By Diego Nascimento

Yes, I worry a lot about the image that we transmit to the people around us. An act or a word that lets us down today will have harmful consequences for a lifetime.  The most pitiful thing in all this is that there are people who insist on following through with the error knowing that they are treading a difficult road, but out of pride they prefer not to redeem themselves or recognize the cliff they are about to fall into (if they have not already fallen).

I compare this kind of reasoning to a trip I made days ago. I traveled hundreds of miles along a toll road, which was filled with holes and patches on the asphalt. To make matters worse I faced a huge flood when I reached a stretch with lots of rain. What was my perception of the highway crew who manages the road? The worst! And even if they fixed everything I’ve listed in that paragraph, this bad impression will remain in my subconscious.

You can do ten good things, but if you fail in one, people will keep the focus on your mistake. We are human beings inserted in different scenarios and, with that, all the care in the world is not enough. On the other hand, there are those who make mistakes while trying to do the right thing, and in humility they start over or change their course. I congratulate those who are part of this group, and I would like to caution those who walk the opposite path and are eternally marked by acts committed not by naivety but by the haphazard sense of adventure mixed with arrogance.

A resume represents 50% of a professional; the rest is demonstrated by the attitude towards colleagues, customers and the institution in general. In the book “If they could go back in time, these 500 people would not …” writer João José da Costa deals with the regrets and frustrations of wrong decisions that are common and part of our learning process. On page 136 he tells of a man who was known for being a “slacker” in the workplace, until he got a promotion and went to work overseas. After 15 months in foreign lands his time-wasting techniques were quickly identified and our “executive” was summarily fired. Upon his return to the country came the surprise: his image was completely destroyed at work, and he was forced to accept inferior positions by virtue of his “cleverness” planted in the past, but with bitter fruits in his future.

You have many lives: personal, professional, social … they are phases of which you will not be able to disconnect. Look around you, look for the right routes and escape the slightest sign of the “getting away with it”. I know some who were left with a tattered reputation by having chosen wrong paths and companies while still in their youth. Many of them talked to me in search of a new job opportunity and I will say: the process is slow, painful and may not deliver the desired result.

Do we deserve a second chance? Yes! As a communication professional I have been following with great interest cases of overcoming and, also, cases of relapse. Everything is linked to choices that cannot be hidden for long by the best speech or resume (masks do fall off). As President Abraham Lincoln would say: “You can fool people all the time. You can also fool all people some time. But you cannot fool all the people all the time. 

Open your eyes!

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