If you’ve been watching the news the past few days, you’ve probably seen the infamous video of the FedEx deliveryman who just tosses a computer monitor delivery over a fence. Here’s the video if you haven’t seen it:
As I write this, FedEx has said that they’ve merely “disciplined” the driver, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that he didn’t have a job come January.
So why am I mentioning this on here?
I want you to step back for a moment and put yourself in this guy’s shoes. Right now, it’s Christmas, so his working conditions are pretty miserable at the moment.
He has a ton of packages deliver and a lot of pressure from his boss to make the deliveries as fast as possible – and probably personal reasons to get done quickly, too.
He has a computer monitor, strolls up to a front door of a gated house that looks pretty nice – probably in a nicer neighborhood than he can afford to live in.
He’s likely not allowed to leave the package unoccupied on the front step, so the only option is to put it over this rather tall fence.
He could try climbing up to put it over the top, but that would take him a few minutes – putting him behind schedule and probably facing the wrath of his boss and perhaps his family – and perhaps he’s afraid of heights.
He’s frustrated, he’s tired, and he just doesn’t want to deal with it, so he makes a bad call.
That one bad call has probably cost him his job and has also made him the target of a viral video and a lot of sarcasm.
I’m not justifying the behavior of the guy in the video. He obviously could have handled the situation much better than he did.
Instead, I want you to take a second and imagine one of your worst days at work. Your boss is making tons of demands on you, you’re swamped with work, you’ve got a lot of personal worries, and it looks like you’re never going to leave.
In the stress of the moment, you make a bad call.
Most of us never have that moment broadcast all over the internet. In fact, most of us are never caught when we make that bad call.
Could you have handled that situation better?
I can certainly think of my own situations like this, where I’ve simply thrown away piles of paperwork rather than dealing with them and other boneheaded moves.
Those are the moments that I do not want myself to be judged on.
I would far rather be judged by my best moments, or at least be seen as someone who can handle a challenging situation. When people judge you in this way, it can only be a benefit for your career, not a job loss.
The challenge is that, for most of us, the camera isn’t running at work.
My suggestion? If you want to establish a career reputation that will win you raises and promotions, act as if the camera is always running.
Now, imagine that FedEx video if it showed the guy carefully climbing the fence, then gently lowering the box on the other side, then ringing the doorbell. It might have never went viral, but it just might have been sent to the people at FedEx and helped out his career a little bit. I know I’ve certainly reported good work on my behalf to companies in the past.
When you’re stressed out at work and thinking about cutting corners, imagine that there’s a camera running, watching what you do next. Do you want to make a video of you looking foolish? Or do you want to make a video you’d be happy to have sent to your boss? Can you overcome the stress of the moment and do things right?
Make the best choice and your career will thank you.