Early in my career I had the opportunity to hold a really big title in a really small meaningless company. I was promoted (for whatever reason) with very little experience and given the keys to help manage a division. I had zero experience, but what I lacked in experience I made up for with some form of talent and charisma. I was fresh out of college and working my tail off to get ahead.
The company was suffering some serious growing pains but had that 1% chance of potential to do something big. So I listened to my mentor and accepted the job. After a few weeks it became clear that I had one of those psychos we all hear about running the company. We will call him Tim.
Tim was notorious for flying off the handle and making a fool of someone in public. He was a hot head who stood less than five foot seven and could make you feel even shorter than him at times. Tim loved to put you back in your place should he feel you needed it and most likely you never did.
The best email I ever got was from Tim. It was early in the year 2006, I was working on a cross country project and felt like we were getting nowhere with our help from the other side of the country. I fired off an email, copied Tim and in minutes received an electronic piece of mail that fueled me and one that I’ve cherished for years to follow.
“I don’t know who you think you are but it will be 2009, probably 2010, before you contribute in that way to this company. Your fearless attitude needs to be shut down and not until you produce some real results should you speak.”
That, is a motivator.
While you may label the Best Email Ever as one of praise, mine came in the form of motivation.
Six months later me and the entire division got laid off due to a lack of capital. I eventually found a new job and started thriving while Tim was forced to resign as President by the Board. It was one year after this that I walked into the office of a former colleagues only to see Tim pushing paper and collecting unemployment checks still, while I was dressed full suit and tie looking like the definition of success (keep ’em fooled). He looked up at me and said, “this is quite humbling.”
I smiled and said “it’s nice to see you Tim.”
I think often of that email, and I say, Thanks Tim.