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Should cheating ruin your career?

It can potentially ruin your marriage, but what about your professional life?

By The Married Chick Nov 14, 2012 3:09PM
Photo: ShutterstockBy now, you’ve heard a lot about General David Petraeus’s cheating scandal with biographer Paula Broadwell. The affair cost the four-star general and top commander in Iraq and Afghanistan dearly. For starters, it led to his resignation as CIA Director. And now, the media is speculating about the state of his 38-year marriage to Holly Petraeus.

Experts largely agree that the general did the right thing by resigning. Petraeus "understood that his institutional leadership was fatally compromised, by his own actions,” says Heather Hurlburt, executive director of the National Security Network, in a US News & World Report column. “You can’t both lead the CIA and recover from a public betrayal of your family,” adds Mieke Eoyang, director of Third Way’s National Security Program.

But what about the rest of us? If you’re, say, a journalist or a doctor or a teacher, could cheating on your spouse sink your career? (And I’m excluding affairs with minors here, just to be clear.) In my opinion, what you do in your personal life shouldn’t be cause for dismissal from your job, so long as national security isn’t at stake and you're meeting your employer’s expectations. That doesn’t mean I think it’s right to cheat on your spouse -- it’s definitely not -- but I don’t think that an affair should have a negative impact on your livelihood.

What do you think?

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Photo: Shutterstock

Nov 18, 2012 5:00PM

When it comes to high profile people, do not compare yourself to them.  Most of them will eventually land on their feet but career wise, you will land on your head.  I have seen it happen.


Clinton, Schwartzenegger, Spitzer,Larry Craig, etc., all have the money and influence to get around these scandals but you don't.  Being terminated for sexual harassment or misconduct could have you living out of shopping cart very quickly.


As for Petraeus, if you are the head of the CIA and can't keep something like this a secret, this probably isn't the job for you. 

Nov 18, 2012 4:24PM

Ok first and foremost, this took place while he was the Commander in Afghanistan.  I'm retired military that served in Afghanistan and I can tell you that his action violated HIS own General Order(GO).  It is actually GO #1, no cohabitation or sexual intercourse, hell you can not even be in a member of the opposites sex room.  I have personally seen a few military careers ruined for less then what he did.  in addition cheating on your spouse is also in direct violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice(UCMJ).  I was called in front of my Commander once and read my rights for perceived cheating. 


This goes way beyond cheating in the workplace, this is a Commanding General in direct violation of the UCMJ, and his own orders.  He should be treated just as he would treat a Private under his command for the same offense. Stripped of rank, money, and possible discharge with NO benefits.

Nov 18, 2012 4:11PM
Let's see, the word is "cheating", do we need to say more.  How about stealing? or lieing? do these affect the work place?  Duh.  People allow all sorts of things and think up reasons for allowing it.  In this case, it had to do with confidential information.  People tend to reveal all sorts of things to those that they are shacking up with.  It goes to show character of lack of it.  Sorry folks, it just ain't right.
Nov 18, 2012 3:51PM
Cheating is a personal thing between consenting parties and is always wrong, I have noticed that one spouse or the other will not leave unless they have someone to go to especially women, sometimes it is getting away with something as with most men who see it as prowess and now with same sex marriage the pain will be worse because Marriage means commitment and the thinking that a piece of paper will guarantee fidelity or the wrong thinking that you have some claim on the other person when all it means is that you will need a lawyer to sort it all out thus creating employment for the lawyers. It should not affect your job unless it causes your performance to suffer or you involve others to help you cheat like asking others to lie to your spouse for you. Matters of national security is another matter. Clinton should have resigned but liberals don't see it that way.
Nov 18, 2012 3:22PM
Hey! Thats the General and his Wifes PROBLEM! What business is it YOURS! unless ya wanna RUB IT IN and OUT!
Nov 18, 2012 3:12PM
At that level, cheating can destroy a career only if you are a prominent Republican.  If you are a Democrat, is laugh at by the media and swept under the rug by the Administration. It helps if you cry a little and apologize to the American people
Nov 18, 2012 3:01PM
It's funny how a sex scandal is all over the news and  we get sites with questions like this about affairs ruining careers yet we ignore some other very serious crimes, MSN had one story with NO comment section and no follow up on General Wards STEALING from the American people. He was a 4 star general that was caught misusing government property and money for his own personal gain. He was ordered to pay $82,000 in restitution (probably mimimal to what he stoled) and was demoted to a 3 star general. It did take $30,000 away from his retirement a year down to approx. $208,000 per year. Yet he still has a job, no news agencies writing stories about what kind of punishment he deserves etc.. This man thought he had a right to a high lifestyle, that  it was just fine to house his wife in fancy hotel suites at taxpayer expense and appears to have no remorse for it. SHOULDN"T THEIVES be punished rather getting a little slap on the wrist like this guy??? Seems like he's been told that was a no-no and don't get caught doing it again.
Nov 18, 2012 2:44PM

It is not a far leap to think that if a person will cheat on their spouse that they will cheat on their work, If you do not love your spouse then just separate and get a divorce. If you are cheating on your spouse then you have a vulerability and are susceptable to blackmail or extortion. Many times those cheating on their spouse wind up with problems that spill over into the workplace, How many times do we have to read about the spouses of those who have been cheated on going to the workplace and confronting and even injuring and or killing the involved and even uninvolved parties becoming victims because of workplace cheating.

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