ethically speaking

i am employed by the federal government. (keep your groans – or your jokes about your tax dollars – to yourself. it’s a job, okay. and i’m thankful to have one.)

i’m sure that all employers have a set of ethical guidelines that all employees are expected to abide by. i don’t know if the ethical guidelines/restrictions for federal employees are unique. i suspect that they are to some degree.

as a federal employee, i cannot use my government equipment for day trading. i bet you didn’t know that.

i cannot show support for one candidate or party or another at work. not surprising. after all, i work for the executive branch and therefore work for whoever is president at the time. whether i like the guy or not and want someone else doesn’t matter. and can’t be aired at work. of course, it’s not to protect the name of the current leaders that we aren’t allowed to put up political signs. even if i want to show support for obama, i can’t.

i cannot get paid to speak at an event if i, as speaker, will be billed as representing the federal government. phew.

i cannot use my government charge card to purchase a laptop that i plan to give my child as a graduation present. good thing i don’t have kids that age (or any at all) because i never would have guessed that.

i cannot accept a gift over $20 in value from a “prohibited source.” accepting an invitation to a holiday party, open house, or reception would be considered accepting a gift unless the party is open to the public.

and so on.

we must complete ethics training every year. the year is dying quickly, and as of today, i still hadn’t completed my ethics training.

i had a big presentation today and decided that this afternoon, after the presentation was over, would be well spent making myself ethical.

my department put together a cute little playbill with various skits in act I and act II to provide amusement present difficult ethical dilemmas employees might face. of course, the videos also provide solutions to said dilemmas.

i do not speak about the videos because i watched them. the firewalls/security on our network is such that the videos were considred suspect and therefore would not play on my computer. the link to the transcript of the skits was downloadable, however. lucky me.

but i should rewind. before i even got around to attempting to watch the videos/read the transcripts, i inadvertantly (true story) clicked on the link to the quiz on ethics that one takes (typically) after watching the videos and reading some supplementary material.

in order to pass the test and get the certificate signifying my completion of the ethical training, i needed to score a 70%. the test being 6 questions, i could only miss one.

since i’m quite the risktaker, i decided to go ahead and take the quiz. just to see how i’d do.

here’s a sample question. do you know the answer? (remember, this has to do with ethics.)

question 5 – A WAG is a?
A. Widely Attended Gathering
B. Wheat Acquisition Gatherer
C. Weight Adjuster Gizmo
D. Wildfire Advocacy Group
E. Westlake Astronomy Genius

the very last question was the trickiest. it asked me to certify that i had watched the video skits and read the supplemental material. seeing as i’m an honest person, i answered honestly. no, i had not done that.

then i submitted my answers for scoring.

turns out that “no” is the incorrect answer to question 6. i got an 83% on my test. not the 100% i was hoping for. too bad.

but wait. i only had to get a 70%. does this actually mean i just got credit for completing the annual ethics training requirement and have been allowed to print a certificate of completion?

why yes. yes, it does.

doesn’t seem right given the circumstance, does it? go figure.

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