This won’t be a political post. This post is about what we can all learn from a high-profile termination. Here are my rambling thoughts on the subject:
- You will be fired if you make a mistake at work that costs your company $750,000,000. No matter how big and important you think, you are. You will also probably be sued by your employer in an attempt to recoup any money that can, although it’s probably pennies in comparison to your screw-up. Just know if you F’up that bad, someone will come knocking on your office door. It might not be immediate, but it’s going to happen!
- Suppose you want to criticize your bosses, your company, etc. Don’t do that on a device that is being paid for by your company. It’s a work product, and it will be discoverable. We get so casual in our messaging nowadays, and it’s dangerous. Generative AI will make this problem much worse. At some point in the near future, companies will have AI looking at every single communication that is happening on every device it controls, and stuff is going to bubble up to the powers that be much faster. Start practicing having real conversations again on the phone or in person, especially if you want to bash your boss.
- Let us hope this is just the beginning of companies and private citizens coming after news outlets that have gone unchecked for far too long in sharing half-truths and flat-out lies. There are thousands of examples of “journalists” ruining companies and individuals only to be wrong, and besides a back-page retraction, these journalists and news outlets almost never face the consequences. It doesn’t matter where you sit on the political spectrum. It’s hard to trust most news today because every story seems to have a spin.
- If you get a message from a co-worker wanting to “bitch” about other co-workers or bosses, don’t respond back. Call that person, or go see them in person and let them vent. You’ll be doing this person a favor in not making it worse than it is already for them. And you’ll protect yourself by not leaving any trail that you even engaged.
- From an HR perspective, the time I’ve seen high performers screw up the most is when they believe they are “untouchable.” When they think they are at the top of their game and can’t be easily replaced. This “comfort” becomes their weakness. The best time to coach a high performer is when they get all the praise for being a high performer. This is when you have a chance to reach them and warn them. It’s the don’t-let-this-go-to-your-head talk.
- If your company or bosses ever want you to lie, you need to document that immediately. A great way to document that is to write up in an email exactly what happened, what date and time, and who was involved and send that to yourself, a confidant, and HR. Unfortunately, you probably need to quit your job and get out of that environment as fast as possible. If it’s verbal and can’t be proven, you don’t have a case, most likely. But you still don’t want to be caught in that circumstance or culture. Your career and life aren’t worth it.
We love to believe this is a Fox News issue. It isn’t. We are being lied to by every news outlet out there. Journalists are no longer held accountable for having real sources and telling the truth. There is a rush to be the first. To grab the headline. And in that rush, mistakes are made and rarely fixed. Damn, the companies and people they destroy. As long as they grabbed headlines, the destruction if justified in their minds. What was once a highly trusted career is now a joke.