Book available online or at your local bookstore. Temeko Richardson

You Are The Company You Keep

Forget you are what you eat.  There is a lot more to be said about being associated with the company you keep.   It not only makes or breaks your image but it impedes your ability to progress. When you have negative people around you, it requires you to step up the notch in being positive.   If people around you are feeding off your advice and they bring nothing to the table, it becomes draining and you lose the drive you once had if you don't quickly find like-minded individuals.

Every wonder why some companies perform background checks?  Did you stop to think why important security clearance jobs require not only a detailed view and check of the agent's life but everyone associated to the agent?  It is because the company you keep can jeopardize a company's mission or your employer's goals of having a positive image.  The people around you can compromise the integrity of not only you but your employer.   After all, would you hire a professional driver that had several DUIs?  Would you keep a personal assistant that had access to your professional contacts, emails and voicemails if he/she has an emotionally unstable spouse that has a criminal history of carrying a concealed weapon?  Do not invite unnecessary drama into your professional life.

Sounds over the top but you must think these things through before bringing people on board.  Here are some ways to protect yourself:

1). Get references from as far back as 3 to 5 years. People grow over time, or at least we hope.  This will give you a measurement on how far they have come. Everyone deserves a second chance but do not be the person giving the sixth and seventh chance.
2). Stick to three strikes and out. If deadlines are missed due to lame excuses and the person is skilled in no other areas, only let this be acceptable three times.  Anything past three times is recipe for your disaster, especially if the person works closely with you or is recommended by you.  People will start to think less of you if you do not distance yourself.
3). Hire a background check company that takes information on the application and verifies he is who he says he is. Did he tell you in the interview that he was single but the background check shows marriage certificate with no pending divorce?  If a person lies about the simple for employment, how far will he stretch the truth while employed?
4). Listen to other professionals when they mention the person's name. If there are negative connotations that point to aloofness, tardiness, laziness, or just plain idiot - do not try to play save the world. Cut ties!

Run, Forest, Run!  It takes longer to recover from a negative reputation than it does to build a positive one.  Distance is key!

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