When is doing the Right Thing the Wrong Thing?

Here's the story: She's a recent MBA graduate working as a corporate sustainability consultant. He's a roaming eco-warrior dodging bullets from rhino poachers in Africa and pursuing illegal loggers in the Amazon. Whose job is more treacherous?

To find out, sneak a peek at her front-line communiqués, which have mysteriously fallen into the hands of Context America President Peter T. Knight, who has decided to share them with us. Can our earnest heroine survive in the corporate jungle with her career -- and ideals -- intact? Follow her adventures below — and read her previous missives here.

Hey Jeff!

You always try to do the Right Thing, right? That’s what drives you on in the jungles and the deserts, right? Doing as your mom taught you, always to do the Right Thing.

I suppose I shouldn’t be so naïve when it comes to business, but I’ve discovered that the captains of industry also like to do the Right Thing. (It’s always guys, Jeff -- all the waffle about promoting diversity is just waffle with extra syrup).

I’m writing you from Beijing. This is my first international travel with the Boss (he flew up front) and we’re here to help this car maker get access to the U.S. market. They’re really impressed with how the Koreans have stolen market share and want to do the same. Their social media agency has come up with a campaign that’s built around the slogan: Doing the Right Thing.

I’ve been on my best behavior here and the Boss has had no excuse to kick me. But it went a bit pear-shaped yesterday when we were listening to a long diatribe by the CEO on the company history and ethical standards. 

I had this strong feeling of deja vu from a similar meeting in Mobile, Ala. listening to an all-American CEO give the same speech about his investment firm. They both said:

         • Responsibility has always been in our DNA

         • That’s because we grew from a small business into a mammoth business by keeping our founders’ strong sense of family-based ethics

         • We always did the Right Thing

         • That is why we will always do the Right Thing

And the sub-text is: Trust us to do the Right Thing by you.

Next page: What went wrong during discussion of The Right Thing