Once upon a time, I had a cool job with a big title and my phone was constantly ringing with people who wanted a piece of me. I had connections and a big network of impressive sounding people and lots of (what I thought were) friends. Then I quit that sexy job and everyone who had been so eager to connect with me and be my ‘best friend’ suddenly disappeared with one or two notable exceptions. I’m not the only person I’ve seen this happen to. Many senior leaders who opt to check out of a big job for a variety of reasons suddenly find themselves outside of the inner circle. Years ago, one of our executive speakers said ‘I’ve always reminded myself that I’m only renting my position’. You see, when you’re gone you’re gone. Someone else is going to step in and gain all the status, perks and influence that you once enjoyed.
If you’re putting all of your self-worth and esteem into your work, remember this: people have to be nice to you right now because you’re in a power position. Once you’re no longer in that position, don’t be surprised if your relationships change. Now, I’m not talking about the real, deep meaningful friendships that you create with the people you work with. I’m talking about the superficial relationships that are based on the unspoken work agreement which goes something like this: ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’. It was tough for me not to take my fall from power personally at first, but then, once I realized that there are some work relationships that are attached to the position it was much easier to move on. It wasn’t personal, it was just business.
What work relationships are you putting too much value on?