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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Quit

7:45 this morning I get a voice mail from one of my managers. "XXX's quit." No notice, nothing. Just "I'm done." I've been in this business for over 20 years and I've never just had someone up and quit. I've heard about professionally challenged individuals who sabotage their careers by doing something this stupid, but I've never actually seen it happen. This reminds me of the scene in Temple of Doom where Indy cuts the rope bridge in half, while he is still on the bridge. Although he survived it, it wasn't without a lot of pain and bleeding. My biggest question is "who the hell is so stupid that they would burn a bridge in this economy?"

I don't have the answer. XXX was a direct report to me, but he has yet to answer his phone. I don't know why he up and quit. I don't know why he just committed career suicide. As a friend I have to question his sanity. As an employer I'm pissed as hell. I don't care what market you are in; San Francisco, New York, Atlanta, Austin, something like this is bound to follow you. I know he isn't financially secure so I just don't get it. Have any of you just up and quit? Why? Did you pay for it later?

I remember a conversation I had with a friend from a networking group. He had a very elaborate plan for quitting that entailed him telling several people to fuck off. Several of us warned him to not go to such extremes, but he was convinced that it wouldn't follow him. His arguement was that the next job wouldn't know about it and by the time he left there that it would be completely forgotten. We called him Angry Frank after that. I don't know what happened to him after that, but he hasn't been invited back to the networking group. At the very least, his peers didn't think that they wanted to be associated with him.

Personally, I've wanted to set the fire. I've hated jobs so much that I would have loved to see someone pay. But then again I was 24 at the time. I wasn't blond, but I wasn't that bright either. I fantasized about how I would say it, how I would do it, and how remorseful that my employer would be to see me walk out so. Fortunately, I was brighter than I let on and I left such fantasies to my imagination. At my level, any stupid act such as just up and quitting would make sure that the only job I would ever get again would be coding tourist websites for some forgotten condo on the Gulf Coast. Short of moving to a new time zone, you don't survive something like this. I'm still perplexed.

So as I sit, sipping on my wine trying to understand the mind of the confused, I wonder how this will play out for him. I'm sure it won't be pretty, and I'm sure that I'll contribute to his pain, especially if asked for references (which will be hard not to do). Why? Can someone please answer that?

1 comment:

  1. It's been a while since that incident and I understand a bit better what was going through his head at the time. I was blind to the fact that the stress of his (and my) job was completely out of control. He quickly found another job and I made my peace with his decision. We've remained friends and I continue to wish him all the luck in the world, and hope that he never has to experience stress like he did working for me.