I Stole Gummy Bears. Will You Still Hire Me?

I Stole Gummy Bears. Will You Still Hire Me?

In Chronicles of a CEO by Rebecca Liston

If we were all held to the same level of public scrutiny as those in the “limelight,” those who we had elected to office or otherwise somehow “made into stars” in our minds, who among us would still be “hire-able?”

This is one of many questions I am pondering this morning less than 24 hours after the news broke that the Mayor of my city had an affair with the Deputy Mayor.

And so today’s post is really a post that will have more questions than answers, for I am so interested in the dialogue that may come of it, and I still really haven’t fully wrapped my head around how I feel about it all just yet.

If an elected official, who, in a round-about way, is someone that we as a community “hired” for the job, would we fire them for having a consensual affair?

At what point is a person’s personal life their own?

If your employee smoked pot on the weekends and attended orgies, would you fire them?

If you knew this about a person you were about to hire, would you hire them?

Where, in our own minds, is the “line” around “behaviour outside of work” that we draw? Do we draw the line at illicit drug use but not at hitting your child? Do we draw the line at prostitution but not at leaving your dog in the car in 32 degree heat? Do we draw the line at drinking “one too many” at the pub but not at the littering, the dangerous driving, the screaming at the cashier when she didn’t get our change right, or any other of the myriad of “bad behaviours” that people do?

Would you hire someone you knew was a recovering drug addict?

Would you hire someone who, rumour had it, hit his wife?

Would you hire someone who told you that once he stole a muffin from the local bake shop?

And, if you already employed people who you knew these things about, would you then fire them?

At what point does this all impact one’s ability to Do The Job – and to do it well?

When I was 12, I stole gummy bears from the local variety store.

Does that make me “un-hireable?”

Recently, the entire concept of “vulnerability” and “openness” and “authenticity” has been bantered about when it comes to marketing.

“People want to know the REAL YOU,” is what we are being told.

“People want to know Who You Are so that they can connect with you. It builds trust. They’ll hire you then.”

And yet what we are being shown in and around our communities doesn’t always support that.

The Mayor has an affair with a consenting adult, he is open about it, and people want him to resign. He may never get re-elected. People may never “hire” him again.

And so it brings these questions to my mind: How much is TOO MUCH for people to know about us?

I’ve a semi-colon tattoo which is a “mark” of a survivor. It says to people, “I have dealt with mental illness and I’ve lived to tell the tale.”

Does knowing that about me make you less likely to hire me?

If you knew that I once threw a plate of pasta on the floor because I was just so angry at the situation that I was in, would you say, “Wow, that woman is human, just like me. She’ll be able to relate to me. I will hire her.” Or would you draw the line there and think, “No way. She is so not for me.”

These are the questions on my mind this morning as I ponder marketing and business and so I want to hear your thoughts.Where do you draw lines in the sand about the things that you consider acceptable (or not) behaviours in the people that you hire? When you market your own services, how do you decide if what you are sharing in the effort to be authentic and open is “too much” for others to know? Are there things about yourself that you “hold back” for fear that they may make you “un-hireable” in their eyes? Inquiring minds want to know! Please post in the comments section or email me your thoughts Rebecca@rebeccaliston.com because I think these are the sorts of questions we need to ponder, together.


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Rebecca Liston helps her clients predict, pivot, and compete in an increasingly complex global marketplace. Her clients quickly uncover the root of their challenges and know the actions to take to overcome them. A six-time nominee for the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Award, Rebecca combines business strategy with intuition, giving her clients the edge on forward-thinking, elegant answers to their most complicated problems. Her clients are entrepreneurs with CEO-mindsets and executives with entrepreneurial instincts. She is based in London, Ontario. What if you could get the answer to your biggest business challenge, in one sitting? Visit rebeccaliston.com to find out more.