In the spring of 2009, I was a new manager working for Southern Methodist University, trying my best to look like I knew what I was doing. I did not know what I was doing, but the good news is that I still managed to do pretty well. The better news is that I wasn’t alone in the adventure. I had Jennifer.
Jennifer sat just across the cube farm from me, and while I’d had some wonderful mentors in my time, Jennifer had an amazing mentor – Shelby.
Shelby doesn’t know this, but her going-away gift to Jennifer when Jenn left to take her first management position at SMU helped shape me as a manager in those first years, at least as much as it shaped Jenn. It was simple and sweet, a small decorative box filled with Shelby’s best management and leadership advice.
When things got intense as they sometimes did, Jenn and I would huddle in her cube and reach into Shelby’s box of advice – using it like a magic-8 ball of management wisdom.
“Dex is propping up cold, half-eaten microwavable meals against his mouse and disappearing for hours on end again, Shelby. What should I do? “
Those tiny, fortune-sized bits of wisdom were such a comfort to me. So, with that in mind, I offer this series to you. The very best lessons I’ve lived first-hand, in story form for your entertainment and comfort.
I hope you enjoy!