Shortly before switching jobs, I was having a conversation with my manager at the time about my replacement and he mentioned that he wanted somebody that would stand up to the other chap/chapette in my team. I guess not very subtly implying that I hadn’t and this got me thinking, was this true?

In the past, the suggestion of me not pushing back would’ve been laughable as I’m one of those people that wants to push their solution and are very vocal about it, almost regardless of the consequences and while I don’t think this has descended into outright hostility (apart from this one time, long story), it certainly has created sometimes unnecessary tension.

I’d like to claim that I purposely set out to prioritize having a good relationship with my teammate but this was not the case, it just happened due to … mainly the time difference, it’s really hard to have a multi-day disagreement in Slack over anything really, so I sort of switched off, stopped rocking the boat and considered looking for a new job.

It was not easy, I felt miserable as I felt we were not doing things right and I had no support but I did have a good relationship with my teammate and what that actually allowed was an open and honest exploration of how we could improve things, which isn’t as easy as it sounds when it’s mostly been one chap doing the job for the past 3 years as you’re basically saying: These are all the things you’ve done wrong and we need to change, I’m exaggerating of course as some things wouldn’t have been possible when originally done but to certain extent that is what an improvement drive in a small team is. How much easier is it to do something different when somebody you like tells you that things could be improved and justifies it?

So I was forced to conclude that I had not pushed back as much as I could’ve done but I actually take this as a positive, especially as I’m far from certain that the outcomes would have been largely different had I pushed back more, except for a lot more stress for all involved.

As usual, YMMV.