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Ethics Scale of Justice Image by Amy Einstein

One’s individual code of ethics is fundamental to their identity as a person and guides all decision making. Ethics formulate one’s sense of judgement, their character and determines just how far a person is willing to go to get what they want. While there are ethical principles that all members of society are held to, individual code of ethics allows people on a personal level to determine what guidelines they govern their life by.

As someone who eventually wants to go on to pursue law school and a career in law, ethics is especially important to me and is something I would say I am hyperaware of in my day-to-day interactions. Synonymous with integrity, my code of ethics outlines how I pursue my coursework, how I interact with my friends, and how I handle difficult situations. A difficult situation in which I relied on my code of ethics to ensure I was handling the situation in a way I felt good about instead of feeling as though I was compromising my integrity, was when I carried out the commitment of my lease agreement despite having relocated. Having signed a 12-month apartment leasing contract with a close friend of mine and despite having also made the decision to move in with my boyfriend (notably also a decision determined by my code of ethics, which look different for individuals, say my parents, who adhere to a different code of ethics), my code of ethics supported my decision to carry out the monthly payments and finish out the lease despite occurring expenses at my new place of living. Ensuring my decision was ethical, as determined by my personal ideas of ethics, my decision-making allowed me to maintain my friendship, which was a priority, while also progressing in my personal relationship and beginning a new stage. My personal code of ethics became very clear to me when it came down to making decisions on ethical issues such as this one.

Ethics is a driving force for many. I recently started working for the cosmetic company LUSH, and a driving factor was their brand message and focus on “ethically sourced ingredients.”More than just a buzz word, this idea of practicing ethically and being able to express that to others is a way in which you get people behind your idea and create a following and community. In a time in which our administration seems to lack an individual code of ethics, I believe it to be the most important to practice ethical decision making. Having a code of ethics, in a way, acts as a moral compass especially for those of us who may not practice organized religion. Because of my clear understanding of my personal code of ethics, I am confident in the decisions I make, the people I encounter and the situations I handle.