1. By her nature, Mary has always been a team player and helped her fellow team members whenever possible. As it happened, she did a big favor for John by lending him her best Business Analyst for two weeks to help him meet the deadline of an extremely important project.
2. Mary has always been a team player, but never really went out of her way to help those around her. She was well liked, respected, considered competent, and hardworking, but not someone you would go to if you needed a favor. She worked with John on a couple of major projects, collaborated successfully as needed.
3. Mary is very competitive by nature, more than willing to take credit for the work of others if the situation allowed, and would take advantage of other people’s issues if it was to her personal advantage. Prior to John leaving the company, Mary and John had a heated discussion because Mary tried to convince one of John’s best testers to work for her without asking John’s permission, which is the standard protocol at their company. When confronted, Mary denied any wrongdoing, but Mary’s and John’s relationship was permanently damaged from the situation.
Like the previous scenario, #1 provides Mary’s best chance to get the consulting deal with John’s company, #2 provides somewhat of an advantage, and #3 will most likely remove Mary’s company from potential consideration.
The moral of this second scenario is that the way you act toward your coworkers, clients, staff and others today can have an unexpected impact on your success in the future. My first boss told me that after a while it would feel like there are only 250 people working in high tech and they just cycle from company to company. Well, at the time I thought he was just trying to be funny. You know what, he was right.
When putting these two stories together, take note that a combination of being ethical and helpful to people today and loosely connected to them through your career in the future, can have a long term positive impact on your reputation, your career success, and most likely your financial bottom line.
Lastly, you should also begin building your professional reputation, which I’ll talk about more in a future blog. For now, just know that you should work hard and try your very best. In the long run, the combination of industry knowledge, professional skill, and a great professional reputation will take you far.
If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at
eric@ManagerMechanics.com or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom.
Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to grow.