Author’s Note: In May of this year, I resigned from an extraordinary role and firm, due to health issues. The firm’s Partners recently gave me a farewell dinner where I read this article to them.
The things I miss the most about working at AB are the things for which I am most grateful. So this is not a woe is me article, but rather a message to readers to exercise gratitude for those parts of your job that are meaningful to you.
Here is what I miss the most about working at AB:
I miss working with a CEO who made a bet on me, and then each time I made a mistake, doubled down on that bet. I miss this man who never stopped believing in me even in my worst moments, and who always thoughtfully considered and respected my point of view. I miss observing and learning from his extraordinary leadership.
I miss working with a COO who made me a better executive than I ever thought I could be, and who showed me a compassion that allowed me to work longer than I thought my health would allow.
I miss being unequivocally supported by an extraordinary CIO. She not only provided me with an authentic friendship that I cherish to this day, but she showed me what true courage and grit look like when it seems the world is crumbling down around you.
I miss working with AB’s first Chief Diversity Officer who showed me that you can successfully combine strong leadership and tough decisions with compassion, emotion and unwavering integrity.
I miss working with a legendary sell side analyst who I found so intimidating when we first started working together. Yet to my very pleasant surprise, he treated me like an intellectual equal from the start, and always showed genuine respect for me which allowed me to release the heavy chip on my shoulder that came from being a Polish blonde from the Jersey shore who chose a career in HR.
I miss the founders of the Women’s Leadership Council who opened doors that I was not able, or perhaps too conflicted, to open. Those opened doors led to a quantum leap in women’s progress at AB, and I am grateful that these women generously brought me through those doors with them. They gave me the strength to advocate for women and dispelled my fear that advocating for my own gender would appear too self-serving. They provided valuable counsel and genuine kindness to me and I will always consider them esteemed colleagues and life-long friends.
I miss being a member of a Partnership that made me feel a part of something special – a group of Partners who intellectually engaged at a level that made us all better thinkers, who always put our clients front and center, and pursued a noble purpose which brought meaning to my work, and to my life. While we had our fair share of fights and our drive-by snarky comments, I saw us come together when it really counted. Each and every AB Partner taught me something unique about leadership and I am grateful for all I have learned from them.
I miss many things about my role as Head of Human Capital. Here are just some in no particular order:
I miss being a part of a team that punched above its weight, and remained deeply committed to its mission of fueling the success of AB’s business and making AB an even better place to work.
I miss believing that I made a difference, and that I mattered to AB employees.
I miss helping individual people in ways that made their work, or life, just a little bit better.
I miss the intensity of my role, and the adrenaline rush of tough situations and difficult decisions.
I miss engaging with really smart people who changed my thinking and made me a better thinker.
I miss all the incredible women of AB who pushed me to be a better role model and a stronger advocate. I miss seeing them achieve things well beyond expectations, and I miss AB’s culture of women supporting women.
I miss my best friend at work, who privately counseled me about the mistakes I made or was about to make, but publicly showed unwavering support for me. She was my backbone and I know our achievements in Human Capital would not have happened without her. I miss observing her fearlessness and fierce loyalty to the firm and its leaders. And I miss our daily interactions that made me think differently and made be a better leader, and a better person.
I miss wearing leather dresses or leather trimmed suits, along with 4-inch-heeled boots, a style that helped me feel just a little more bad-ass on days that I knew would be challenging.
So again, the point of this article is not to solicit sympathy but rather to celebrate the incredible parts of my job that I was so fortunate, and I am still so grateful, to have experienced.
Another point is to emphasize the power of exercising gratitude. If you list the things about your job that are meaningful to you and for which you are grateful, you will likely see your job in a more positive light, and then hopefully you will appreciate each day you have your job, and learn to treasure the work you do, while you are still able to do it.
And even though I don’t have these things in my life today I will always be deeply grateful for having worked at AB for almost a decade. It has been an honor and a privilege to work at this great firm. I am a better person in so many ways for having worked at AB and I sincerely thank everyone at the firm for this extraordinary gift.