True Measure of Character

True Measure of Character

I started my day slightly frustrated.  Upon offering my verbal resignation (last week) to my immediate superior, the company that I contact for gave no (written) response.  I was pretty certain my superior would inform them.  Because I wanted to be professional and also ensure they knew, I then offered a written letter or resignation to both my superior and the corporate office.  Again, I received no response.  As each day has passed, my customer (the PMO) has grown increasingly agitated knowing that I made a company a lot of money and they aren’t even recognizing that I’m leaving.

Because I felt obligated that the entire PMO knew I was leaving, I sent out a group email.  I’ve received multiple emails (from members of the PMO) wishing me well and thanking me for my service.  I even received an email from the vendor, who I wasn’t always kind to.

I think the true measure of character is when things don’t go as planned.  I tweeted that and Dennis Stevens responded “It isn’t character until its tested”.  So, I’ll revise my statement.

I think the true measure of character happens when things don’t go as planned and it is tested.

I’m still refining the statement but I’m glad I wrote it.  It made me feel a little better.  Through all of this, I don’t plan to say who I contracted for.  There is no value in people knowing their name.  The checks were in my bank account on time and for that I am grateful.  They allowed me to take care of my customer and in turn I made them a lot of money.

Many were surprised that I am leaving.  The PMO probably would have kept me until it was either dissolved or the contract ran out.  I understand how a Government PMO works but my heart is still with Agile education, transformation and adoption.

I did finally get an email, today, though it wasn’t what I expected.  I expected something short like “Best of luck in your future endeavorers.”  Instead it read “Don’t forget to turn in your badge by 11am on Friday”.

Dennis, I think they failed the test.

Drawing by Pictofigo


8 Replies to “True Measure of Character”

  1.  That’s the problem. For (many) consulting companies, talent are just resources. Human beings are “Skilled labors” and “Resumes”. They forget, that what these contractors earn for them, their checks run on that too. It’s always good to leave these memories behind, though easier said than done. Rest assured, Agile practitioners are so very happy with your news and we would like to wish you a great successful future ahead! Good Luck!

    1. Sameer, thank you! You’re very correct.
      I know that the money made from several hundred “bodies” being billable at a 100% may be very intoxicating. But, they should never forget that these are people, not labor categories or billable rates or FTEs.

  2. “Learn to trust in your ability to respond to unpredictable events; it’s more important than trusting in your ability to plan for disaster.”  Jim Highsmith – from the 2001 Agile Manifesto Article

  3. Derek, one lesson you apparently didn’t learn is NEVER burn bridges. You didn’t name the company, but everyone you work with knows who you’re talking about. One of those people may be I’n a position to help, or hurt you in the future.

    1. HDC77494, perhaps you are correct. But, the people from the company (which paid me) that I actually worked directly with would probably agree with my position. We, as a team, felt alienated. We often referred to ourselves as the “red-headed stepchildren of the company” not members of a larger team or organization. We felt like nothing more than a labor category, a billable product, or a cog. If anyone on my extended team ever asked (or asks) for help, I did (or will do) whatever I can to help. I am nothing without my customer or the people I lead.

      The Government PMO that I was advising were fantastic to me. I had a dozen people ask if there was any way I would stay. They asked if I had any departing feedback and we had excellent outbound conversations. I didn’t get that from the company which was actually paying me.

      I received no exit interview. I did receive an exit survey today in the mail and I promise I write a diatribe. I will provide constructive feedback. They need to fix what is broken.

      You can’t burn a bridge if there was never one to begin with. A paycheck does not equal a bridge.

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