You began your career as a relative snot-nosed kid and even though you performed well, you drank a little too much at parties, missed work or was late once in a while because of those late-night parties. Remember the time that you embarrassed your boss just a little bit at a business function with a little bit of a smartass remark or you thought it was a real good idea to “tell the truth” about what was going on in the department at a department meeting and irritated everybody.
Remember, in spite of all of this, you got promoted and your newfound “authority” went to your head and you were the ‘cock of the walk’ for some time. Until, of course, your department didn’t do so well and your boss’s boss implied it was your fault. And then there was a time when you and your department were the number one department for the year… and you reminded everybody about it for a very, very long time. Remember the time that you played favorites with one of your direct employees and everybody could see it. Remember when you told one of your employers where they could take their job and stuff it, just before he resigned and went to another company. Remember when you let your personal life get in the way of your performance and, even worse, when everybody in your organization knew about it because you talked about it incessantly.
Remember when you got “encouraged” to leave a company with the understanding that as long as you left quietly, no one needed to know the real reason. Remember the year you were promoted again, knowing that it was as much politics as it was performance and half of the folks didn’t think you deserved it. Remember when you rub it in with the people that didn’t think you deserved it and, even though you performed extremely well, you reminded them from time to time how they didn’t support you.
And, as your career grew, even though you performed well, you made a couple of enemies and instead of making peace, you fanned the fire and made it clear that it was you versus them. In fact, you got a little bit of a competitive charge out of it, thinking that kind of scenario just comes with business. All along you kind of just figured that you’re always going to have some kind of enemies and it wasn’t any big deal.
Well, a month or so ago a real good opportunity to change jobs came along and you went for it. It was a VP job and a real step up from what you been doing. After the third interview, the company you were interviewing with checked a “backdoor” reference with some people you had worked with before. And in the process, one, some, or all of the things you “remember” got uncovered. It just cost you the job.
Might be too late for you, but you might want to remind the kids that work for you even one or two levels below you that whatever you do as you climb the ladder will be remembered and you will be cursed or blessed by what others remember also.