Strengths in Action - Navigating my Moral Compass

Emily Haycock - Client Services Project Administrator

The difference between right and wrong is drilled into us from an early age, if you have parents like mine at least. “Don’t touch that…”, “Stop fighting with your sister!” and other such phrases were commonplace within my house. At school, we are taught desirable behaviours like listening, understanding others and we also (hopefully) gain a general social awareness of what is morally acceptable.

So, as you can imagine I was very surprised to find my top learned behaviour is Moral Compass. Learned behaviours are something that we do well but perhaps do not enjoy doing. This then sent me into overdrive thinking “…am I secret psychopath?!” as my awareness of criminal behaviour from A-Level psychology had me questioning the bridge between my rational and irrational brain. As far as I am aware said bridge is still intact.

Maybe it does explain why I used to roll my eyes at my parents when they told me off though…

I then took a step back and thought it through. Firstly, it shows my parents and schooling have obviously had an impact as I learned about having a moral compass well enough for it to be my top learned behaviour. To have a strength in Moral Compass means I am very clear on what I perceive as right and wrong. But then what does it mean that I may not enjoy it? The more I think about it, the more I think perhaps this is because lots of people have a different opinion on what is morally acceptable or unacceptable and how these opinions match with my own personal beliefs is what I sometimes have a hard time understanding as I find it tiring trying to defend my Moral Compass in discussions.

I have always found it interesting to try and understand why people act the way they do, and I think this is partially due to their own Moral Compass. This fascination is why I decided to take a degree in Medieval and Early Modern history as I love learning about why people act the way that they did during their historical period and how the social constraints of morality impacted their lives at the time. For example, the 16th-century Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, who died from holding in his need to urinate (resulting in a burst bladder) at a dinner party because it was perceived to be morally wrong due to the combination of poor sanitation, lack of serving utensils and overwhelmingly important dinner party etiquette.

I think having a strength in Moral Compass can be a good thing as, although I can get stuck in my ways about what is right and wrong, the fact that I don’t perhaps enjoy that means that I am open learn more and grow my Moral Compass as I progress, especially in a workplace, where people have varying morals but a united ethical code of conduct. I can learn at Capp how people with an array of moral opinions can all still maintain a professional ethic whilst using their own varying strengths to excel them in their role. Not everybody is the same or thinks the same and it is understanding what makes you unique and strong that makes you a valuable team member wherever you work.