Blowing the whistle

I did something this morning which may well get me into trouble, but is the right thing to do.

As I reported the other day, I’ve been at odds with certain sections and individuals in the business regarding what I believe to be unethical practices. Basically they are misrepresenting figures during the sales process to seal the deal. Formerly it could be argued it was the result of incompetence, but once I had exposed the flaws to then go on with it can only be wilful dishonesty.

That explains why basically I have been threatened after I persisted with my representations.

Forget the morality for a moment, there are strong business reasons to correct this. It may result in a small dip in sales, but it eliminates the risk of legal action, and the customers we have will be much happier and more likely to recommend us or extend their custom. And it should result in reduced handling times.

Regardless of that, it’s the right thing to do, and I must confess I was pretty surprised at how blasé about some people are – almost as if the rights and wrongs of it are irrelevant.

I went home Wednesday seething about the whole situation, and knowing I couldn’t let it go. My integrity wouldn’t allow that. And of course, once they threatened me I had no other option but to defy them.

This morning I had a quiet conversation with the Manager of our division. We get on well and he’s a good guy. I’d spoken to him about this at the outset, but in the conversations he was circumvented by my manager and sales. I updated him on the situation and outlined my reservations, from a legal, operational and moral perspective. I’m happy to agree that he agreed entirely, and he’ll be taking it to his manager, one of the directors.

I believe that as an organisation they have been happy to turn a blind eye to such conduct. I don’t know if they can do that now once it has been put to them formally.

Potentially this will make me very unpopular. I’m basically a whistle-blower. I’ve gone above my manager and likely to have put her in a tricky spot. She won’t thank me for that. On top of that the ethics of the sales team will be called into question, and potentially they’ll be faced with a humiliating back down. I may end up unofficially banned.

That’s assuming something is done about it. I don’t expect to do any particular kudos – I’m only doing my job. If something does happen then I’ll ride the backlash – and, who knows, I may even enjoy it. I’m funny like that.

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