that morals are transient. I believe they are set in stone. And I believe they were set in stone by the Creator of the Universe. Who are we to modify those rules to fit our own selfish world view?

I may be old fashioned in many ways, but my father taught me that our first moral obligation is to God, others, and yourself, in that order. I believe that. We are to behave in a way that is approved by God first and others second. After all, God is the ultimate moral authority, is He not? If we comport ourselves in that way, we must certainly be approved by ourselves.

Integrity in it's simplest form is embodied in what we call "The Golden Rule" . I paraphrase it thusly:

Treat other people the way that you would want to be treated yourself.

Attached is my resume per your request. If I decide to accept your offer of employment, you will be delighted with my performance.


Dan Trabue said...

Nice letter - excellent definition.

D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

Great last sentence.

I like the "golden rule" paraphrase, as well.

Heck, if I were a sister-killing, supporter of islamist terrorism who found pleasure in hanging fags, I'd expect people to blow me off the face of the map!

Marshall Art said...

Very well done. I'd hire ya. (Couldn't pay ya nothin' though)

Gayle said...

I would be very impressed with that letter Mark, and I am! I hope that you get the job.

Old Soldier said...

Mark, excellent letter. Be sure to let us know the results.

Timothy said...

Hi Mark,
Good post. I hope you get the job if you want it. I like the way your site looks. I'm glad we can change it from time to time. But I'm still not ready to shift to the new blogger formats... feel like it is limiting.

Gayle said...

Off topic, Mark, but as you mentioned my link on your sidebar over at MRB, I came over to see. LOL! Thanks for clarifying that I'm not Hillary! :)

Dakotaranger said...

That may be one of the finest explanations of integraty I've ever read

Mark said...

Thank you all for your kind words. So far, the man from the loan company seems unimpressed. Oh well, I know nothing about that kind of work anyway, but the ad said experience not required, will train. He will probably find someone more qualified, but nothing ventured nothing gained, right?

Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Extremely well said!!

I agree with Timothy that I like the new template better.

Lone Ranger said...

One attribute of integrity is that it's the only thing you have that can't be taken from you. Others can take your money, your possessions, your spirit, your pride, even your life. But integrity must be sold. And once one has sold it, it's impossible to get back.