4 . Letter to My Younger Self

Do You Love Your Job Today? What Would you Tell Your Younger Self?

Letter to My Younger Self - Banner

By Michaele Gardner

A tiktok video to his younger self??? A Discord message? Who knows. The medium changes, but the overall intent stays the same. The overall intent is essentially to help your younger self learn from your more experienced self.

What would you tell your younger self? How much would you give away? How much would you leave for yourself to figure out? Be patient, things unfold as things unfold. No faster, no easier.

Dear Michaele,

It is the year 2004. You are in your mid 30s, with a toddler and a busy life. Right now, you are just trying to make it through the day, and maybe get 6 hours of sleep a night. Right now, you are rushing from thing to thing, overscheduled and overtired. You like what you do, you like your coworkers and you think you are at a good spot in life –when you have 5 minutes a week to sit and reflect (if you ever have 5 minutes).

Right now, when you hear people saying, “I love my job!” you think they are bananas. Or maybe just a bit daft. Or perhaps just being polite and choosing not to share the nitty gritty details of a job they do not care for.

You can’t even imagine fully backing that statement: “I love my job!” Because you see it as a binary statement, all or nothing, on or off.

Letter to My Younger Self - First half of a letter

Today is it March 3, 2021. Both of my jobs are 100% remote (you are still teaching and working full time – not a surprise, I am sure). There is this thing called Zoom that we all love and hate.

There was a global pandemic in 2009 and another kicked off in 2019. The first one did not impact us much, the second has changed the world. How? You ask. We do not know yet. A large portion of the world is still working from home – if they still have a job. This has been going on for over a year. At one time, restaurants, gyms, and hair salons were shut down. No, I am not making things up. I wear a face mask when I go out in public once or twice a week.

On the flip side, I use Zoom to talk to my friends across the word on a regular basis. Last week I was chatting with friends in Berlin. This morning, I had coffee at 8 am while recording a podcast with Arie Van Bennekum from the Netherlands. The biggest issue I have now is translating time zones as I log into meetings with people from Washington DC to San Francisco to Singapore.

Our country is still struggling with equity and inclusion. I am not getting into the details, because it is too upsetting. Suffice to say that America did not learn from the Rodney King incident. Parts of Uptown were destroyed due to peaceful protests that turned into race riots in Minneapolis. The tragic event that sparked the Minneapolis riots also led to global protests. Yes, global.

On the work front, Agile has become a thing beyond just XP developers working with customers. CIOs are talking about Agile. Yes, really!

That toddler is now learning to drive. That still scares the stuffing out me, so I will not mention it much here. I am waiting for that letter from myself (our self) from 2030 to arrive and tell me the “having a teenager driving” situation cost. Not just the insurance, but also the damage to multiple cars.

So now to this moment, You/I woke up this morning an hour early thinking: “I love my job!”.

What??? You say… How could I turn into one of those people?

First, you have learned that loving something does not mean you are “in love with it” all the time. Refer to the aforementioned teenager. Unconditional love allows you to weather the ups and downs, and focus on the good when the frustrations surface.

Second, you have learned that life has magic moments, but none of them are permanent. Value them. Live in the moment, because the good, bad and ugly will pass. You still live in the same house and have 2 dogs, but they are not the same dogs and you are no longer married.

Third, you have learned that you are happy and engaged when you are helping connect people to people, people to ideas and ideas to ideas. Keep doing that and find a trusted circle and a larger like-hearted community so that you can keep connecting and growing.

Fourth, you have stopped carrying the load for those around you.

Most importantly, you have distilled your learnings and hopes into a framework that can help others create a resilient mindset and approach to life.

Was it easy? No.

Am I “there yet”? No.

Am I happy? Mostly. But it is ok to not be happy every second of every day. Sometimes I take a moment to feel what I need to feel. I do not force the emotions. Instead, I listen to myself.

Do I love my job? Most of the time.

Do I love my job today? My Agile Best Self job? HELL YES! And that is what prompted me to write this. To give you some hope, some clarity and some possibility.



Letter to My Younger Self - Lady thinking dark background


Michaele started out as a counselor at an emergency crisis line. Clients were too messy: defined inputs did not lead to predetermined outputs. So she moved into the world of IT and has not looked back, but has always stayed closed to her roots in counseling.

As a COBOL developer, she loved diving into the clean logic and flow of well written code as well as working with other developers. Her next iteration was to move the problem space closer to the solution space which led her to Object Oriented coding.

Landing as a Java developer on an XP team brought together her interests in psychology, flow, teamwork and problem solving. Her next step was to help engineers and organizations understand business value at a micro and macro level.

Currently she can be found applying neuroscience concepts to technical teams and students. She has applied Agile concepts and principles in multiple non-software focused spaces – from teaching undergraduate and graduate classes to building a real estate rental portfolio. As an executive coach, she co-creates new and exciting career paths with clients.

Addicted to Post-it Super Sticky notes and a fanatic about helping teams and people create an innovative and psychologically safe space where motivation, trust and support exist. One of her personal mantras is shamelessly taken from Kent Beck who says: “Turn up the good.”


  • Loving something does not mean you are “in love with it” all the time.
  • Life has magic moments, but none of them are permanent. Value them.
  • Find a trusted circle and a larger like-hearted community so that you can keep connecting and growing.

I am Michaele Gardner and these are my agile-thoughts

2021 © Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA by Michaele Gardner

Michaele Gardner - Author agile-thoughts

Connector, catalyst and coach. I have worked as a crisis counselor, software developer, and analyst. I am currently a small business owner, Agile and career coach.

I love connecting people and ideas to uncover better, more effective ways of working.

My lifelong love of learning and interest in developing a like-hearted Agile community motivates and energizes me.

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