I mainly live by three rules; loyalty, trustworthiness, and honesty. In pretty much that order, because I really believe they need to be ranked.

Loyalty is absolute. If I'm loyal to you, I expect loyalty back. It doesn't matter if we're talking business or personal life. I have friends who have been my friend for over 30 years, even if we only talk every couple of years or so. I would be there if they needed me, and they'd be here if I needed them; that's what loyalty is all about.

Trustworthiness is the next in line. I don't even trust anyone until they've shown me trust. However, I always try to trust first, then wait to see if it's been justified. I do tend to go by my senses, though, so if I'm reading a situation and my body is sending me signals, I listen to them; I trust my feelings because I've known them a very long time.

Honesty is my final major conviction, but I know it's not as absolute as the first two. I won't be brutally honest with anyone who doesn't deserve that; honesty doesn't have to be mean and nasty. I will withhold information if I don't feel it will benefit anyone. I won't lie to anyone, though, and I won't break a promise. I rarely make promises, therefore I don't have to break any. I also won't openly lie; who can remember all those lies anyway? But I will stay silent if I need to; in business, sometimes you have to stay silent, such as if you're in management and you know layoffs are coming, and the directive from above is not to tell anyone anything.

Of course, I have more convictions than that. One in particular which every once in awhile precludes my getting a contract with another company to provide services for, or with, them. I have a conviction of my right to privacy. Not absolute privacy, obviously, as I divulge a lot of information about myself on my blogs and in my newsletters. My right to privacy concerns companies that want me to take drug tests and allow them to review a credit report. Nope, that's just not happening with me; never has, never will.

Once again, this isn't as absolute as my first two. For instance, if I were going to be handling money for someone, I can see their wanting to look at a credit report. That makes absolute sense. And, if I was going to be working directly with patients in a medical capacity, I could see taking a drug test. Again, that makes absolute sense.

However, as a businessman, that makes no sense at all. As a subcontractor, that makes no sense. As someone with a business license, incorporated no less, that makes no sense. A conversation I was having with someone on it last week was interesting. I asked him if I contracted with him would he provide me with a drug test and a credit report on him? He said no because he was a representative of his company, not a direct report, to which I replied so was I. Goodness, in these financial times, I'm the one who should be more worried as to whether or not some company has the financial wherewithal to pay me.

Still, when all was said and done, he, and his representative, both had to say that they understood my standing by my convictions. Luckily, my wife and most of my friends do also. I've always been a person of my convictions, sometimes to my detriment. My loyalty has probably cost me a couple of careers, but it's also taught me some lessons about people and business.

The truth is that, unless you're a one man operation, there isn't a single company that has any loyalty to anyone. A company will lay you off at a moment's notice if they're in trouble. They will keep an employee in a position until Friday afternoon then let them go, when they knew on Monday they weren't retaining you. They will sign you up for insurance, only to change the terms of that insurance within six months. They will bring you into the company on the promise of training and an increase in salary in 3 or 4 months, then act like they have no idea where you got that from when the time comes. And yet, they wonder why employees don't trust them, and what keeps unions in the picture; please.

And where there's no loyalty, there can't be any trustworthiness, and thus honesty goes out the window as well. You see why I say that my number one conviction is loyalty? Now, how strong are your convictions? What won't you, what will you do, and for what reason? If you've ever thought about it, share if you'd like.

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