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Oh Wait, I Know You

November 17, 2015

Rodney, I wanted to introduce our newest project manager. This is Edward. Edward, this is Rodney. Rodney used to work for WordPerfect, too. 

Oh? When were you there?

I started in 1988. I left in 1992 when the layoffs happened.

Oh, then you probably worked for me. I was a director in support. 

Oh wait. I know YOU.

You hear it all the time, “Don’t burn bridges.” You never know who you will need to work with again. 

Edward was the director of support when I announced that I was leaving WordPerfect to go to work for Microsoft. WordPerfect management didn’t take it well. (How Not To Quit A Job.) 

Working with Edward again forced me to reexamine some of core beliefs. 

  • Did I do or say anything during my leaving of WordPerfect that I might have to apologize for?
  • Did Edward do or say anything during my leaving that I needed to get past in order to work with him? 

As a result of WordPerfect’s actions all those years ago, I lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. (I Do NOT Want To Know What That Just Cost Me.) In getting reacquainted I shared with Edward the story of my leaving from my side, including the impact that WordPerfect’s actions had on my finances.  How much did I blame Edward for that? 

I worked through some of these questions over the next couple of days. While Edward was not on my team, our two teams shared the same cube farm. At one point Edward and I were talking to an engineer. He wasn’t sure if he needed to do introductions.

Have you met Rodney? 

Yeah, I once cost Rodney hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

I winced at the comment. I needed to figure to this out or our working relationship was going to be awkward. As I went over the events from 25 years ealier in my head, I came to the realization that Edward was doing the best he could at the time. He had actually been a good boss. And when the situation with my leaving got tense, he had stepped up to shield me as much as possible from the events that were out of both of our control. 

I pulled him aside the next day.

Edward, I just want to correct something I said the other day. You did not cost me a bunch of stock options at Microsoft. I don’t think WordPerfect handled it well, but my memory of your role was that you were completely professional and did your best to resolve the situation well for everyone. 

I also pointed Edward to the blog entries that wrote about that week. It was comforting to realize that I didn’t need to change any of the entries now that someone involved was reading it.

In the IT world, be careful about burning bridges. You never know who you will work with in the future. 

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2015 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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