You Can’t Go Wrong…Doing the Right Thing!


Most people know the right thing to do in their life and career, but far too many people won’t do the right thing anyway, why? Are you doing this?

You can’t go wrong doing the right thing. I live by this motto and it has served me well throughout my life and career. When evaluating a certain issue, situation, or problem in my life and career, I always take a step back and ask myself, “What’s the right thing to do here?” Sometimes I don’t like my answer, but I know it’s the right thing to do.

Hey, I am human; I know it’s tough to do the right thing all the time. I make plenty of mistakes, but I try to do the right thing in my life and in my business. Even though you can’t go wrong doing the right thing, it can still be tough to do, especially when you’re dealing with family members. When dealing with personal family issues, sometimes the right thing for you is the wrong thing (they think) for them.

In business I learned this lesson many years ago, in fact, I remember it like it was yesterday. I was a young flyer in the US Navy on a P-3 Orion Aircraft. I wasn’t a pilot, I was a crewmember, but I flew a lot of missions for a young guy and our missions tended to be very long. Sometimes we were in the air for twelve or fourteen hours, not to mention the briefing prior to the mission and the debriefing after the mission. It always made for very long days and nights.

One day we were getting ready for another long mission, but on this day it was a lot different than normal. It was pouring down rain all day. The unusual rain for California made it very difficult to conduct our preflight routine to get the aircraft ready for flight. Then, to make matters worse, our aircraft had a mechanical problem. The mechanics had to fix the problem before we were able take off and do our mission, and by the time they finished, we were all soaked to the bone.

Several hours later and in dripping wet flight suits we took off. Now, a P-3 Orion Aircraft has a lot of computer and electronics in it, so we had to keep the planes very cold during flight. Not good. I kept thinking, “Is this safe?” and I knew the answer. After a long and rainy prefight and even longer mission it was well over a nineteen-hour day/night for the entire crew. When we finally landed I was glad to be on the ground safe.

I was a crewmember that night, not the pilot, but we were all exhausted and I knew it couldn’t have been a safe way to fly a mission. When we landed I was so mad about the situation I went straight to the commanding officer and gave him a piece of my mind. Something an enlisted man should never do. I was so passionate about the safety of the situation he couldn’t do anything but sit there and listen. He was unaware of the situation but promised to do something about it so it would never happen again. And he kept his word, it never did.

I learned a valuable lesson that day. You can’t go wrong doing the right thing, and if you’re in the right, you will never get in trouble. The squadron changed their safety procedures and the way they conducted their missions from that day forward. I could have said nothing and sat on my hands, but I didn’t and it was the right thing to do. I could have been a little more diplomatic about my approach, rather than scream at my commanding officer, but it did get my point across.

Later that year I was awarded a safety conduct medal for the suggestions I made to the squadron. This incident taught me a lesson about doing the right thing in my life and career. You can’t go wrong doing the right thing! I hope this helps.

Good luck to you!

Mike Palumbo