I have reached a place, professionally and as a human being, where I lean more and more heavily on the laws of karma and their self-regulation. This, in turn, means that I feel less obligated to monitor the less appealing areas of the actions of an organisation’s key people. The laws of karma will correct things when the time is right. What’s most important is to maintain my own integrity.
The great challenge is to be patient and wait for the laws of karma to take effect. Because they always do. You can count on that.
“And Denmark is only a small provincial town in your professional career”, as a competent CEO once said to me. Everybody knows everybody and has an impression of each other and will therefore be able to obtain quick, informal references via their networks. If you behave badly in one organisation, this will quickly be known in other organisations and will catch up with you at some point in your career.
Many years ago, I was hired by a manager who turned out to have a less than flattering ability to shut people up and create conflict between employees. Today, many jobs later, I’ve learnt that this person’s management style is now common knowledge.
By chance, I met with other people who had worked with the manager in question, and we shared experiences which revealed that the person had also lied about previous jobs when applying for new jobs.
Together, we learnt that nothing was wrong with us, but that many things were wrong with the manager in question. At the same time, something had also been very wrong with the recruitment process which had resulted in that manager being hired in many positions throughout the years.
The people who had interviewed that manager were simply not competent enough, and the rose-tinted references they obtained lacked authenticity as a result of the referee’s lack of integrity and perhaps also due to personal favours to the manager in question.
The laws of karma don’t only apply to people who lie about previous employment and cover previous bad behaviour but also to the people who give a false positive reference when a recruiter or future employer contacts them.
When you provide a reference for someone, you need to consider carefully whether you genuinely mean every word, because if you strongly recommend hiring someone who turns out to be organisationally unconstructive or down right destructive, this all reflects back on you and your lack of judgement. This may ultimately cost you your career. Therefore, carefully consider the integrity of the references you provide because they will be your professional trademark as much as they are the candidate’s – and who do you really want to be identified with?
You are your karma. Your way of treating others will come home to roost. The same goes for references you provide which turn out not to correspond to reality.
In conclusion, no matter whether it’s currently common that successes are reaped at other people’s expense, you can be sure that there will be a turning point where bad behaviour is no longer tolerated and the perpetrators become the persecuted. That is the ultimate law of karma, and once you have the courage to rely on karma, it is quite liberating.
Founder of the Global Voices project. Belongingness officer and an experienced People Executive.