Think Before You Type (and Hit Submit) in Business and at Work
As I recounted in a post several years back, one night earlier in my recruiting career, I was uncharacteristically awake past 10 PM. When I’m up this late with nothing interesting to read or watch, I turn on the t.v. for background noise and catch up on my work email.
A new email pinged in at 10:25 PM, not from a colleague but from an executive-level candidate responding to a query email I had sent earlier that day. Here’s what it said:
There’s no amount of money you could pay me to come and work for your company. The (hiring manager) is a flaming asshole and everyone in the industry knows it. Good luck with your search, your (sic) going to need it.
Sent from my BlackBerry
Please forgive any typos
It startled me. My husband Joel heard me gasp and woke up. “What’s wrong?” he asked, startled himself.
“Look at this email! I’ve never seen anything like it from a candidate before,” I replied, offering the laptop screen for him to view. Joel shrugged. “I’m sure he’s drunk,” he concluded.
I shook my head, bewildered at the candidate’s carelessness. “Friends shouldn’t let friends email drunk. Doesn’t this guy care about his reputation in the industry?” Joel arched a sage eyebrow at me. “Well, is the hiring manager an asshole?” I shrugged my reply back. Joel went back to sleep.
Over the last several months, I’ve observed well-intentioned / well-meaning contacts in various social media channels engaging in the conversation that we all strive for when we post information to promote a cause or an event, yet posting comments that are counterproductive to the cause or event, e.g. “Sorry, I can’t attend,” or “I don’t have enough money to contribute.” When I see this occur, it strikes me that these contacts think they’re responding to a private email (since they probably receive an email notifying them of a new post, and click on the link, especially on their smartphones), when in reality they’re posting a comment that’s discoverable in Google search. Or, as a trope on my mother’s childhood advice to me: “If you don’t have anything supportive to post, please don’t post anything at all.”
Perhaps the most jarring example of this trend of filterless communication was Gurbaksh Chahal, the just-ousted CEO of RadiumOne, in his self-serving and clearly unedited / unreviewed / unapologetic blog post today (Entitled “Can you handle the truth?” – at this writing, Chahal is a LinkedIn Influencer with over 44,000 LinkedIn followers) after his domestic violence conviction this week for beating his hopefully former girlfriend:
The situation that resulted in my legal case began when I discovered that my girlfriend was having unprotected sex for money with other people. (She testified to this in her interviews with the cops.) I make no excuse for losing my temper. When I discovered this fact and confronted my girlfriend, we had a normal argument. She called 9-11 after I told her I was going to contact her father regarding her activities. And yes, I lost my temper. I understand, accept full responsibility and sincerely apologize from the bottom of my heart for that. But I didn’t hit her 117 times, injure her, or cause any trauma as the UCSF medical reports clearly document. This was all overblown drama because it generates huge volumes of page views for the media given what I have accomplished in the valley.
At the beginning of my career in stakeholder communications, it was hammered home that anything I wrote absolutely needed review by another set of eyes before it was distributed and/or published, internally or externally. That discipline endures to this day: my husband and fellow writer Joel kindly operates as both my in-house editor and trial-balloon audience, acting as that objective second set of eyes before I hit publish or submit.
How will you think before you type (and hit submit) this week, in business and at work?