Note: this is part of an old blog post that I broke in two parts. I’m rewriting the first part to make it more insightful. But this last part is copy/pasted directly and is mainly an acknowledgement to my old manager giving me the chance to have that experience.
Have you heard “people leave bosses not the companies”? Its opposite is also mostly true: people join bosses not the companies. At least for me that has been the case.
When I wanted to jump on the PM bandwagon, I got interviews at 2 companies. Both gave me an offer but the one that I eagerly accepted was led by a great fellow that I really clicked with. He was a successful entrepreneur and VP of Products for one of the biggest companies in Scandinavia. He had a deep domain knowledge and was modest and humble enough to share it any time. He was always available for help and with his friendly eye contact you knew he’s there when you need him. When I joined the team I found out that the team that passed through his filter also shared a lot of these attitudes despite being very diverse. In The Charisma Myth, Cabane explains that the secret formula for charisma is:
- Those who have power
- We feel that they care about us
When someone has both, he or she will be irresistibly attractive. My boss had charisma —the ultimate tool in the people-skills toolbox if you will.
For those of you who’ve read my blog in the past, my love and respect for great leaders is not a secret. It turned out my choice paid back very well. He, gave me time and place to grow into my dream job. He defined a framework to guide me through my path and exposed me to resources and methods to do my best as a PM. I enjoyed great mentorship from some of the best PMs in the field. Seeing one step ahead, he also made it a rule that I shouldn’t pressure myself too much and there are no expectations for a year from me.
I never gave up on this opportunity because I wanted to thank him by proving that his bet on me was right. That led to a lot of pressure on myself (being ambitious didn’t work in my favor here). This eventually made me sick and I had to stay/work from home for 2 weeks. Fortunately in one of our talks he brought it up and we got a chance to have a decent conversation about how this whole programmer to PM transition is working for me. We decided that it’s best to put an end to this madness. This was such a relief because I don’t have to live somebody else’s dream anymore.
All said, I’m thankful for being given the chance to chase what I thought was my dreams and then set free to chase my real dream. I appreciate Ian’s trust in me and his support until the last day (and after actually). I hope our path shall cross again. My biggest take on this whole story is:
Sometimes you don’t realize that you have reached your dreams. Your ambitious soul seeks new challenges to give a new meaning to life, but you may loose the happiness that you had on the first place.
In 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People, David Niven points this out beautifully: there are basically two ways to be happy:
- Love what you got
- Get what you love
The optimum point is somewhere in between.
I don’t see this whole experience as a “back to square one” move. It is a more of a “back to home sweet home” after a pedagogic journey. Not everyone gets this chance. That’s why I shared this experience and I hope you 💖 it.