27 Feb 2018

Read or listen to Morals in Business: Walter Pavlo Share your thoughts and opinions regarding this real life situation. Be sure to include your ideas about what businesses can do to avoid similar problems.


Transcript Voice 1 Hello. I’m Marina Santee. Voice 2 And I’m Ruby Jones. Welcome to Spotlight. This programme uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live. Voice 1 Would you consider stealing six million [6,000,000] dollars from a company, if you had the chance? Most people would immediately answer “no” to this question. The majority of people consider themselves to be good, honest citizens. Walter Pavlo used to describe himself like this. Walter was a young, successful business man. He studied hard. And he worked hard. In time, he got a good job at an international communications company called MCI. MCI managed billions of dollars each year. Walter’s office was a highly pressured working environment. Walter worked hard to meet targets and goals. If someone had asked him back then - would he steal six million dollars from the company? He would have answered, “No way!” Yet only a few years later, Walter went to prison for stealing money from MCI. What made this good man turn to crime? Here is his story. Voice 2 Walter Pavlo was born into a good family. His parents taught him Christian values. He said; Voice 3 “I was taught, ‘do not steal’; ‘do not cheat’; ‘be honest’; ‘be truthful in everything that you do.” Voice 2 Walter held these values for a long time. However, slowly, other values in the business world began to influence him. At the age of thirty-two, Walter was a senior manager at MCI. He managed millions of dollars. His job was very pressured - and difficult. Then, for the first time in his life, it looked like Walter would not meet his targets. He had to do something. He asked a co-worker for advice. His friend told Walter to cheat a little. He told him that everyone else was doing it. It was normal. Voice 1 Pavlo looked around him. It seemed that his friend was right. The world of business was full of successful cheats. Maybe a little dishonesty was not so bad. In his mind, Walter rationalised cheating. He made it seem reasonable. Voice 2 Pavlo learned how to hide customers’ debts. He made small changes in the company’s financial books to make them look better. This meant that Walter kept his good record of achievement. And it meant that the company’s records looked good to investors. Voice 1 However, this led Walter to a bigger temptation. Why not use the same method of dishonesty to enrich himself? Again, Walter rationalised his plan. He said later; Voice 3 “To me it looked like everyone was cheating. And I joined in. It did not seem that bad. Customers were getting richer. And I wanted my share.” Voice 2 Something else was happening inside Walter. He was becoming hostile in his heart. All around him were lies and cheats. He saw that people only cared about themselves. He saw the company and customers making themselves richer. He said, Voice 3 “I hated the customers. I hated the company. And then, I hated myself. Then, nothing mattered anymore.” Voice 1 And so, Walter set up a secret bank account in the Cayman Islands. Customers with debts paid money directly into this bank account. Then, Walter made their debt disappear on MCI’s records. Over a six month period, Walter and a co-worker took six million dollars! Voice 2 However, as time passed, Walter became afraid. He lived in fear of getting caught and arrested. The lies and secrets created much pressure. Walter said he became emotionally unbalanced. He came to believe that he would surely be caught - it was only a question of when. Voice 1 After a few months, MCI noticed a series of payments going into a Cayman bank account. They questioned Walter about it. Walter remembers; Voice 3 “I just said I did not want to talk about it. In a way I could not avoid uncovering my secret, because I was no longer able to hide what I was doing.” Voice 1 Walter resigned from MCI. He hoped that the investigations would stop. But they did not. MCI called in the police. Voice 2 Pavlo admitted his crime. His punishment was a prison sentence of three years and five months. He would also have to sacrifice some of his future earnings - over the next twenty-seven [27] years. Voice 1 In prison, Pavlo learned a lot about himself. He looked at the process that resulted in such severe crime. He said; Voice 3 “I do not think of myself as a bad person. For me to do something bad, or illegal, I have to make myself believe it is not bad. I rationalised, reasoned, what I was doing. I did this so much that I became far removed from reality. I told myself things like - everyone else is doing it, I need to get by, my family deserves this - and so on. This is what happens to a lot of people. They will rationalise in order to do something wrong.” Voice 2 Walter finished serving his difficult sentence in 2003. Life outside of prison was not to be easy either. His wife had divorced him. His friends had disappeared. No one wanted to employ the man who had stolen millions. However, people did want to hear about it. Voice 1 Many businesses saw the power of telling such a story. It could prevent their employees making the same mistake. Business schools and universities wanted their students to hear Walter’s story. Voice 2 And so Walter decided on a new kind of work. Today, he goes into business schools, companies and universities. He tells his story. He warns people of the easy path that leads to crime. He gives this message to business students: Voice 3 “The chance of you facing a difficult moral decision at some time in your business life is one hundred percent. It will happen. There is no way round it...” “You will never know what your values are worth until the test. The things that your parents have taught you, the things that you learned in school. What about them? When you are tested, what will you do?” Voice 1 Walter Pavlo’s values had not survived this test. However he hopes that his weaknesses may strengthen others. He hopes that his story will strengthen people’s values. And then, when they are tested they will not fall. Voice 2 The writer and producer of today’s programme was Marina Santee. All quotes were adapted for the programme. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. Computer users can hear our programmes, read our scripts and see our word list on our website at http://www.radio.english.net. This programme is called, ‘Morals in Business: Walter Pavlo’ Voice 1 You are welcome to comment or ask about today’s programme. You can e-mail us at radio @ english . net. Thank you for joining us today. Until next time. Goodbye.

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Beverley Smith
Beverley SmithLv2
1 Mar 2018

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