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.


      Anonymous said...

      I watched the same show and thought Washington was a pompous ass, full of excuses about his own bad behavior. I work with someone just like him...he thinks the world revolves around him and is always whining about what he doesn't get. Too bad I don't work on a popular TV show where this guy's behavior can be publicized and then cause him to be fired. Maybe I can record it and post it on YouTube. Now that's a thought....we should all start recording the jerks at work and then expose them for public vilification.

      Anonymous said...

      I think many people still view the web as an anonymous forum, even if they are identified! It’s almost as if some posters believe that there is curtain over the internet that either hides them, or creates an alternative universe in which there are no ramifications. It’s just the internet, who cares? You can’t see the person reading it, so they can’t see you right?

      As you say, baloney!

      I always say that unless you feel comfortable saying it/showing it to your boss, clients and colleagues in person, don’t post it. Unless of course you are independently wealthy (or have a solid excuse for your behavior that involves some form of rehab).