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Author's profile photo Colleen Hebbert

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 🙂

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      Author's profile photo Steffi Warnecke
      Steffi Warnecke

      Great blog again, Colleen!

      Everybody wants to be remembered positively, I think. Wants to leave something good behind (not just professionally, but also in the private life).

      I've had such a mentor. He was my first boss, when I started in this IT industry as an intern. During the next almost 10 years that I was a part of his team, I learned so very much, especially about how to communicate with people and about myself. I grew in knowledge and confidence and that was only possible, because of his trust, his guidance and his patience, because he had my back and delegated responsibilities to me. And he wasn't above to ask for help from me in return, so it because a real exchange over the years.

      I was really lucky to start my work life under his wings. His mentorship formed me into the person I am today and I'm absolutly grateful for it. And I might not be part of his team anymore, but we still have contact and I really, REALLY look forward to visit my old team next month, where we will spent some time with IDM and a lot of time reminiscing. 😀

      And yes, I try do work with the thought in mind, that somebody has to understand, what something is for and why it is the way it is (for example my colleague, who is my reduncancy ^^). That's why I'm trying to build up a nice, big, explainy documentation for the systems I'm responsible for. At the moment I concentrate on my IDM and am pretty happy with the way the docu is growing and how I am able to streamline the system more and more, so that's easier for me to administrate and for him to support, when I'm away on vacation (or something).



      Author's profile photo Marilyn Pratt
      Marilyn Pratt

      Speechless for once. Yes. Gratitude is an attitude as much as that sounds like a cliché. If you view what you do as privileged work it simply is. Thank you for reminding us all. I'm sure I would be pleased to work alongside you. I'm sure you demand the same high standards of yourself that you expect from others. See you soon!