Personal Code of Ethics

My Ethical Code

Written to me by myself


My name is James Gregg, a student at the University of Denver. I do not have a profession at the time of writing this but I am enrolled as a senior and hope to have a job soon.

I hope this code has an answer for every situation life has to offer but I do not realistically expect this to be true. Also, to maintain the truth behind this document I believe it will need to be updated periodically as my values will change and I will face unpredictable situations. That is why it is a personal code of ethics.

As a disclaimer, I consider myself to follow a more deontological thinker, meaning that my actions are based on their correctness in the moment not the correctness of the results. There are few exceptions where I would consider myself a teleological thinker. There is no defined time to think like this for me, rather a time-based judgment is required. In general, if the distance between the means and the ends is not far and I can guarantee the outcome of the ends to be good then I can justify my actions (I am not sure how to explain it better than that). Oppositely, if the means are more distant from the end and the outcome of the end is more speculative I would not judge that to be an ethical action because you are gambling on whether or not the action will be ethical.

In the end, I will judge by what is right in my heart. I will trust those close to me and build their trust for me. I will not let judgment by others affect my moral compass. Finally, I will know my personal self-image and uphold it.

Note: The reason of whether something is ethical or unethical cannot be used as an excuse. The justification of not performing a task/job or not trusting an opinion by passing it off as unethical must be held to honest standards. It is, in its self, unethical to lie to others and yourself about the ethics of a situation to benefit yourself.

Code of Code of Conduct

My code of ethics is as follows and should be followed with clear judgment.

My beliefs over profession/Scholastics

I will not detach from my ethical beliefs simply because they do no align with the beliefs of my school, job or other organizations. Holding these institutions to the same ethics and trust that I do my friends, my family and myself is of the utmost importance.

Allowing any of these institutions to manipulate or convince me to break my code would be an unethical act by both of us.  If faced by an unprecedented ethical decision, it is my judgment and my consequence alone to deal with. I will not judge others on the consequence of my actions.

Expected reciprocity

This is the golden rule, not the platinum rule (treat others as they wish to be treated) because some expected to be treated above others.

If I can expect to be treated a specific way, then it is only the most ethical decision to treat others in the same way. I do not intent to treat people in lesser ways, even if they are still happy with it. It is my ethical duty to uphold myself to my own standards not for others to do so for me.

No harm to the unknowing

An extension to this is that I may not impede or hinder anyone, regardless of their knowledge of it. If I know that I have harmed them in any way, then it is unethical.


Two employees are up for promotion and the boss brings in individually to give confidential advice on why they should be hired. Either employee could lie or speak badly about the other employee and never face consequence, potentially hurting the other’s chances to get the job. That is not your decision to make, even if the other is doing it to you. You are to treat him/her how you would like to be treated, not how you are being treated.

My Best or nothing

I commit to my best, always. Even if my best is not required by those holding me accountable, it is my job to use every resource possible to complete whatever task it may be. This can apply to daily conversation, minor projects, upholding promises and etc. There is no compromise to this because you would expect the best from others and to not reciprocate that expectation would be, in a way, a lie.

Never perfect

Furthermore, regardless of how hard I try, I must acknowledge that my best can always be better. I must seek improvement in every aspect of myself (to no harm of course). As long as I am always and honestly attempting to improve, then I can be the best version of myself.

Promise and honor

My promises to others hold value, if nowhere else, in my code of ethics. Promises are not limited to what is verbally agreed upon; you must be aware of what you expect of others and what is reasonably expected of you to be able to fulfill all forms of promise. Just because someone breaks their promise means you should break yours.

Respect my peers and their opinions/Do what is best for anyone I effect

Value for others (especially your family/peers) and their opinions is crucial in making ethical decisions. An ethical person is able to set aside their pride and opinions for better and more ethical ones. It would be wrong to think that my opinions are always the best. In fact, to do my best and to improve, input from others is necessary.

Part of respect for others falls under the category of plagiarism. The use of someone else’s work in an unauthorized form or without their permission is unethical.

Final Thoughts

Finally, I would like to reaffirm that I do not know what challenges are ahead in life; family, work and even my last bit of schooling. I acknowledge that I have made unethical decisions in the past and to acknowledge them is the most ethical way of addressing them.

Despite whatever challenges face me in the future; whether they be financial, social, or personal, I promise, most importantly to myself that I will face them with an open and ethical mind. I also promise that any work I produce unethically will go unpublished, unused and thrown away even if it has been done already.