There will come times in life and career ahead when you have to choose between integrity and more short-term temptations. You will be the press secretary who is asked to lie to the press; you will be the regulator asked to approve the drilling with the Mickey Mouse safety plan; you will be the artist commissioned to make what you suspect is propaganda; the engineer pressed to use the cheaper, unsafe welds; the job applicant asked to cross the picket line; the research scientist expected to round to the nearest publishable conclusion; the spouse tempted to cheat; the physician tempted to schill; the staff sergeant asked to keep quiet; the politician confronted with the focus group that proves how well appeals to racism poll in your district; the pundit offered the talking point; the procurement officer offered the kickback.
In the short term it’s always crystal clear what advances you further, what makes you famous, what gets you your boss’ job, what gets you elected, what gets you rich.
In the end, though, blood will out.
History has a way of not remembering that some of those Iraq War press secretaries had real talent in the White House press room; or that BP and Trans-Ocean had a real talent for drilling down to find oil deeper than anyone else.
When given the choice between fame and glory, take glory. Glory has a way of sneaking up on fame and stealing its lunch money later anyway.
Life might very well be long, keep your eye on the horizon and live in a way that you will be proud of. You will sleep more. You’ll be a better partner. You’ll be a better mom. You’ll be a better friend. You’ll be a better boss, and you will not have to remember any complicated lies to brag about at the old age home because you can brag about the truth of your well-lived life.” —
2010 Smith College Commencement Address