Leave the place better than you found it
They are the ones who put their hand up to attack the “too hard” pile. Those pesky system issues or process problems that everyone else attempts to solve and find there are too many hurdles or such a mess they have nowhere to start. They dissipate the negativity in the room and remove the barriers so we can move forward. They rally the troops and convince the cynics of the need for change.
They are the true guru/gods/awesome people who are the go to people for everything. They may not have the answer but always have enough words of wisdom to repoint us in the right direction or provide encouragement and validation of the pathway we have chosen (even when it’s not the most popular or easiest choice).
They are the teachers. They freely impart knowledge and provide tips to build a better solution. They clarify and remove confusion. They are our mentors. They want you to succeed in your endeavours.
They are not infallible. They own their mistakes and lead in the rectification and solution. They have the strength to admit when they are wrong. They have the confidence (and lack of ego) to raise the voice of a lesser known person in the room who has the better idea and solution.
They work hard. They are passionate and committed to their work. They take pride in what they do. They fix the root cause. They find the risks and fix before they become problems. They do not design, build or deliver just to “get things over the line”. They consider those who replace them. They will never say “Not my job”.
They eventually leave.
We no longer have those people on the receiving end of our emails, messengers and chats. We no longer walk down the hallways at work to pick their brains. We all must continue working to the best of our abilities. We discover our own strength and ability to step up and fill the void.
Marilyn Pratt is one of those people. Read her farewell (or see you later) and the comments to see her (virtual) team’s appreciation. Her legacy to our global community is whatwouldmarilyndo or WWMD for short.
As I have followed other SCNers post words of appreciation to Marilyn’s blog I thought about our approaches in the workplace. What sort of reputation can we build, even when it’s a short period of time? What state do we leave designs, documentation and systems in when we leave? Would we be remembered fondly by our colleagues after the cake has been eaten and the card has been read?
I would be arrogant to think or expect that I leave each workplace and am remembered forever. But I’ll still try though (my personality flaw is to be liked). And with a motto of WWMD, I am continually driven to work as smart and as hard as I can so I leave each workplace and its systems in a better place than I arrived (or at least no worse).
I’m forever grateful to people like Marilyn – we are yet to meet but I feel like she is a colleague I bid farewell.
Do you have someone in your workplace who you find irreplaceable? How have they helped you in your career growth? Do you consider those who must take continue the work you have done?
P.S. – please post on Marilyn’s blog if you want to send her your appreciation 🙂