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Won't Engage in Unethical Behavior Nor Will I Be Bought

After presenting a grant proposal written by my boss to the Council of Governments (COG, a County Judge asked me, “So why is it that your proposal is a verbatim copy of Canutillo’s proposal?” I almost died of embarrassment. The only response I could muster was, “I can’t answer your question as I didn’t work on this proposal, I was just asked to present it.”

The other members of the COG had no reaction except one who stated, “As long as we secure funding for our area, that’s all that matters.” The COG employee was quick to add that since our organization was working with the same partners as Canutillo, it would only be logical that the proposal would be similar.

To top it off I was walking out the door with the representative from Canutillo who had witnessed the entire embarrassing episode. She was kind enough not to bring the issue up as she made small talk with me. As soon as I got into my car, I called one of the higher ups and left him a message about the episode. He never returned my call.

While in the office, my boss called me asking me how it went. I shared the episode with her and she simply exclaimed “What business is it of hers to ask you that? It’s not like she’s funding the proposal!” No apology, no nothing. At that moment I knew that I had to resign for I would be guilty by association and my name would be trashed. I submitted my resignation the following day.

Immediately after, the Associate Superintendent called me to her office offering me an upgrade to my position if I didn’t quit. I told her my resignation had to do with standing by my values and ethics and not money…something she didn’t understand.

The two weeks that I was there, my boss harassed me trying to get me to change the date of my resignation letter in an attempt mark me as “do not hire” candidate for not giving a two week notice. I ignored her so she engaged H.R. in her attempt. My knowledge of the employee handbook surprised them as I challenged their attacks. Putting the head of H.R. in her place cost me $5K, but it was worth every penny to walk out of there unbroken and with my values and ethics standing strong.


zoneziwoh's picture

You are a Mentor to many women

Dear Mary, this is a good principle (value) to live with. I admire your engagement to what you believe in and how nobody despite the social status can make you live against your value.

You are the kind of leaders the world needs, people who can speak freely without fear of losing their wealth, treasure etc. I admire your hard. You inspire me a lot. Keep up

Many thanks

Stay Blessed



Facebook:Zoneziwoh Mbondgulo Wondieh

Twitter | Instagram: @ZoFem

Mary Carter's picture


Thanks for the compliment Zoneziwoh. I only do what I believe is best for once we let go of our values and ethics what do we have left? If we accept to be bought and give up our values and ethics, we give up our rights and our soul. No price tag in the world is worth losing yourself over it. Money comes and goes...your values and ethics are forever...

Much Love,


I really do think that values and ethics are under appreciated especially today in the American workplace. These are the characteristics we should recognize as noteworthy! I applaud yours.


Mary Carter's picture

You are so right!


You are so right about values and ethics being under appreciated in today's American workplace. People seem so concentrated on making money and are selling their souls so cheaply. Thank you for your kind words.


sallysmithr's picture


I could only imagine the embarrasment that you experienced. I think that what you did was amazing and many people can be bullied, but you wouldn't stand for it and as you mentioned that is priceless! Keep standing up for your values!

Thanks so much for sharing.

Sally Smith

Mary Carter's picture



It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life, I was praying for the ground to swallow me whole and the minutes between the question and my response was an eternity for me. Even as I got to my car and sat there making the call, I was still shaken by the incident. The worst part of it all was the response and lack of response for the incident. It was like if it was the norm... And these are the people in charge of the education of our children

Thanks for the support, it really means a lot me.


ccontreras's picture

You are an example to follow!

Hi Mary,
I enjoyed reading your story so much because I have gone through situations at my work where my ethics and values have been put to the test. I do commend you for standing up for your beliefs and even though you had a monetary loss you still kept the most valuable thing, your dignity! :-) You are an amazing example to many of us!

"I embrace emerging experience. I am a butterfly. Not a butterfly collector." - Stafford

Mary Carter's picture

I commend you


Thank you for your kind words. I definitely have to commend YOU for your strength in standing up to the challenge of having your ethics and values tested. From your note, I perceive you have "finished strong." I congratulate you for standing up for what you believe in because this day in age it's a rare thing. So welcome to my club...

Stay strong,


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