You may be here expecting to read salacious details of my recent resignation, or you may be here simply because you love a good Ariana Grande bop and are hoping for more of her in this post. I hate to disappoint you on both sides, but this won’t be a detailed hit piece explaining why I left my job, and there won’t be much more Ari in this post.
The reason I chose to title this “Thank U, Next” is because of what the hit song stands for. It takes the idea of a breakup and turns it on its head by focusing on what was learned from each relationship rather than spreading negativity and hate about one’s ex.
In light of this week’s departure from my job, I’ve chosen to employ this post-breakup strategy by highlighting some of the lessons I’ve learned from past employers that will stick with me for the rest of my life.
Major Tom | Carefully read anything before you sign it. I remember being handed paperwork to sign, and since I had rarely signed documents in the past, I hurriedly scribbled my signature and handed it back to them. Instead of taking it from me and going about their day, they took the opportunity to explain how important it is to carefully read anything you sign your name to and proceeded to print a fresh copy for me to read and sign. It’s a small lesson, but it’s one I still utilize to this day.
Cotton Eye Joe | Choose a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life. This boss was someone who was deeply unhappy with the job they had, and regularly working with them showed me how important it is to find work you can be passionate about. Does that mean I’ll always love the minute details of every job I have? Probably not, but it does mean I can carefully think about what I agree to do for work and can be more selective of what job I take when possible.
Charlie Brown | Dress up. I remember sitting in this supervisor’s office one day and having them challenge me to wear one tie a week. I was initially offended they would try to mandate a dress code that was stricter than the company’s, but after some time, I realized they were pushing me to step up my professionalism and to dress for the job I wanted to have. While I rarely wear ties, the idea of going a step further to up my style game at work has stuck with me ever since that job.
Look What You Made Me Do | Be gracious but direct. This boss was one of my most challenging to deal with because they had a way of rarely correcting you to your face. Instead of giving constructive feedback, they would roll their eyes and sigh when they didn’t like something you were doing. It got to the point where I would look for those signs and would ask them if there was something I could do to improve my work. Even then, it was hard to pull direct feedback from them, and it showed me that being graciously candid is a trait I want to always employ as a supervisor.
Seven Rings | There are more ways than money to measure success. I started working for this employer with lofty financial goals in mind. I had dreams of driving luxury cars and living in grandiose homes in the future. In that job, I was able to live that life vicariously, and even though it was everything I used to dream of, I began to realize I wanted more out of life. While this boss was undoubtedly successful, it made me think about the type of success I want to strive for. I learned I want to measure my personal success by how I treat people, what my family relationships look like, and by the positive impact I leave in my wake.
Piano Man | Be compassionate. I cannot stress enough how profoundly caring this person is. They are someone who would give a week off to an employee coping with the loss of their grandma, a voice of reason to rework heated emails to convey grace rather than anger, and the type of person to sit and talk for over an hour with an employee’s parents, making them feel like the most important people in the world. This person exudes compassion, and I hope to emulate that character trait in my own life.
So there you have a few of the lessons I’ve learned throughout the jobs I’ve had since I started working at the age of thirteen. There are many more I could write about, but the few I highlighted are the ones I hope stick with me as I move through life.
Will I ever detail the reasons behind my more notable exits from jobs? Nope, but that’s ok. I have left every job with a feeling of integrity and the knowledge I did my part to educate my former employers on the reasons for my departure. So don’t expect to see any tabloid-style ramblings on here because I am now entirely focused on what the future holds for me.
I’m not in the place I expected to be in a few months ago, but that is something I’m learning to have peace with because the past has shown me some of the best lessons come from the most unlikely situations.