Posted By Ted Baumhauer

Consider what you don't say.

 Back more than a dozen years ago I worked for a company.  It had some swings in fortune and with the expected adjustments in number of employees.  Toward the end of my time with them a new trainer was brought on board.  My new assignment was to teach him how to do the main workshop that I taught.  Shortly after he was up to speed I was let go.  The company was trying to save money.  It wasn't a surprise; I saw it coming even though I was told it wouldn't happen.  I went along with it.  My thinking at the time was that I couldn't stop the change so why create a difficult situation. 

The company folded less than two years later.  Since then I've kept in touch with a couple of people from my time there.  Both were fellow trainers and neither were in leadership positions.  Then two weeks ago it happened.  After a short presentation, one of the audience members came up to talk with me and suggested I meet this other trainer.  He was from that former company that let me go.  

We met and we only talked about what we had done since in a positive manner and then quickly began talking about the future.  In the entire conversation the subject of our former company never came up.  I could have bad mouthed our former employer in an attempt to make us feel good about surviving our layoff.  But for all I know he could have been close with the owner, I don't know.  Badmouthing the former employer would still change nothing and potentially ruin a current opportunity. 

How do you handle it?  Is it worth the short term satisfaction to criticize?  If you have a concern take it to the person that can make a difference.  In my situation the person that can make a difference would have been my former employer when I was training my replacement.  That was a conversation that did happen.  We don't always win the day.  That we cannot always control or influence the way we want.  What we can have influence on is our reputation and how we handle difficult situation.  Sometimes what we don't say goes a long way toward creating a reputation.  What kind of reputation are you creating for yourself? 


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Ted Baumhauer


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