Some time ago, a friend of mine shared an update that someone had posted on LinkedIn. It was a picture of her and 5 other young women at their company Christmas party, wearing dresses that they would probably wear out to a club. Two of the dresses could have been considered pretty revealing, while the other 4 wore dresses that fit them well enough to show off their figures.

graduation day 1981

Based on her question, it was easy to assume that when she first posted the image, she and the rest of the ladies took a lot of heat for the pictures, with some people saying all of them were dressed inappropriately for a company party. At the same time, there were a lot of crass males who wrote things I'd never think of repeating.

All of this happened on LinkedIn, which is supposed to be about business, which is a totally different place than it used to be; business professionalism has definitely changed over time, and not in a good way.

My friend... he posted the link on Facebook, which brought up the picture, and asked us what we thought about it.

What did I think about it? I thought it was another lesson in human behavior and confirmation that no matter who you are, what you are or what you do, everyone's watching you... all the time. Some will like it, some won't, but they're always watching.

My initial thought was that the dresses, while provocative, weren't anything I hadn't seen before. Back in the 90's my hospital had a holiday party and there were a few ladies who had the bodies and the confidence to wear the same type of thing. The only different between then and now is that we weren't all carrying around smartphones with cameras back then.

Even without them, all of us were judged fairly often and quickly... for different things... even if we didn't always hear about it. When you're around a lot of people on a daily basis, every move you make is scrutinized by someone. Everything you wear is analyzed by someone. Whether you gain or lose weight, are happy or sad, are boisterous or quiet... you're being watched and inspected and examined and dissected and ranked and liked and hated all at the same time.

What people think about you isn't your business. - Jack Canfield

That's a nice phrase, isn't it? Unfortunately, it's only 75% true at best. No matter what we do to bring money into the house, even as an independent consultant, we all have to decide what's worth the trouble we might bring upon ourselves and what might be detrimental to our progress and success.

@djcharleebrown keeps the party rocking @whiteoakkitchen! Dance party! #whiteoakturns3

Christine via Compfight

There are people who are willing to stand on principles, while others will sell their soul to kiss up to a superior. There are people who are strong minded and can handle people who don't understand the intricacies of something, and there are people who cave because they think everything that goes on is an attack on their soul and character. Sometimes those people are us; sometimes those people are the ones doing the judging.

I'm not above the judging thing. There are people I never plan to talk to based on things they've said and done on social media. There are people locally I'll never give a minute of my time to because of something they've done to irk me. None of us have to deal with people whose character we're uncomfortable with; that only makes sense.

I know I'm judged as well; that's only fair. I also know I'm judged on many more levels than a lot of people who do what I do; that's not martyrdom, it's just reality. This means I understand that there are things I either shouldn't do, or shouldn't do them so they're visible. It also means that I understand that if I decide to do them anyway, such as talk about certain topics on this blog or anywhere else, that I might alienate some people who are uncomfortable with the subject matter. I'm good with that; as we say around here, "I'ma be me!" 🙂

What about you and your career? Can you handle the fallout of having pictures posted on social media where people say certain types of things that could possibly cost you your job or your company loses potential business? Do you worry about the fairness in being free to express yourself balanced against a populace that might have alternate views? At your own company, are you willing to stand up for a principle or will you keep silent because it's in your best interest?

These are important questions to ask oneself, because the answers you come to will be important when deciding when to post certain things online, or say certain things online, or exhibit certain behaviors no matter where you are.

After you have those answers, what other people think, or say, or do when you do or don't do your thing, won't matter anymore. Just remember though; everybody's watching, all the time, and there's no getting around it.

© March
Mitch's Blog