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Yesterday, in a wider team meeting, my ultimate manager (three levels up) presented his 'career journey': essentially a graph with time on the X axis and something akin to a measure of happiness on the Y axis. But this wasn't limited to work, it extended to his private life.

Getting a good job offer was, obviously, high on the Y axis while having a subordinate raise a grievance against him was low. Divorce was low but getting remarried and having kids high.

What really stood out, however, was how he included things like depression and alcoholism — he wasn't afraid to admit that his life had been messed up at times and the curve of the graph reflected this all too visibly.

Today, in a far less formal environment, I thanked him for his presentation but, more importantly, for his openness and honesty. I explained about my struggles with depression, and how I had come up against managers who, not knowing how to deal with it, acted like it didn't exist. I said it was good to have people in charge who got it.

His reply? "It's more than good, it's essential."

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Colin Walker Colin Walker colin@colinwalker.blog