Wednesday, December 14, 2016

How to Retire in a Blaze of Glory

December 13, 2016
Middle manager who retired with a Reply All email tirade shows how not to quit a job

"When they asked for an honest exit interview, I gave them one," Stuban told He retired on Thanksgiving Day and now plans to travel and volunteer at his church.

While it might be tempting, and seemingly hilarious, to go out in a blaze of glory like Stuban or Joanna in "Office Space," you're better off holding your tongue.

How exactly would he be better off holding his tongue? He doesn't seem to be regretting his decision to go out in a blaze of glory.

I wrote a burning bridges letter when I retired 17 years ago. How else would I have heard the following from my general manager?

Of course employees are our number one priority. It's just that other things are more important right now.

I kid you not. I'll take that quote to my grave. Never regretted the resignation letter that prompted it. Very cathartic! Hahaha!

You only get one real chance to say exactly what you want to your employer. It's when you retire. Had I retired a few years earlier, say before the financial fraud and the seemingly endless waves of layoffs hit, the letter would have been much different. Go figure.


mab said...

Blades or Glory

You're welcome Turnpike!

Stagflationary Mark said...

No refunds!

Who Struck John said...

Did you save a copy of the letter? We can always use some weapons-grade snark.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Who Struck John,

I did not. I recall having 3 main points. One was that I didn't think employees were a priority. One was that I didn't see a vision for our division. I cannot recall the third one. Might have been that I was way past due on getting an annual review. Might have been related to the horrible morale in the wake of the corporate fraud. Who knows!

It was just one page. I didn't name names. Fairly tame when it comes to burning bridges. That said, the bridges definitely burned! ;)

The executive who hired me 8 years earlier congratulated me for quiting. Wanted to know if I wrote a letter. I said I did. He said he'd make sure people saw it. He'd apparently predicting an exodus and it fell on deaf ears. They assumed repriced stock options were suitable handcuffs. Nope!

Another lead engineer quit the same day I did. (Was hired within a few weeks of me.) Called me that morning to tell me he had the top news of the day. I told him I did. Ha!

In my exit interview, I was asked if the other engineer called me to say he had the top news of the day. I said he did. She found it "very disconcerting" that we were both quiting on the same day and neither of us had another job lined up. As a rat exiting the sinking ship (which did indeed eventually sink), I sympathized with her concern. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine once said about our management " I don't mind arrogance. I mind ignorant arrogance. "

There's a lot of that out there

Stagflationary Mark said...


Saying "I don't know, but I'll find out." served me well on the job. Hurt me in the short-term compared to those who always knew (even when they didn't). Helped me over the long-term.

1. We had a written test to weed out the programmers who talked a good story but couldn't back it up. One day my boss told me one programmer with impressive credentials balked at taking the test. Asked if it was okay if he didn't take it. I said no. He absolutely needs to take the test. I don't want someone working for me who refuses to do tasks. After working on it for an hour, Mr. Arrogance turned into Mr. Humbled. He put his test in the garbage can and left shyly and without saying a word. My boss then understood the value of the test! It was a hard test. I don't believe anyone ever got 100%. I didn't. There's something to be said for Kobayashi Maru tests! Hahaha!

2. Due to time constraints on one project, we hired outside contractors to create some puzzles for some of our sub-games. They actually heckled my design requirements in the meeting. I put constraints on it that the tool had to take no more time than overnight to generate tge puzzles. They said generating the puzzles would be trivial. Even went so far as to say that all the tasks I gave them were trivial. Boss looked at me like maybe I wasn't as good as she thought. They were really laying into me for the supposed silliness. A month later, after many failed attempts, they were begging me to change my requirements. My boss looked at me like they were the idiots. Their arrogance REALLY helped me! She was so thankful that I'd added all those "silly" constraints to the design document! I was too. Hahaha!