You’ve probably had days when someone else’s actions frustrated you to the point where you wanted to say something negative about that other person. Nathan Bennett at the Harvard Business Review shares some advice that explains why that’s a bad idea, especially in this day and age.
Photo by Robert McGoldrick
On a particularly frustrating day, Bennett thought about trash talking a fellow student and received some valuable advice from his professor:
I don’t recall the precise source of it, but I know it led me to want to call someone out for what I felt was a grievous offence of one sort or another. Though I can’t remember the foul, I do remember his advice. He told me, “You need to remember that this is a small field and you are going to have a long career.” There hasn’t been a month across the twenty-five years since in which that simple piece of advice hasn’t helped me frame the way I should respond to a colleague, a student, or an administrator.
Making enemies early on in your career can end up making your future a lot harder than it needs to be. You might think the career you’re working in is enormous, but word can easily get around, and Bennett explains how that is particularly true today:
But it occurs to me that what was true of our world a quarter century ago is true much more generally today. Technology has now made his advice relevant to virtually every person beginning a career. Now, no matter what your profession is and no matter where you practice it, you work in what is essentially a small field.
Everyone encounters difficult colleagues and coworkers, but you can choose how to handle things. Talking behind people’s backs can mark you as someone who is difficult to work with, even if the truth is the other way around. Sometimes you need to bite your lip and think about how small the world really is today.
Why No One Gets Away With Trash Talk Anymore [Harvard Business Review]