The news is filled with the controversy around Roseanne Barr and the tweet that made ABC cancel the reboot of her top-rated show. When I heard what happened, my first thought was, "Wow. I feel sorry for the cast. They just lost their jobs due to her actions." Granted, they knew what they signed on for when they chose to star in the politically charged show with a highly unpredictable and salacious star. Yet, it still doesn't diminish the fact that one person's mistake cost everyone their livelihood.
Pulling a "Roseanne" Can Happen To Anyone
It's easy to think, "I'd never do anything so selfish and insensitive." But, as a career coach with over 15 years in the biz, I've worked with plenty of people who never dreamed their actions would cost them, and their coworkers, their jobs. When employees behave in a way that puts companies at risk of being sued, they usually choose to clean house. I've seen departments and teams lose their jobs over emails that have been circulated, comments made in group meetings, and errors in judgment when working with key clients. The reality is, unless you are part of a union, you are most likely an at-will employee. This means a company can (less a few exceptions), fire you at any time. Here are the 3 tips I tell all my clients so they can avoid a Roseanne-style career fail.
1. Read Your Employee Handbook - Then, Read It Again
If you want to make sure your brain is in the right frame of mind for keeping your job, read your employee handbook. In it, you'll quickly learn what activities can put you at risk. A lot of people don't realize all the rules stem from past errors in judgment by employees that forced the company to put some structure in place.
2. Everyone (Mistakenly) Thinks They Have Taste & A Sense Of Humor
You might think you are a class act with great comedic timing, but not everyone will love your brand of style or humor. So, it's better to reign it in at the office. Save your antics for your friends in the off hours.
3. Anger, Cocktails & Exhaustion = The 3 Gremlins Of Career Missteps
Being frustrated, drinking excessively, or being overly tired are all gateways to saying or doing something you'll regret. i.e. Roseanne is now claiming Ambien caused her to tweet inappropriately. Recognize when one (or more) of these is clouding your judgment and avoid any career activities until you are back to your normal self.
P.S. - To Be Safe, Get A Proper Gut-Check
My BEST advice to professionals is to never be a lone wolf. Don't make decisions or take actions without collaborating with someone you trust first. Having a voice of reason to bounce your situation off of can seriously save you from a major career fail. And often, you'll find a better, smarter, safer way to make your point, or get the result you are looking for.