I realised recently that I’ve been in my present job for nearly two years, which came as something of a shock given that I still feel like a complete beginner at management. Obviously time really does fly when you’re having fun, or at any rate when you don’t have time to stop and think.
That made me think about what, if anything, I’ve achieved over that time. One of the main things I felt proud of was that none of my team had left – a small thing, but important after I’d been promoted to manage colleagues who were formerly peers.
Obviously that kind of thinking was asking for trouble. And sure enough, two of my team have handed their notice in within a week of each other.
Cue a crisis of confidence. Am I a terrible boss? Are they leaving because they don’t like me? Maybe all this time that I’ve been thinking that I’m doing ok they’ve been plotting their escape, desperate to get away from me…
Of course, this is an over-reaction. But it’s a new scenario for me, as a new(ish) manager, so it’s maybe natural to reflect on my contribution to what the tabs might call a want-away situation.
And it’s true that I can be a bit, ah, challenging on occasion. Oh go on then, I’m a grumpy bastard. But no-one actually cries. Or, at least, it doesn’t happen often.
But that’s not the whole story. One of the lawyers who’s leaving has been with us as paralegal, through her training contract, and for nearly a year as an NQ. She wants to move back to her home town, and she’s going to a position that was advertised as 2-3 years PQE.
Which means that I’ve mentored and trained a lawyer to a position where she can outperform more experienced candidates with private practice training. When I look at it that way, I actually feel kind of proud.
Of course, that says more about her qualities than mine. But as much as I’m gutted that I’m losing a great lawyer, I’m also proud that I’ve contributed in a small way to a young lawyer’s career, and made a positive difference to someone’s life.
And now I have to recruit a replacement, so at least I’ll get to see more of this. And this.