Choices That Can Stink Up Your Work Reputation

Choices that Can Stink Up Your Work Reputation

Your happiness, success, self-confidence, and quality of life increases when you have a good work reputation.  Like a degree from a university or badge from the Boy Scouts a reputation, be it good, bad, or questionable is earned.  Make a pact with yourself to earn an enviable one. Building a good reputation is important. Maintaining it depends on your choices. There are choices and circumstances that stink up your work reputation; a few can sink it.

Be Careful with Social Networks

On the job, your online behavior is a powerful ingredient in your overall reputation.  Never forget that content posted and made available to the public can easily be in the hands of those you work with and for.   Questionable photos include any photos that make you or others look bad.  While you may feel confident that only people you want to see it have exclusive access, there is no guarantee others can’t find a way to view them.

Operate under the assumption that everything you post – photos and comments – will show up on your bosses desk or your mother-in-law’s mailbox.  What might seem fun or the “in thing” to do could put a bad slant on your work reputation.

Don’t Talk Badly About People

Everything you tell others (even in confidence) will be repeated.  Before you know it your comments are made public.  In other words, what you say, can and will be repeated! Hurt feelings, betrayal, and bridge burning are all possible outcomes when you talk badly about others.

Choose wisely who you vent to or blow off steam with.  It is human nature to need to do that.  If you want to manage the stress associated with work or talk about those you work within an unfavorable light, talk to someone who is not on the payroll.

Doing a number on the character of other co-workers could backfire on your work reputation.  Tell others you don’t want the burden of confidentiality and that they should assume you will share what they tell you. It will encourage their discretion and they will go searching for a new ear to bend!


If you can’t get along with someone or don’t like someone, don’t bring all they do that you don’t like to your supervisor.   Nothing will tarnish a person’s reputation more than being viewed as the tattletale.  Talking behind people’s back is a coward’s way to send a message.  If you need to work out something with someone go directly to them.  Someone once said, “if you can’t say it to the person you are speaking of, you would be better off to not speak about it”.


Jumping over your boss and cutting around them, if you are connected to your supervisor’s manager, will find your work reputation in jeopardy.  You might even be viewed as a political threat to everyone you work with.   Don’t take steps that could undermine your boss.  Respect the chain of command.  Disrespectfulness is long remembered and not easily forgiven.

Keep the shine on your work reputation and don’t engage in choices that can tarnish it!

If you’re not sure how to do that, our Principles of Positive Co-Worker Relationships or Polish Your Professional Maturity training programs will help you!

Still learning,