WOW! I’m really getting close to release. I have only one more Monday remaining to serve. I look forward to the life I begin leading in just more than one week.
These days at Taft continue to enlighten me, however. We receive new inmates regularly; a few new prisoners arrive each week. I enjoy talking to them, listening and learning their stories so that I can help others more effectively.
Last night, for example., while I was eating a tostada dinner in the chow hall, I sat with Robert, a new prisoner who arrived last week. Robert had been a successful accountant, but trying to appease a valuable client, he says, was what caused him to suffer troubles with the criminal justice system. I know from experience, and from listening to others, that many professionals make similar bad decisions.
It is as if the pursuit of a quick commission clouds our judgment. In Robert’s case, he prepared financial statements that he knew misrepresented his client’s true net worth. The client needed the doctored accounts in order to qualify for an important round of financing. Although Robert said he knew that his misrepresentations could expose him to potential problems, he considered the likelihood so remote that he agreed to falsify the documents. He thought such a decision was necessary in order to preserve the lucrative business relationship with the client.
I look forward to advising other professionals on what I learned during my journey through prison. In my book I offer numerous anecdotes, and I have many more from which I can draw. In Lessons From Prison I urge people to lead value-based lives. It is similar to the 10-10-10- principle that Jack Welch spoke about. He suggested that in making decisions, an individual ought to think about how the decision will influence his life in 10 minutes, 10 months and 10 years. A good decision is one that brings value always. As my friend Robert learned, however, that sometimes requires us to say no to clients who ask us to compromise our ethical values.