For California’s three million-plus licensed professionals, the name of the game is to stay off their licensing agency’s radar screen. If you run into a problem, you want to make it go away, or at worst, suffer as little damage as possible. Here are some tips:

1) Get Out of a Problem Workplace: Many license problems arise from reporting by employers to licensing agencies, and can come from spiteful employers and arise from employee conflicts. If you have a bad feeling, get out before you are the subject of a complaint.

2) Solve Your Personal Problems Before They Become License Problems: Alcohol and drug abuse, followed by physical and mental issues, can trigger serious safety concerns for a licensing agency. Seek prompt treatment so that your personal issue doesn’t become a public safety concern that causes the loss of your license.

3) Take Great Care of Your Customers (or Patients, or Clients): When you are wrongly accused of course defend yourself, but if you have made a mistake, fix it, if the customer deserves a refund, make it, if an apology is due, give it. Hurt feelings, refusal to make an account adjustment or rudeness can trigger a license discipline nightmare.

4) Be Honest with Your Licensing Agency: If you are caught in a lie and shatter the trust placed in you by your licensing agency, the lie will almost always overshadow the behavior you wanted to cover up. Most licensing agencies are poorly staffed and rely upon the honesty of licensees when they make an inquiry or do an inspection. Betraying this trust can cost you your license.

5) Keep Your Address Information Up to Date: If your licensing agency has a problem and can’t reach you, they may assume your guilt or never get your side of the story. You could be disciplined or lose your license and not even know it! A license hanging on a wall means nothing if, unbeknownst to you, the license has expired or has been revoked.