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Ethical Dilemmas pop up from time to time

My very first consulting project after graduating college I was working on a large team where I was the most junior consultant. There were 30 team members working in a large conference room onsite at the client’s headquarters. I was responsible for answering the phone when the client would call from one of their offices on another floor of wing of the building. Often, I would be asked to take a message or tell the client that my fellow consultant, manager, or director was not in to answer their question. My colleagues were not finished with a presentation or collecting data or whatever the client was asking to discuss and asked me to lie for them. I felt very uncomfortable lying to the client and telling them that the person wasn’t there when they were sitting next me. One time, the client decided to walk down and try to find someone else to answer their question and found the consultant sitting in the room. At the time, I didn’t think I had a choice, and I just followed their requests and lied to the client and struggled internally as I don’t believe in lying. I resolved the dilemma by telling myself I was just following their orders and if I was honest with the client my colleagues may look compromised. In the end the client did not trust me because I was the one lying on the phone to them.