Book Review: Ethical Pitfalls for Professional Organizers

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When you joined NAPO, POC, or another professional association, you agreed to follow the Code of Ethics of that organization. You probably scanned the Code of Ethics quickly and figured you’d have no problem doing the right thing, right? You’re a good person, after all! But there’s a lot more to ethics than just being a good person.

Ethical Pitfalls for Professional Organizers

I became aware that things weren’t quite that simple when a discussion about referral fees took place at a POC Conference several years ago. Some members felt it was wrong to ask another member to pay for referrals, whereas others believed it was unethical for a member who doesn’t invest a lot of money and effort into marketing their business to expect someone who does to just hand over referrals without compensation. It became clear that there was no absolute right or wrong answer.

Debbie Stanley’s Ethical Pitfalls for Professional Organizers describes a number of other sticky scenarios you may encounter when interacting with your peers, as well as issues that may arise when working with clients, managing your business, dealing with the media, and even when you’re off-duty. In some cases, you’ll probably feel confident that you would handle the situation appropriately, but there will be many others that you might not have even considered as having ethical ramifications.

You won’t find the answers to these dilemmas within the pages of this book. What you will find is a nine-step process to guide you in making ethical decisions. You’ll also find an explanation of the meaning of professional ethics and how they apply to the organizing industry, as well as helpful tips on dealing with someone you feel has behaved in an unethical manner.

It’s not difficult to see why the Board of Certification for Professional Organizers suggests reading Ethical Pitfalls before writing the certification exam. It’s a thought-provoking look at a very serious topic that deserves much more attention than it gets. I highly recommend that you read this book, whether you intend to pursue certification or not. At only 100 pages, it won’t demand a lot of your time, but it will definitely change the way you look at things.

Have you read this book? What did you think about it?

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A former professional organizer, I now eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

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