How to Repair a Damaged Work Reputation
I recently experienced a layoff in September 2007. While applying for other positions, I realized that my former bosses and co-workers were spreading vicious rumors to my new clients about my work habits and “questionable business practices”.
I am shocked because my evaluations were excellent and I was promoted within the company. Because I am a business development professional, my work reputation with past clients and future employers is also at stake. How should I confront the company and repair my name from ruin?
Unfortunately, disparaging a person's name or work skills is a common practice in the workplace. Here are few strategies to repair your damaged reputation, rise above the rumors and save your good name.
1 – Never respond with a counter attack. Don't dignify a response by mentioning the alleged rumors to your current and former clients. By bringing up the past you open yourself to be tried in the court of public opinion.
If you are interviewing for new positions and you mention your former employer in a negative light and complain about the alleged rumors, it will only present you as a whiner and an unprofessional candidate. (Remember employers or clients do not want to hire people with questionable pasts and issues.)
2 – Sticks and stones may break your bones…Let's face it, words can hurt. Unfortunately bitter and disgruntled people may use their personal power to try to destroy a person's reputation…but they haven't destroyed your career or your life.
3 – Cut off all communication concerning your dismissal with your former coworkers. If the questionable rumors are showing up when your former employer is contacted for references, then you might want to contact an attorney.
An employment attorney can determine whether the rumors are slander and are preventing you from gaining employment in your industry. I suggest that you do not contact the company or your former clients directly to address this matter without legal representation.
4 – Rise above this common childhood behavior and be positive. Congratulations! You are so special that when you left your former company, other sales people are spending their time talking about you instead of creating revenue for themselves and the employer.
Unfortunately we all participate in gossip and don't realize its negative results until we become the victim of an evil attack.
Use this experience to reinforce your stellar customer service practices and to create an even stronger reputation as a survivor! Remember, rumors that are untrue often dissipate over time.
Here's a few more resources to repair your online reputation too.
- Online Reputation Management for Jobseekers
- Removing Negative Content Online
- Duct Tape Marketing’s 34 Online Reputation Management Tools
- Watch Will Critchlow's video on Reputation Management on SEOmoz.org