Do you understand the consequences of your actions?

My German Shepherd, Buddy, who is 10 months old right now love to play ball. He is fairly good at listening to me but every once in awhile, he does things his own way.

My office is on our second floor and from the windows, you can see forever but if you walk out the back patio door, the massive tiered deck will take you into the backyard. On the west side, the deck is as high as my office floor, and there is a steep drop off. When you walk off the top tier onto the lower tier, you only have a few steps to be on level ground.

Buddy loves to play ball. With our electric fence blocking parts of the yard, if Buddy drops the ball off the top deck, a human (usually me) has to go get it. In Wisconsin in February, that means I have to trudge down a slope through the snow and over ice. I make him wait but eventually I retrieve his ball.


Buddy is a very bright German Shepherd puppy and I do believe to some extent he understands the consequences of dropping his ball but it doesn’t mean he will never do it. He will listen when I say don’t but when I turn my back or get busy doing something else, he will drop the ball anyway.

People struggle with the consequences of their actions too. Using their better judgment, most people will lean toward doing the right thing. But there are times when peer pressure or perhaps the lure of promised rewards will sway someone from doing the right thing to doing something less than desirable or perhaps even illegal.

The problem with this in the work place is that when we don’t look at the consequences of our actions and proceed anyway, it may make us lose our job.

Let’s look at a couple scenarios just to make sure I am being clear:

  • Under normal circumstances, you get to work a few minutes early. But you start noticing that your peers are often 5 minutes late and so you shift closer and soon you too are late. If you think you can get away with it, it becomes a pattern.
  • You usually never miss work but you see your friends who work elsewhere taking off for a day at the beach or to go golfing. Suddenly you too call in sick when you are not. The no show effect.
  • You were brought up to be respectful to everyone. You notice your coworkers mouthing off or dropping curse words. You start little by little trying to fit in and soon you sound just like them.
  • You are cautious about your online presence but you see everyone else sharing photos or talking about things that you probably shouldn’t. Soon you too start ranting online and sharing photos that paint you in a less than desirable light.

These are just simple examples but you should get the idea. Anytime we follow either our own wayward path or our friends or coworkers, we run the risk of having to suffer the consequences.

Unlike Buddy, we are capable of always making the right decisions and understanding consequences but we don’t always want to be the one doing the right thing.

Unfortunately, the 2012 economy means that more employers are evaluating their employees by their actions and paying attention to attitude. When budgets are tight, you may be the one to go.

Yes, you thought since everyone was doing it, it was OK but lets start thinking about the consequences. What do you think?

Stuck in your job search or just ready to move on or up from your existing position? Julie Walraven, a Wausau, Wisconsin-based professional resume writer and career marketing strategist, can help you get ready for your next role! To find out how, Click here!


  1. Daly @ Shade Seed on February 24, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    I think that people only now grasp the fact that the stuff they put on the Internet is there forever. We are now more connected than ever, and each and every less flattering thing about you online can get to the wrong screen very fast.

    Before, it was – “The Internet is so big, nobody will ever know!”

    Today – “The Internet is so big, but your boss will find out.”

    • Julie Walraven on February 25, 2012 at 7:03 am

      So wise, Daly! And yet every day many people post things that in the past no one would have ever posted. I think some people think they are immune to getting caught.

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