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Sunday, December 16, 2007

SOUND OFF: I AM WHO I AM

Readers offered quite a bit of advice when I asked them how I should identify myself professionally, given that my two careers as a professor and as a journalist were at the opposite ends of the Gallup Organization's most recent annual survey of public opinion regarding honesty and ethics in the professions. (See SOUND OFF: WHO AM I?)

George Zahka of Bradenton Beach, Fla., kindly observed that I would "do more to build the reputation of both by professing my identity with both."

But Dave Marohl of Madison, Wisc., thinks that I should worry less about the issue. "If you care that much about how strangers perceive you at a cocktail party," Marohl writes, "you probably ought to do some realignment about your own perspective."

Phil Clutts of Harrisburg, N.C., agrees, and advises me that, if a new acquaintance uses the Gallup poll results to make a snap judgment, "he has a problem and you can comfortably move on to the next guest."

Check out other opinions at SOUND OFF: WHO AM I? or post your own by clicking on "comments" or "post a comment" below.

Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business and The Good, the Bad, and Your Business: Choosing Right When Ethical Dilemmas Pull You Apart, is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics. He is also the administrator of The Right Thing, a Web log focused on ethical issues.

Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to rightthing@nytimes.com or to "The Right Thing," The New York Times Syndicate, 500 Seventh Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10018. Please remember to tell me who you are, where you're from, as well as where you read the column.

c.2007 The New York Times Syndicate (Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate)

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