The title might look like it’s technical, since usually when I’m talking about Reputation = 1, I’m talking about querying the Stack Overflow database.
This post isn’t about that Reputation, it’s about your Reputation, and hopefully how you choose to protect it while you exist, and after you not exist.
This also isn’t a horn-tooting post. If you think I am horn-tooting, refer back to this sentence. There is, likewise, no high-horsing here. There are no horses, high or otherwise.
I try to teach people things here. This is just another thing.
Hazy Shade Of Writer
Late last year I agreed to write a book. It came to my attention after the fact that the publisher had recently released a work by someone who, several years ago, was found to have exhibited a pattern of untoward behavior with female members of the SQL Server community. I brought this up, and they were dismissive of my concerns on the matter.
I’m stopping short of adding any further details, because I don’t want anyone who has experienced trauma from this to experience more. Quite the opposite.
After that interaction, I withdrew from the project. There are plenty of ways for me to help people learn about SQL Server that don’t make profits for companies that turn a blind eye to that sort of behavior.
Continuing would have meant I turn a blind eye to it, and that’s not how I want to be known by anyone, especially people who are far more likely to be victimized than I am. I’m your friend, too.
I’m not pretending that I have the strongest morals and ethics, or that I’m a paragon of virtue, but continuing with the project just didn’t sit right with me.
After all, from where I sit in my office, I can hear my two daughters playing.
Something in between.
They’ll figure it out.
It’s easy to build a bad reputation, quickly or slowly. Anyone can do it. It’s hard to build and keep a good reputation.
When choosing who to be involved with, it’s important to consider who they’re involved with. I don’t mean that you have to blacklist people who you disagree with (that can be a dangerous personal precedent to set), but do think carefully about the kind of behavior you’re not okay with.
If you see that behavior, you’ve probably found someone you don’t want to associate with. If you see someone condoning that behavior, you’ve probably found two.
Redemption needs to exist, otherwise there would be no point in trying to learn and change. I’ve learned some tough lessons in life and changed because of them. Many people I know have, too. It’s generally a good thing, lest we all remain babbling and unwashed.
Not that that’s a bad way to spend Saturday night, but I digress.
People also need to be able to make mistakes and come back from them. There are good ways to do that: taking ownership, apologizing, etc. I’d never give sincerity the cold shoulder.
This doesn’t just go for when it’s easy to make the right choice. One reason there is no horn nor horse for me here is that it was a very easy decision to make.
But that does make it an easy lesson to teach, hopefully. Even if no one ever said a word about the entanglement, I would have felt wrong about it. If you don’t have a good reputation with yourself, you probably won’t have one with other people.
When you hit those moments in your life, and in your career, follow your instincts. I realize that it’s hard when a project promises some esteem, or monetary gain when monetary gains are scarce, but in the long run it’s worth it.
The least regret is no regret.
Or regerts, as a wise tattoo artist once inscribed.
Thanks for reading!