I once missed out on a job I really wanted because of the way I answered this question: “How do you feel about managing?”
My reply: “I’m interested in managing projects, stakeholders, and vendors, but at this time I would prefer not to have people reporting directly to me.”
The feedback from the hiring manager was that my answer made it clear that I was afraid to take charge. When I shared this feedback with my husband, he laughed unapologetically. You can infer that I can be a bossy wife. It’s true. I’m not afraid to take charge. So why did I say that in a job interview?
What I tried to explain at the time, but clearly didn’t do well enough, is that I had just lost my dream team. A group of friends, brought onboard over a period of two years. A group of professionals, each of whom was multilingual and multitalented. A group of winners, by design. Then one day, because of a global recession, the team was reduced to two. It no longer made sense for me to call myself the lead of just one team member. So, we decided to split the remaining work equally, and do it all: content creation, vendor management, localization validation, HTML, Flash, even something that wasn’t yet called UI and UX testing.
My dream team wasn’t made up of co-workers. Those special people had become my brothers and sisters. I tried desperately to keep in touch equally with each through the years. It’s been almost a decade, and somehow, some of us have kept in close contact.
- Am I ready to lead a new dream team? Yes!
- Have I been lucky enough to be part of other dream teams since then? Yes!
- Will the dream end again? Yes!
- Is it worth building dream teams? Yes!
As painful as the end is, the ride is totally worth it, and the high is why you got in the business in the first place. As with Sports, the end of the season is the end of the dream team. You can try bringing the same players back, and pretending it will all be exactly the same, but it will be different. The only sport I get really passionate about is Men’s Soccer. Even then, I only allow myself to get fully immersed in the experience every four years, during the World Cup. Believing is emotionally draining. Supporting is exhausting. But the high, the euphoria you experience when your dream team wins…you’ll remember that forever.