Not all of them and truly, they might not forget everything about you but eventually once they move ahead everyone that worked for you turns you into a memory and in time, a fading remembrance of who you were back then. Even if they commend you as memorable…you will…fade…away.
There is nothing more human than creating new memories and pushing old ones to the back to make space. There is also nothing as human as wanting to endure, to live beyond death in the memory of those we touched. And of course, there is nothing more human than forgetting.
I remember the first time I felt forgotten. I met this guy who worked for me long ago on my first assignment as a manager. Every now and then I follow-up with people that made an impression on me and he had left a big one. I called him, invited him to lunch and then we met. At lunch, we reminisced remembering the old days. He remembered when he closed his biggest deal and he also remembered how he had found a tremendous opportunity in a territory nobody was focusing into. He even remembered how he had gotten to Top Performer in just 3 quarters and how he got into the President’s Club and eventually a bigger offer by another Company.
I was a bit disappointed by the fact he didn’t remember I was there with him: I helped him close that deal as he had been shut down by our Sponsor and I showed him how to back-track, find a new window and jump in again. I also pointed at the territory he then exploited and shared my contacts. I know he knows but just didn’t remember that he became a Top Performer after 2 very poor quarters and a performance plan I set for him. I wished he had remembered I sponsored him all the way to President’s Club.
It didn’t make me sad though, it just reminded me of a fact: as managers we are only in their lives for as long as they want us to be. Our job is to spend a lot of time on them, making certain they have what they need and that they are right where they need to be. We work hard to make things happen for them and if you are doing your job right, they give you back and that makes you proud, and motivates you to give them more…and so they give back, and the loop never ends.
All in all, at one point they leave and when they do they only take with them a part of you, the part they need. If you’ve done your job well, that part won’t be one you specifically signaled at but one that made a difference to them. They will take with them not what you gave them all that time but what they got out of it, their impressions and thoughts and maybe even feelings.
If you are hoping to be remembered as a Champion or as a Hero know this: they only remember through themselves, hence your memory lives through theirs. They will forget you, no matter how good you are…but if you did your job right, they will remember their time with you as one of the best they had. They will go back not to the time when they worked for you, but to a time when they had fun and grew a lot, when they discovered new things and were successful.
They might forget you…yet if you did your job right, they will always remember who they were when you were around.
Also published on Medium.