I am sharing a time where I failed. I want to share this so you can learn from my failure and avoid it yourself.
I go through the time how disrespecting my coworkers cost me my job.
You will learn how I came to disrepect my coworker and how I will not let that happen again.
This article will take you about five minutes to read.
I switched to a new job as a software consultant. Being a consultant was something I wanted to be since attaining my MBA and couldn’t make happen at the time.
Approaching consulting as a software consultant was the perfect combination for me: I had software expertise and wanted to be consulting with companies. Win-win!
I started the new job right away without even taking time off from the old job. Everything was smooth, I got along with everyone in the local office and I worked to detangle client’s problem a little at a time.
The company was unique in that in the first three months, everyone goes through an apprenticeship program. It’s a great way to skill up in a focused manner.
The apprenticeship consists of learning more software development, posting blogs, and presentations. The person that hired me into the company, the local office director, loved that I also organize meet-ups as that was one of his initiatives for the local office.
The apprenticeship period was three months. As I was a senior consultant, I would be doing client work while doing the apprenticeship. There was a lot work for the client, the apprenticeship, the commute, and looking for new clients to help build the local office.
Three months didn’t seem that long to commit to that much work and I was going all out and loving it. Perfect, right??
One thing I didn’t even do was a break from my previous job, which was just contributing to the code base on a small team. I jumped right into consultin contributing to the client’s solution, apprenticeship, and thinking about new clients.
About a month in, I felt the other consultant for the client, who was lower ranked, wasn’t really doing that much compared to me. I knew he was doing client work, outside of the client work, what did he do?
I was there earlier. I worked the same hours. I was coding, blogging, presenting, organizing meet-ups, and looking for new clients outside of those hours.
The other consultant went through the same apprenticeship program, except it lasted twice as long and without the client work because he was not a senior consultant.
One day, in discussing client work and the juggling the apprenticeship, I straight up asked him:
What are you doing to improving your craft?
The consultant didn’t really answer and/or I didn’t remember his answer. I left this at that.
At the end of the apprenticeship, it’s required for each apprentice to give a presentation and have a committee to judge my body of work their whole time. I felt this was a breeze and I powered through the work and did my final presentation.
After the presentation, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders and waited for the committee to discuss. I was pushing hard the whole time and wanted the next step: winning new clients.
After the committee deliberated for over an hour, the office director, who I got the job through, said:
Since the committee cannot come to a unanimous decision about you. I have to let you go.
The only thing I could say was: “HUH?! What the?! This is a complete joke.”
I was in complete shock. The whole time I was there, never did I imagine this day turning out like this.
It was incomprehensible.
What did I Fail at?
Even though I had the potential to deliver results for the firm, such as: new client and meet-ups, etc. the company valued people they knew than someone they did not know, no matter who introduced me to the job or potential for results.
Ultimately, I believe that disrespecting others in the team, in this case: the other consultant for the client, was my ultimate downfall.
I didn’t respect him because he wasn’t “senior” like me nor like the person that introduced me to the company. I didn’t value him as much as other higher ranking consultants.
How did I Fail?
The other consultant was the sole reason the company even had a position open for me, as he helped create the client need.
I thought the office director brought me into the company, he was the one I first met and he’s the most senior in the office.
In reality, it was the more junior consultant, the one I straight up insulted.
Talk about biting the hand that feeds you!
Why did I Fail?
I believed as long as I had a good relationship with the office director, I would do fine, even with the committee objection. Nobody else mattered.
This relationship would not be as strong as the relationship everyone else in the office had with the other consultant, including the office director’s relationship with him.
Disrespecting the crucial person that made my job possible caused me to lose my job.
What did I Learn?
I need to appreciate the power of people and relationships, regardless of your own rank relative to them.
You never know who played the key role in your success behind the scenes, no matter how much effort you put yourself.
How will I Integrate these Learnings?
Ways I will focus on people and relationship, regardless of rank:
- maintain healthy relationships with everyone, including those less senior than me.
- understand that I can learn from everyone around me at any time.
- expect that everyone is doing their best.
In a company, relationships are a greater force than rank.
Why won’t this happen again?
The loss of this job hurt a lot. At the time, I felt horrible and could not imagine a job that would be such a good fit for again. That the job I would get next I would just be slaving away and it would never make me happy.
I definitely will remember that the job was in my favor: work, interests, potential. Losing the job because I could not respect a coworker less senior stings, even when thinking about the situation now.
If I could do it all again?
I would tell myself cool the ego. There will be people less senior than you, just like you are less senior than others. You have to respect them at what they do and there is always a learning opportunity.
Going through this failure of not respecting everyone around me taught me lessons the hard way and even reflecting to write this article, I am gaining more insights.
This failure was painful because I lost everything I worked for because of disrespecting others.
From now on, I’m improving my humbleness by striving to constantly learn from everyone around me, not just those above.