This week I wrote a letter to the boss who made me so miserable I started my own company. I was working for world-renowned brands. I thought I had the best job in the world. My family actually understood what I did for a living. But after 2 weeks of constant caregiving and stress, I made a typo on a slide. In return, my manager lectured me. They screamed things I wouldn’t say to my worst enemy.
It wasn’t the first time.
I had two managers who made my life particularly bad. Instead of challenging the behavior the first time it happened, I challenged myself. To be better. To be smarter. To work harder. I questioned my sanity a million times. I told myself over and over again that the problem was me.
Not this time. That “feedback” session was on a Thursday and that Monday I gave notice that I was quitting. Two weeks later, I stood on a stage and told the world I was starting a company called Three Ears Media with absolutely no idea what it would become.
For the first part of my company’s founding, I was fueled by proving those managers and everyone else wrong. Today, I’m in a much better place. I can forgive that person for trying to assert power where he should have learned how to lead. I can have grace for managers who never should have been in charge of people.
But my word of the year isn’t grace simply because I could forgive the person who pushed me so hard that I took a giant leap into the unknown. No, grace this year is mostly for me. By forgiving others that feel so unforgivable, I feel free. I have more room to spare some grace for myself
Grace for the days where I questioned my sanity instead of walking away. Grace for the broken rules that made me stay. Grace for the things I let repeat in my head. Grace for the negativity that filled me with dread. Grace when I feel like I made the wrong choice.
Even in the literal sense when I fall down, I want to be the kind of person who can laugh off the bruised ego (and butt). I want to reach for grace to help me be proud – of who I am, what I have built, who I am becoming, and to get past the guilt of feeling like I got it all wrong.
Every year I pick a word – like allow last year, and brave the year before – and while so many have been about the work, this one is just about the release. To let these people that took up so much space in my mind go so I can fill that space with the kind of love that lets me have whatever I want, resolutions or not.
PS One of the things I want to do this year is release my first book. If you want to be one of the first people to know when it’s available, take a minute to fill out the form at the top of this blog.
Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.
Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster, Care.com, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.
Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.