These days, your reputation can be trashed more easily than ever before, thanks to the Internet. One Instagram picture, one Facebook comment, one tweet, one poor moment of judgment, or one accusation, is all it takes to leave a lasting mark in a place where nothing ever disappears. A single instance of bad behavior, even if you think it’s not a big deal, may haunt you forever and it’s simply best to be on your guard and second guess things whether it’s a good idea.
In my opinion, it’s always good to ask the question, “If what I’m doing right now would be published in the news or in a newspaper, could I go out there with my head up high and proud and be okay with them talking about me and what I did?”. You rely on your reputation to gain trust, get employment, get a promotion and develop relationships.
Just think of Tiger Woods, he thought he’d never get caught cheating and because of that, he lost his marriage, he lost lots of sponsors, and overall, his reputation. In this day and age, you have to assume that you’re being googled by hiring managers, potential dates, competitors, and customers, so it’s always best to think twice about your actions.
What Are The Two Key Reputation Losing Traps?
One, it’s bad behavior itself. It’s everything like racism, sexism, fighting, dishonesty or anything else that could reflect poorly on your character.
Aside from the bad behavior itself, it’s the belief that you’re not being recorded or that you won’t ever be caught. When everyone has a cell phone, it’s simply foolish to assume that nobody will record, hear, listen or see what you’ve said or did. Sometimes you may have the best intentions but if you don’t consider how something may sound or appear, you can ruin your reputation. Some may also think that their bad behavior will simply be tolerated or not be called out but at the end of the day, no one is immune to it and you can lose your reputation in a snap.
10 Ways That Hurt Your Reputation
1.Unprofessional Behavior At Work
First of all, it’s unprofessional behavior at the office. If you think about it, it’s one of the worst places to lose one’s reputation because most of the time, it’s directly tied to your livelihood. If you’re rude or difficult to work with, maybe you’re going to be laid off and oftentimes, employers talk to each other so it may be more difficult for you to find new employment. People who harass others especially sexually may even end up in jail.
Another great way to damage your reputation is to always be right and to always have the last word. You also want to avoid gossiping because it always reflects negatively on you. If you work in a white-collar environment, dressing too casually can be a problem. On the flip side, dressing too formally or outdressing your boss can be an issue too especially if your boss has issues with his self-confidence. Because of that, it always pays to respect the dress code at work. You also don’t want to start any arguments or have private conversations very loudly so everybody can listen in. Because at the end of the day, it reflects poorly on you.
2. Substance Abuse
The second way to damage your reputation is to engage in substance abuse. You might think others won’t notice, at the end of the day, they will. It will be talked about and it can be extremely difficult to not just find employment but also get driver’s licenses and it has a triggering effect that stays on your record for life.
3. Social Media Misuse
Obviously, you can post too much and you know what happens with people who annoy you, you just unfollow them and in the back of your mind, you think of them less highly. Of course, some people post things that are too personal but nobody wants to know if you just had an abscess on your bum. Also, do you know those people that are full of conspiracy theories and full of negativity and they write about how much they hate their job and their life and everything? It’s simply an overshare and people don’t want to read about it especially not future employers or your date.
Sometimes it’s very tempting to leave a comment on a photo and even if it seems very obvious, it is sometimes better to simply not post. At the end of the day, what is there to gain? For example, there was a picture of a woman who was pushing a stroller on a Segway and there was a flood of bad comments. It turned out her husband had bought it for her because she couldn’t actually walk. Now obviously, it was a nice gesture and this mother tried to do the best she could yet she got a shitstorm of comments that was wholly unjustified.
Now, if people see that you participate in that, it reflects very negatively on you. Even if you use snapchat or you set all your privacy settings to lock down, people can still take screenshots of what you posted and share it with the world without you being able to control it in any way, shape, or form. If you read the terms of the social platforms, once you post something there is no legal way to retract it even if you delete it.
4. Big Ego
That includes blaming others for your faults, not taking responsibility and simply walking around as if you’re the king. If you’re unable to have your opinions and beliefs challenged and if you’re boasting about your strip club knowledge, you have a serious ego problem. Likewise, if you want to abuse your position in society and ask people, “Don’t you know who I am?”, that shows that you have an issue with your ego.
For example, there was a female TV host who got her car towed and she went to the impound lot and argued with the poor lady there and just insulted her about her teeth, her education, how dumb she was, how ugly. And she didn’t think it was on camera but she tried to tell her that she’s so much better and used her position to make the other person down. Well, guess what? She lost her job and everyone can still see how nasty she was in that one situation. Now, don’t get me wrong, we all have a bad day but again, always think twice because in this day and age, there is no second chance for things that have gone viral.
5. Being Overly Emotional
If you can’t control your feelings, you’ll quickly gain a reputation for having a short fuse and people will keep you at arm’s length and they won’t trust you with important tasks because they know they can’t rely on you.
6. Being Hypocritical
For example, the owner of mugshots.com wouldn’t have his own mugshot published on there. Now that’s pretty hypocritical, isn’t it? When you engage in hypocrisy and you set different standards for others than you do for yourself, you lose all credibility.
7. Plain Old Lying
I know sometimes you’re in a bad mood and someone asks you how you are and you just say everything is fine. That’s the kind of lie that’s acceptable in society. On the other hand, if you constantly lie to come up with excuses or why you didn’t get the project done, your boss will see through it and fire you for it.
Just think about it, if you engage in a fight every time you have the opportunity to, chances are, you will eventually end up losing. Someone will record it and it will go on the internet and you have a bad reputation forever. Keeping calm especially if you’re stressed out requires restraint. It’s a quality that’s highly sought after by employers and people, in general. Who do you want to sit next to on a plane that is going down? A stressed-out person who is rude, loud and aggressive, or a considerate person that is thoughtful and helping others?
You tell people you’ll call them and you don’t follow up or if you make appointments and you don’t show up, not only do you give them the feeling that you don’t care but you’re so unreliable that people don’t want to engage with you or your business ideas or anything else that you touch because they simply can only see it going downhill.
New York Mayor Bill De Blasio had a reputation for tardiness and it also shows that you think your time is more important than other people’s time and that you’re above things and it’s never a good signal to send to others even if you’re in a position of power because sooner or later it will hurt you.
10. Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is all over the news and it seems there’s a tipping point right now where a lot of powerful men find themselves confronted with their past actions. To some, it can constitute a gray area to define what is sexual harassment and what is maybe just a joke but if you look at surveys and studies, 64% of all people think that there is sexual harassment at the workplace and that it’s a big problem.
If you think about it, sexual harassment is about one thing – power. Most positions of power in the world today are still held by men. You, as a man, are responsible not to engage in sexual harassment. It’s not the responsibility of another man or another woman to tell you to stop or to report you or to tell if they are uncomfortable with what you’re doing right now. Honestly, it’s also unacceptable to complain that it’s too difficult to understand what is an acceptable joke and what is inappropriate sexual harassment. The rules are clear and if you’re not sure about them, I suggest you sit down, do a google search and learn about them.
That being said, there are a lot of ways to damage your reputation. Another one would be to not display proper dining etiquette. Or for example, if you’re not dressed appropriately for your job interview, it’ll cost you a job even though you’re the most qualified candidate.