I’m going to answer a question I received regarding my post, “How To Survive the Nightly Conference Party”. It is about the, ahem, “hooking up” that sometimes happens at conferences. Originally, I wasn’t going to get into that, but after receiving the question, and then having Gini Dietrich mention it in the comments, I decided to address it.
Let me begin with a true story.
Early in my career I attended a financial aid conference. (I was a marketing representative for student loans back in the nineties.) It was a tight knit group because there are only so many colleges and universities in the state of Florida, or any state for that matter.
As I mentioned in my post, my boss was a smart young man who wasn’t too bad looking. And, he was single. Of course, this meant that many of the young women in our state industry had their eyes on him. He didn’t help matters by flirting with them, but no harm, no foul, right?
Back to the conference in question. It had been a long conference and it was the final night, which meant people were really letting loose. As the night wore on, my boss and a client were getting “close”. The rest of us weren’t too worried because the boss had never crossed that line.
Weeelllll…the next morning I was waiting on the elevator. The doors opened and the client was standing there, horror in her eyes as she looked at me in recognition. You see, she was wearing the same clothes from the night before, and it was clear that she was doing the “walk of shame”.
I think it’s clear what happened.
The aftermath? The client was so ashamed of herself that she quit her job.
What we learned
Regardless of why the hook-up happened, it happened. The result was a loss of reputation, and damage to another. In addition to the client quitting her job, there were numerous awkward encounters between my boss and clients after that.
You must remember that you’re always working when around clients or co-workers. There is no free pass if you do something embarrassing. Even if people laugh it off, it’s still a part of your reputation.