When personal failures damage reputation

CIA Head
This week we heard CIA Director David Petraeus has stepped down from his role because of an affair with his biographer.

Damage has been done to his family, friends and his career prospects (he was tipped to be a future presidential candidate).

With any crisis like this I try and ask what can be learnt from the mess.

One clear lesson is that the days of the work life and personal life distinction are over.

Howls of protest are heard when recruiters search facebook for drunken photos of applicants. But how naive it was to assume that we can sustain separate identities for separate purposes.

Drunk on the weekend, sober on weekdays. A cheat at home, an angel at work. It doesn’t work like that and it never has.

The truth is our worst moments reflect a part of our true identity just as much as our best.

The only option we have is to be ourselves all the time– transparently. Sure, we can improve ourselves, expect better and try harder.

But in the end it’s the hiding, the lies, double standards and deceit that ruin our reputation.