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When Protecting Your Reputation Isn’t Worth It

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A couple of days ago I was reading a blog post by Rose DesRochers called The Online Reputation of Rose DesRochers. In the post, she talks about being asked to write a guest post for another blog, yet when she submitted the post she was told by the person that he had seen something negative about her and had decided he didn’t want her post.

One thing about the internet is that anyone can say anything about you, and often you won’t know anything about it. Sometimes you do, and you can engage in one of those things where you want to debate against someone or turn around and do the same thing to them. This type of thing isn’t new, especially to online issues. On my other blog last year I wrote about another woman who won the right through the federal courts to find out who was slandering and libeling her online by hiding behind a blog using a fake name. Of course the woman who was outed didn’t like it, tried to sue Google, then dropped it when she realized she didn’t have a chance, and was stupid to begin with for saying the things she did about the other woman.

There are times when one has to work hard in protecting their reputations. There are other times when it’s not worth the trouble, for one reason or another. Not all of these things are online; I’m going to tell my story.

About 2 1/2 years ago, I was doing a consulting assignment at a hospital in New York City. The top finance guy in charge was one of those guys who was all about one thing; getting money for the hospital. I understand how that works; it’s something I work on doing myself in my health care consulting business. The thing is that there were some things the hospital wasn’t doing that, according to the rules of the state, they needed to be doing. I had the person in charge of that area to start fulfilling the requirements of the state. What that did, unfortunately, was reduce the amount of money the hospital was getting every week.

That irked this guy to no end. The thing is, he was the one who actually brought the issue to my attention in a way, and I told him I was going to do it once I discovered what the rule was. We even had a meeting with a lot of other people where I explained what was going on, that he had asked about it, and that it was a short term issue that would soon be resolved.

Eventually I knew I couldn’t work with this guy and said I was leaving. He said something that was very unkind to me, in front of a witness, proving just what kind of man he was. Over the course of my last two weeks, he never said a word to me. Even my last week there, when I turned out to be correct, and the hospital had its best cash week of the year, he refused to say anything nice or wonder what I might have done to help them get that great week.

In the time I’ve been gone, he’s refused to pay the company that he had contracted with. That wasn’t surprising because I told the company that I knew he was never going to pay them. This guy has also continued to try to trash me, saying I was the worst guy they ever had there. Yes, miles away, but I still hear this stuff.

Now, I could have said something earlier and more direct. I certainly could have turned him and his hospital in to the state authorities, which I thought about many times, for fraudulent practices. This guy did a lot of illegal things that I and others knew about. I brought a couple of things to his attention, and his response to me was “did we get paid?” Folks, that’s illegal; you don’t do illegal things just to get paid. But there was no one to go to about any of this at the time except the state; lucky for me, I found the issues, but none of them happened on my watch.

The thing is that this man is unscrupulous and many people know about him. I’ve mentioned his name in other circles and no one has ever had a good word to say about him. Even one of his supposed friends said she had lost all respect for him because he wasn’t paying her either, and he owed her millions. So, my thinking overall was, and still is, that it’s really not worth going after this man with everything I could muster (I do happen to know a lot about how the internet works; I could easily crush this man’s reputation online and get away with it, as it would all be true, and he’d never know who did it) because his word means nothing to anyone. He has no sense of honor, and almost everyone who knows him knows that. I have suffered not one bit because of anything he’s tried to tell others. If he knew what I knew about him, he’d be kneeling in my presence hoping I’d stay quiet. Actually he wouldn’t, because he’s not smart enough to know just how much he’s disliked.

As I said earlier, there are times when one has to protect their reputation in some form. Then there are other times when you have to look at where that kind of thing is coming from and not get into the fray. Knee-jerk reactions often end with two casualties. Measured responses can work wonders if needed; if not, don’t waste your time doing or thinking about it. Go on about your business, and know that your reputation is just fine.

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