I learned this lesson many years ago when racing to my office and almost hitting another car. It didn’t dawn on me that our company’s biggest customer, Boeing, was strategically near our regional offices for a reason – to be close by. It also didn’t occur to me that those crazy drivers on the road could very well be in one of my next meetings of the day at our biggest customer’s offices.
To be fair, I must say that it was icy that cold morning I almost hit another vehicle on the road. I remember the “stare” I gave the other driver, as if it was his fault.
Funny thing was, later that day, I did see him in a meeting where I was the vendor and he was part of the customer team who would be deciding on a vendor to do business with. Fortunately this gentleman had a sense of humor and my company was a good vendor so the end result was positive for me. It isn’t always, though.
Last week, a contractor I was working with on a family home project drove through a “ROAD CLOSED” barrier and encountered an angry city employee who was yelling at him to not drive on the closed road – he could get into a serious accident. Our contractor laughed it off. Imagine his surpirse when that city worker turned out to be my brother-in-law, David, who showed up at the same house the contractor was working at. I thought the contractor was thinking that this big relative of mine had followed him to attack him or something. He didn’t – it just happened that he stopped by to see me. But it jogged my memory about the earlier story I was involved in since this is something that can happen to anyone.
Your actions and words outside of your office may affect you at your office – so think twice about who you are after work, and what you stand for. If you do something outside of work that shows your perceived character or attitude – it can come back to bite you. Remember it is a small world. What do you stand for, and what don’t you stand for? If cutting corners and cheating are who you are – then it makes sense to disregard city “road closed” signs, doesn’t it?
In the cases mentioned – there was no bad outcome – however, I have other stories where I cannot use real names – but there were grave consequences for actions made in and outside of work. All I am saying is that there are consequences for all of our actions – just remember that, and know that when you least expect it, someone will see you and associate you with that action. If it is a good one – it could help you immensely. If it is a negative one… well… it could really hurt you.