69% Been Professionally Betrayed (BUT, Whether Or Not To Forgive Is Up For Discussion!)

By J.T. O'Donnell Last week, we offered a survey to readers to determine how many: A) had ever lost respect for someone they'd admired professionally and, B) if they'd forgive them and keep the professional relationship alive. The results are in and all I can say is....WOW. There's a lot of professional betrayal out there! Take a look... QUESTION #1: Has a mentor or someone you had great professional respect for ever done something to cause you to lose respect for them?Yes - 69%No - 31%QUESTION #2: If you answered 'yes,' choose one of the following to best describe what they did:Cheated - 24.1% Lied - 17.2% Stole - 6.9% Took Undue Credit - 10.3% Sabotaged - 10.3% Other - 31% (Here are some examples of what people listed as 'other')
Stole..... He Owes me $2,000.
Demonstrated arrogance and poor business decisions.
No back bone to stand up to upper managment.
Not supported staff that dedicated themselves to the company mission.
Didn't disclose that he was being paid to promote something on his radio show. He claimed he was a commentator, so he wasn't in the same boat as a Journalist. I disagree.
Used questionable business ethics
It could be classified as sabotaged--or took so little time making a big decision, that her ineptitude lost the company (a non-profit) a lot of money.
Ignored sexual harassment occuring within their staff
Stole funds, lied about it, asked me to lie about it, and then fired me to keep the whole thing quiet.
QUESTION #3: If you answered 'yes,' were you able to forgive the person and maintain the professional relationship?Yes - 48.3%No - 51.7%Here are some comments that support each choice:
I just never looked at him the same! He is an asshole! (to be blunt about it)
I lost respect.
I was able to remain professional, but I could not longer respect that person.
I struggled with this for about 6 months. His "mistakes" were discovered after he left the company, but I still talk to him professionally. We are "cooler" now, but I want to keep the communication going - I really like the guy - he just had very poor judgement.
I accept that this does happen in business sometimes, but it is difficult to stomach when actions by senior management go against company values.
I reported the individual, and was terminated for gross insubordination. The individual was let go 6 months later when my report was investigated and found out to have been 100% accurate.
I would not want to be associated with a person known for lying, cheating, stealing, etc...
They were fired and left the area so it was easier to forgive as I did not have to maintain the relationship
Will not ever trust the person again but was not going to quit my job over it.
I haven't kept in touch with him since that incident.
over time, I came to see that they did the best they could and I've rebuilt my life.
I don't choose my mentors lightly, so that may be why I've never had this experience, but I suppose I'm one of the lucky few that hasn't had their hopes crushed by someone that didn't realize there were so many people looking up to them.
No. I distanced myself from her, professionally, and ultimately the company, who stood behind her decision, despite her messing up.
I would maintain the relationship only on a strictly professional level. Forgive - no! It always stayed in the back of my mind. Do I want to be associated with this person - no. Do I need to maintain professional working relationship - yes.
I never felt safe in their office again. I could maintain a professional relationship but I was not capable of forgiving their lack of action.
There's no way I can explain why I'm unemployed w/o sounding like I'm badmouthing him or the company. His reputation is sterling throughout our channel, so w/o a legal battle I have nothing.
These results make me wonder:

Does the choice to forgive or not depends on the severity of the betrayal?

Are some people just more forgiving than others, or are they actually looking out for their own best interersts?

In fact, who makes out better professionally...those who forgive, or those who don't?

In my experience, the professional world is a really, really small one. Here are some things that come to mind:
  • 80%+ of all jobs are gotten via referral.
  • Networking is the #1 proven best method for job search right now.
  • The '6 Degrees of Separation' theory applies well to job search and career development.
These days, there's a new level of transparency in the working world. Reputations are made and broken in a single action - and those actions are generally highly publicized via on-line tools. So, can we afford not to forgive? Who can predict the future and what might occur based on our choice right now? Could choosing not to forgive hurt us in the long-run? Please share your thoughts below...