Now I write this post not as an apologist for crappy things that happen in your past.  But not all moments in your career are wonderful.  I try (ok, not in the moment and even sometimes many years later) to see what (if anything) can I learn.  I know – I’m tired of making lemonade out of lemons too but the truth is I really have learned from many of them.

I once had a senior (can’t remember if he was a director or vp) leader once call me into his office after I had given my two weeks notice.  Now keep in mind that I didn’t really interact much with this leader.  I’ll spare you all the details but at one point he explained to me that I was trying to code as if I was building a Cadillac and all the client wanted (and paid for) was a chevy.  I am not a car person but I still understood what he was trying to tell me in that moment.  My response was that’s why I was going somewhere that wanted me to build quality software.  And this continued back and forth until finally he said “You are making a huge mistake with your career.”  To say this conversation was unnerving and intimidating would be an understatement.  

This moment is when my narrative that I never wanted to be an executive started.   That I wondered for years and years whether he would be right. Clearly, this had a huge negative impact on me.  

But it also had a huge positive impact on how I lead.  I like to believe that he didn’t intentional mean to do those things.  I could see how he might be frustrated by the turnover.  I could see how he might have felt like the company invested in me and I was not honoring that.  I could see how he felt stressed and didn’t know how to proceed forward.  Again, I’m not excusing it but it was a warning for me.  That it was important on how I show up as a leader in moments similar to this.  I’ve encouraged people to leave when things were not a fit.  I’ve helped people prep for interviews elsewhere.  I’ve given so many recommendations for current and past people.   I choose to see people first and not what I need or don’t need in the organization.  Simply, I don’t see it as a betrayal when people leave but as an opportunity…for them, for the company and even for me.   

That crappy thing helped me learn who I didn’t want to be.  And being able to learn from the past, helped me be who I am today.   

What can you learn from the past?

Tricia Broderick

Tricia Broderick

Tricia Broderick is a leadership and organizational advisor. Her transformational leadership at all levels of an organization, ignites growth of leaders and high performing teams to deliver quality outcomes. Tricia has more than twenty years of experience in the software development industry. She is a highly-rated trainer, coach, facilitator and motivational keynote speaker. Beyond her extensive knowledge and skills, her biggest offering is inspiring people to believe anything is possible.

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