Lessons from the I.R.S. Dance Video for #SHRM13

Things that don’t seem embarrassing at the time can come back to haunt you. 

Shock-ed

Shock-ed (Photo credit: CarbonNYC)

The SHRM Annual Conference (#SHRM13) is just around the corner. Make no mistake, this conference is all about top of the line education, speakers and access to an HR network that is second to none.

That being said, #SHRM13 comes complete with numerous official and unofficial networking events and after parties (get your VIP Party Guide here). So it goes without saying that in addition to world class education and networking, we’ll also be having more than our fair share of fun.

All of this came to mind today when I saw the I.R.S. Dance Video:

Whoa.

What gets me about this video is how spectacularly unflattering it is to the employees involved. Maybe I’m assuming innocence, but I’m leaning towards thinking that these employees were taking part in what they considered to be sanctioned activities as part of a conference.

It reminded me that there is likely footage of me in a hula hoop contest at last year’s HR Southwest Conference floating around somewhere. I don’t necessarily mind; I can hula hoop like a champ and I can own that. But what if I couldn’t? What if I assumed that there was some sort of anonymity or privacy involved when I jumped in to that contest? What if I got in to trouble because of it?

Therein lies the rub.

We are just as likely to have our reputations hurt by a seemingly innocuous event as we are an obviously embarrassing one.

Here’s why:

The ‘not so obvious’ embarrassing moment is deceptive. It lurks in activities that seem innocent enough, and causes trouble only when these activities are unexpectedly brought to light. Most often these events come to light with the best of intentions. The publisher sees someone in an innocent, noteworthy situation, but its publication inadvertently causes the person involved embarrassment.

As for those ‘obviously embarrassing moments’, well, they speak for themselves.

So when it comes to #SHRM13 (all conferences for that matter) and life in general, the old rule applies:

Don’t do anything that you wouldn’t want published on the front page of your local newspaper.

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