I always try to be careful what I say. I don't always succeed, and from time to time I do say things I wish I hadn't, but generally I try to think of how what I say - and how I say it - may affect someone else.
I was thinking the other day of my time back at Symbian, many years ago. Back in the day, I moved down to London for work, and was just settling into a new job, a new flat and the idea that I now lived in London rather than just visited. I was young, excited and eager. All of those things have worn off with the years, but back then I was keen. Back at Symbian we used Lotus Notes for email. Yes, really. It had this peculiar habit that whenever you set an Out Of Office message, it would retrospectively send a message to all the people who had emailed you during the day. I'd never used it before working at Symbian, so I wasn't to know this. A few months into working there, I had a week off and so set an Out Of Office, as did everyone else. Unbeknownst to me, it sent a message to everyone who'd mailed me that day to say I was on holiday. This included the few people who'd sent emails all around the team. Most people probably just knew what was going on, and so deleted my email. One person didn't. They sent me a single line reply "I don't care if you're going on holiday!". No smiley. No joke.
Now my point isn't that I'm still smarting from it. I'm not, by the way. My point is that to someone who's just started at a company that makes an impression. Maybe you've had a bad day. Maybe you are trying to tell someone they've done something wrong. To me, at the time, it just made me think "people here aren't very welcoming are they?". I never consciously held against against the guy, but must admit I could never warm to him from that day onwards.
When you join a new company, you can only judge what you find and how you see it.
Of course, in these days of Twitter and Facebook and Google and Blogs, it's hard to take back anything you say. The same is true on TV. Now that we have UKTV GOLD and Drama and Yesterday and Watch you keep getting glimpses back into attitudes not that long ago. I had a bit of a shock this evening. I was watching Harry Hill's TV Burp on GOLD earlier. I actually quite like it. Yes, seriously. I've always thought it's silly but never offensive.
This episode was obviously from a little while back, just after Hayley joined Coronation St. I know Harry Hill takes a swipe at everything, but a couple of the things he said about Hayley made me sit up. He jokes about people's characters and funny things they say, and things which happen in the background. But I could've done without the comments about the fact that Hayley used to be a man. Specifically jokes with the punchline suggesting Hayley is "a fella". I'm not prudish about making jokes which are very close to the line. You should hear some of the things I say. But I just felt this was over the line, and for Harry Hill I was actually quite disappointed. I expected better.
So as I say - be careful what you say - you never know when it may come back to haunt you.