1. Everyone matters – That irritating upstart who isn’t collaborating effectively may be in charge one day. If someone is bothering you, find out how you can manage your own reactions. It sucks when that person you bickered with three years ago in different job is a key report on a team you were hoping to join. Too bad for YOU, not for them.
2. Change happens – Nothing stays the same. No group, no software, no tool – absolutely nothing. If it’s alive, it’s evolving. So that means you’d better find a way to work with the change as opposed to fighting against it. If your management chain announces a change that you think will be bad for your group, find a way to articulate the risks you’re seeing, and then suggest legitimate ways YOU can help address them. If you can’t do that, then you should quietly go about your business and learn to adapt. If you can’t do even that, then look for another role or position in the company (but don’t tell anyone on your team – see next item).
3. Don’t burn bridges – If you’re fed up with your group, your manager, the company – whatever – do not tell anyone. If you must vent, find one friend and do it off-site. Complaining publicly and frequently about the organization identifies you as part of the problem and that is not a role in which you can succeed. If you are unhappy in your group, find another and act respectfully on your way out.
4. The company is not your father – I know, we all know that we’re working within an organization and not truly reproducing the relationships from our family of origin. However, feelings of loyalty to one’s company are normal. This loyalty on our part makes it difficult to comprehend when the company doesn’t demonstrate that same loyalty to you. You are a tool. They love you, but only as long as you’re perfect. Since you are not perfect (because YOU are a human and not an organization) there will come a time when you are not loved. This can be difficult. Do your best to be humble when you are ALL THAT and it will make it easier to deal with when you are not. Another strategy here is to quit at the top. I regret I didn’t do that so I can’t speak much to how that works.
5. Fail and fail again – You are going to fail. You are going to mess up. See that as valuable information and move forward. Be honest about your mistakes. Forgive yourself and, almost as importantly, give others the same leeway. I regret how hard I was on myself and others during my career. I’ve learned so much from my mistakes, and I’m guessing other people have as well. I know that someone who wasn’t performing well a few years ago may have worked things out and turned it around. I no longer judge people as good or bad