Our first day on the job was the same weird day. We sat in a conference room with other new employees, going over the standard orientation process, and when the round-the-table introductions came to me, he chimed in with “I think I’m your manager.” The company was in disarray, so for about a week we couldn’t even figure out whether that was true. It was.
That strange state of affairs permeated our year together as colleagues. I’d never had a manager so honestly share his own confusion and frustration with me, as we fought together to complete half-done projects and confusing organizational challenges. He trusted me enough to take me with him into situations where we couldn’t see a winning angle. I grew as a professional approximately ten years, condensed into one.
About 5 years after I left his team, I co-wrote a book and thanked him in the foreword. My then-current workplace hosted an event that I knew he’d attend, so I prepared a thank you note and a copy of that book especially for him. Giving it to him was the last time I saw him, since he passed away about a year later during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I’m going to absurd lengths to tell this story because I’m reflecting on his life from the perspective of our professional relationship. The Boring Enterprise Nerdletter feels like an appropriate place to share some of those reflections.
If someone has positively influenced you in your professional journey, tell them. Tell them as soon as it occurs to you.
- They deserve to hear it. If they’ve had a positive impact, it is likely because they are actively trying to do so.
- Expressing gratitude is its own reward.
- You don’t always get the chance. I nearly missed my chance with my former manager, and I know I’d regret it if I had.
Just tell them. PM