The Definition of Integrity

By Stacey Wood, CTS | Manufacturing Recruiter

Integrity is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “the quality or state of being complete or undivided”.  I have always loved this word and admire the people I meet that have integrity.  They tend to be some of the happiest individuals I know, despite their own challenging circumstances.  It seems to me that the more folks I encounter, the fewer that have this fundamental quality and I find it a tragic loss.

When I was a child, I was certain that life simply would not be worth living if I did not become one of the following:  a professional wildlife photographer, a highly successfully attorney, or a world-renowned rock star.  I was fully confident that with a little luck and a lot of effort I could achieve any of those goals.  Moreover, I was certain if I didn’t, life would be miserable and incomplete.

As a recruiter, I interview several job seekers on a daily basis.  The first thing most ask about is the pay rate of any given opportunity.  Most are completely dissatisfied when they are given the pay range for the positions that they are qualified to secure.  This is readily reflected in their attitude and demeanor.  When I ask, “What would you like to do…?” or  “what companies are you interested in working for at this time?”  The answer I typically receive is, “I don’t care.  I just want a job.”  If he/she does not care, why should I, or a potential employer for that matter?  I attribute this poor attitude to a strong lack of integrity.  I can completely understand that in this economy, there is a sense of desperation & many of the people I see simply want a job.  But, I urge people not to forget who they are.

I am compelled to offer this advice:  Use this time in your lives to identify what is truly important to you.  What are you passionate about other than your pay check?  While I certainly recognize everyone needs to make a living, I must be honest.  It is quite likely that many people’s earnings may take a significant hit in this economy.  Thus, I encourage those seeking new roles to ask yourselves what other aspects of employment do you consider valuable?  Are you interested in learning new things?  Are you able and willing to multi-task?  Would you consider travelling?  Do you like to work in a fast paced environment?  Do you prefer a large, established organization or a smaller, growing company where you can contribute your skills?

Finally, a positive attitude goes a long way.  Ask yourself, “how do I identify myself other than my title or profession?” because make no mistake, those may change—–often.  An individual is many things: a good father/mother, a grandparent, an engaging writer, a discerning reader, an active gardener, a volunteer, an amazing cook, a swimmer, etc…etc….  Are you engaging in some of the activities you enjoy while searching for a new position?  Are you also focusing on building the relationships you value that may have been neglected while working in your previous job?  These are integral parts of one’s life and help to form character.  These aspects are fundamental and contribute greatly to a positive attitude.  That attitude will accompany you throughout your lifetime.

I never did become a wildlife photographer.  In fact, the thought of lying still among all those bugs in the late day African sun waiting for the perfect shot sounds more like torture than a goal now.  However, I still take photos in my free time and occasionally use this skill in my career as well.  I never became an attorney, however, I assure you my debate and research skills are sharp and used in both my professional and personal life.  Finally, I never became a rock star.  Frankly, if you heard my voice you’d know why.  However, several of my friends are musicians and I have had the pleasure watching them write, perform, and record in studios locally and nationwide. Thus, I have successfully integrated my goals into several areas thereby enriching my life.  These diverse interests and passions have allowed me to live a life that is rich and complete, regardless of the salary I earn or the position I hold.  They are part of my integrity: part of my completeness.  Don’t lose sight of yours.

Stacey Wood can be reached at

Scroll to Top