Watch Your Language and Actions – Always (updated)

The best way to avoid a public embarrassment is to watch yourself all the time. People are snapping photos and shooting video everywhere you go. Once your embarrassing moment is photographed, it will live forever on the internet.

Paula Dean - file photo; Associated Press, by Carlo Allegri

Paula Deen – file photo; Associated Press, by Carlo Allegri

Paula Deen is finding herself in another controversy after admitting she used the “N” word some time ago. The court documents in the legal case uncovered her insensitive choice of words and today, she issued a:46 video apology uploaded on You Tube in which she begged for forgiveness. That video was taken down shortly after The Food Network took action. Officials at the Food Network let Paula Deen’s Type 2 diabetes debacle blow over (she was cooking fat-laden foods while dealing with her health issue & being paid by a drug company to promote the medicine she was taking); now, the Food Network has decided to drop Deen when her contract runs out this month.

Just as we’ve learned to avoid having photos taken when we have an adult beverage in our hands, we have to watch our language and actions in public (and in private many times). You never know when a camera will catch you in some unsavory moment that will back up on you now or years later.

“Googling” yourself is almost as important as checking your credit rating. Whether there are two Google hits on your name or tens of thousands, it’s important to know what is out there about your reputation – professionally and personally. Some years ago, a freelance writer for a weekly newspaper decided he was going to lash out at the radio station where I worked at the time. His ire was obvious and his words downright hateful. He wrote one sentence that included my name and lo and behold, I can still find that article today.

Last week, we had a few people over to celebrate my birthday. I was mortified when a few photos were snapped while I had an adult beverage in my hand. I’m probably over-reacting, but I hope those few photos with my smiling face and a beverage in hand, don’t haunt me.

Think about your actions and deeds and of course, your words, when you are in professional situations. Whether it’s a networking event, office picnic or a chat by the water cooler with co-workers, what you say and do is always something to think about. Years ago, people chuckled about ‘big brother watching.’ Big brother, sister, co-worker, and Joe/Jane Public are watching and listening all the time.

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