Unless you work for yourself and your business becomes an overnight sensation (ie: YouTube, MySpace), it takes years and years to build your reputation and success in what you do. Don Imus has spent the majority of his life building his radio personality career and has recently signed a 5 year, $50 million contract with CBS. As most of you have probably already heard, his most recent comments last Wednesday where he referred to the Rutgers women’s basketball team (who just lost in the NCAA national championship game to Tennessee) as a bunch of “nappy headed hoes”. The following day on his show, Imus In The Mornings, he went on to say, “I don’t understand what the problem is, really.” It was an “idiot comment meant to be amusing.” Obviously, these racist comments sent controversy all over the air waves.
Many people, lead mostly by prominent African Americans like Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton and Tony Dungee called for Imus’s firing. MSNBC, who picks up a TV version of his radio show, immediately fired Don Imus. CBS began discussion about what to do with his radio show, which accounts for over $15 million in annual revenue for CBS. Proctor and Gamble and General Electric, along with other big companies dropped their sponsorship agreements with CBS costing them even more money. Finally yesterday it was announced that Don Imus would be fired from his radio show.
How Does This Apply To Your Career
There are some valuable lessons to learn from this incident.
- Even when you’ve made it to the top, never stop working at keeping your reputation clean.
- Be constantly aware of the circumstances you are in. Constantly assess your surroundings.
- Always act with the utmost professionalism when on the job.
- When political games are being played, it is best to stay as far away from them as possible.
- When someone evokes a deep negative emotional reaction in you, DO NOT react immediately. Go back to your office and think it through before reacting. Sleep on it if you have to.
- When you make a public mistake, admit it right away and offer a sincere, genuine apology.
What do you guys think of Don Imus’ comments and firing? Do you think he deserved to be fired over one comment? You can let us know in the comments below.