Thursday, July 5, 2007

Isaiah Washington's Big Mistakes

I recently watched Isaiah Washington on “Larry King Live” as he discussed his feelings about being fired for making reportedly homophobic comments about his fellow cast mate, T.R. Knight, who is gay.

I sat in awe as I watched this guy dig a hole so deep for himself he may never get out of it. In fact, he broke just about every rule you can regarding your work performance and a former employer.

Here’s what needs to be learned by everyone regarding this nasty little fight between Washington and his colleagues and his bosses:
  • It’s a small world. If you work in a specific industry, such as Washington’s acting arena, you’re going to run into many of the same people throughout the course of your career. That means that you don’t muddy the waters with nasty comments about people you might come to work with again in the future. Keep in mind that someone you badmouth today may be someone who can hire you in the future – or be your boss.
  • You are often remembered more for how you leave a job than anything else. No matter how angry you might be at other people when you walk out that door, keep your mouth shut. Offer a handshake and a smile and just leave. Anything you say otherwise will be gossiped about for weeks or years to come. Washington’s name will forever be linked with not only what he said to start the gossip, but what he did to perpetuate it. Trust me, the man’s obit in 50 years will mention the spat.
  • Let it go for your own peace of mind. Dwelling on the past, as Washington appears to be doing, does not help you get another job. You need to be upbeat, enthusiastic and focused on the future – not past problems. Whether he has a legitimate gripe or not, he’s not helping himself or his family by trying to rewrite history.
  • Grace under pressure is underrated. I once had a boss who treated me and everyone else like garbage. But when I resigned, my letter simply stated the fact that I was leaving in two weeks. I didn’t offer anything else, and that prompted her to look me in the eye and claim, “You know, I’m not easy to work for, but you’ve been grace under pressure.” I kept my gag reflex under control, and felt like I hadn’t let her “win.” I had kept my cool, my perspective…and gotten the heck out of there with my sanity intact. Think of how the message boards would look if Washington had stopped whining and instead nabbed another great job without badmouthing everyone in the process.




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