One of my defining characteristics is that I will always, to a fault, do what I think is the right thing. Sometimes this puts me into positions which are disadvantageous for my (short-term) success. Sometimes it’s hard. Oftentimes it leads to more work on my end.
I just can’t help it.
Mark Twain used to say:
“Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”
I believe this to be of fundamental truth. Life, careers and successes are a long game — you are in this for the long run. Once you truly grok that careers are built over decades, taking shortcuts just makes no sense anymore. Doing the right thing; the thing you truly believe in, the thing which is aligned with your believes and values, becomes the only way forward — even if it comes at a short-term cost.
Pretty much at every job I ever did I told my boss that “I want to get fired for doing the right thing.” It never happened.
In the long-run people respect you much more for doing what’s right instead of doing what’s opportunistic.
P.S. Talking of which — My wife Jane and I run a non-profit “The Coaching Fellowship”, which brings pro-bono executive coaching to young women who are positively impacting the world. We just opened applications for our next cohort — it would be awesome if you could spread the word (and apply!).