Proudest moment

I had a phone interview a few weeks back and the interviewer asked my to tell him about my proudest accomplishment. I know I should be ready for all these types of questions – but I was not well prepared for this one. Greatest strengths, weaknesses, favorite past position, etc. – but what was I most proud of? This was work related – so the whole “I’m most proud of my children . . .” did not work. So, I answered something about saving a big account after big quality problems, blah, blah, blah . . .
Since then, I have really thought about this question.

Chinese symbol for pride

Chinese symbol for pride


I think I have finally come up with an answer for this – and it is not a moment or a single event. I am most proud of the legacy I have left with some companies. I always have my ‘quality’ hat on and I make decisions with that in mind. I always push to do what is right – not what is necessarily easy. The moment that made me realize that others noticed this was when I was leaving a job back in 2002 and having a discussion with the VP of Finance. I told him that I was sorry to be leaving with so many things up in the air relative to the future of this company. He replied that I should leave with my head held high because I was leaving a changed culture. He told me that I had made a difference in how people looked at things there. By pushing back, stopping product from going out the door, training everyone in what it means to do things right and leading by example, I had changed a company culture. It may not be perfect, but this company was no longer known for having poor quality products, and I should be proud. His comments made me feel very proud.
Someone at work the other day said to me that they wished I had come there sooner – as I pushed back on what I felt was a poor personnel judgement call. I incited a little ‘do the right thing’ philosophy in a colleage and he was feeling a bit like a hero that day. I don’t accept the “we have to do it this way” (if I truly feel it is not right), so I always try to present an alternate view to at least re-open discussion. I’m often amazed at how easy it is to have someone change their mind if they made a poor decision. Sometimes you just have to point it out, ask them to reconsider, and they realize it and do the right thing. Of course, sometimes they don’t!
So, I can now answer this question with confidence. My proudest moment is not a single moment at all. It is leaving a legacy – a philosophy that we should all do the right thing and take responsibility to move that attitude forward.
What have you done at work that makes you proud?

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