The word test probably makes you remember being in high school or college, studying for a test, sweating over a test, hoping you passed the test. Or maybe you remember your driving test – your moist palms because you wanted to pass it so badly, and how hard it is to drive when you know someone is observing and passing judgement on your driving.
But there are other kinds of tests – tests of character, tests of trustworthiness, test of your ethics. When they happen, you may not realize that you are being tested. You may be unaware that there is a line in the sand and once you cross it, you may not be able to go back. The day you have to stand up and defend yourself, the day that you’ve been told a secret that is so juicy that you almost wish the other person had not told you. The day when you have to make the choice between covering over your very bad mistake or owning up to it, knowing that your job may hang in the balance.
We are told when we are children that we must not lie, cheat or steal. And when you are a child, it is so easy to see the world in black and white, good and bad. But then you become an adult and it is not so clear anymore. It may be as simple as leaving work early, when no one will notice you are gone. It may be a complex as owning up to the mistake that will cost your company millions. Remember when you were a child and whined to your parents – “but everyone is doing it”, and your parents asked you “if everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you do that too?” Too bad it is not that simple once you are an adult. Sometimes it is one step at a time and suddenly you are jumping off the cliff, but you notice that no one else is jumping. Your character, your trustworthiness and your ethics are being tested every day, and if you keep all of that in tact, will you be able to live with the consequences. It could go either way – you keep your job and take a baby step away from what you know is right; or you own the moment and perhaps feel the satisfaction of standing on your principles.
And suddenly, that test you didn’t study for, or the test of your driving ability doesn’t seem so bad, does it?