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Off I Go - Qualified Perceptions
Off I Go
Some of you have already heard this, but I have resigned my position at IS&T at MIT, as of last Monday. I been associated with MIT for all of my adult life, and I have had this particular job for seventeen years, so it's kind of unsettling. Accounts was the perfect job for me, and I was good at it - for a long time I expected to work there forever, or at least until I died. More recently, I have been thinking that I would work there until it killed me, which is a little different. The recent reorg has done an excellent job of destroying all of Support ("Provider and Consumer Partnerships" but I can never remember that) by punting all the managers, crushing all morale in the entire organization, and inflicting I think well over 50% casualties at this point. There wasn't actually an Accounts in the post-reorg world, I had a different official position with a person's worth of work, plus the three people's worth of work that the Accounts queue was. But I was managing, and I had recruited a padawan and started training him up (which would have worked better if they hadn't kept putting him in the Call Center for six hours a day). Friday I was called to a meeting with grandboss and uberboss and HR "to address my unprofessional communications"; highlights included "you shouldn't ever make guesses about the cause of a problem when you're talking to a professor" and "you shouldn't point people to the Sloan help desk when they're the ones who can fix the problem" and "you shouldn't put it in writing to anyone when you think that this bug is breaking MIT's anti-discrimination policies and should be fixed". So I resigned, which seemed to surprise them; it appears that the plan was to use the evidence that I was not suited for a customer-facing role to pressure me into taking a different developer-y job, but they hadn't gotten to that part yet. (Only after I left did I hear some of the worse horror stories; my citations were reasonable by comparison).

So now the Accounts queue is kind of on fire (I hope nobody needs to hire any temps any time soon), and my unfortunate padawan is trying his best to be me, but I had spun up about three timelines on work and he only has the standard one. Okay, there's some mixed metaphor going on there, but I guess my original metaphor is what tripped me up. If he's the padawan, then I was Qui-Gon Jinn, and I was doomed to be taken out by Darth Maul working for Palpatine (and I know who they are!), and you all know where that story ends.

However, despite everything, I will always be grateful to my grandboss for allowing me to use my chosen exit line.

"Can I talk you into changing your mind and staying?"
"In the words of my people... Offer me money. Power too, promise me that. Offer me anything I want.... I WANT MY MANAGERS BACK, YOU SON OF A BITCH."

Current Mood: bittersweet

35 comments or Leave a comment
chanaleh From: chanaleh Date: October 23rd, 2015 02:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh wow.

Good on you for resigning. I'm glad that you have that option. This sounds like a heinous situation -- but you make a great story out of it...

Looking forward to hearing what's next for you.
nuclearpolymer From: nuclearpolymer Date: October 23rd, 2015 02:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sorry that the good job turned into a bad job, but glad you were able to leave before it killed you. Will totally be curious to hear about what you like and want in a new job.
chenoameg From: chenoameg Date: October 23rd, 2015 02:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have shared my sympathies with you about your job forcing you out.

Now let me share my excitement that I might weasel my way into more spending-time-with-Laura time while you have timelines whipping around looking for something to do.

(For example: The Fells are beautiful this time of year, and not crowded on weekday mornings.)
jadia From: jadia Date: October 23rd, 2015 04:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love this image of Laura's timelines whipping about looking for things to attach to. It is both awesome and frightening! :-)
chenoameg From: chenoameg Date: October 23rd, 2015 04:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have succeeded in my imagery!
ckd From: ckd Date: October 23rd, 2015 03:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
The end of an era, indeed.

Best of luck in your next stage. (Did I ever tell you the story of how MIT HR decided I left a month before my actual end date? Neat trick, since I gave less than a month's notice.)
(Deleted comment)
desireearmfeldt From: desireearmfeldt Date: October 23rd, 2015 06:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was just saying yesterday that I hadn't heard tell of you and your quest lately... how goes?
(Deleted comment)
desireearmfeldt From: desireearmfeldt Date: October 23rd, 2015 07:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sorry to hear the job hunt hasn't been working out. :/ Definitely give us a ping when you're coming to town -- it'd be great to see you.
pekmez From: pekmez Date: October 23rd, 2015 03:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
That must be like having a very big floor yanked out from under you, but it sounds like a horrible situation to get yourself out of. Good luck and sympathy.

I am struck by a nostalgic desire to travel back to the Athena consulting office outside the fishbowl in the mid 90s. Or maybe things weren't actually so great then either. (And "then" is totally before your seventeen years as full-time Accounts staff too, isn't it. Whoa.)
astra_nomer From: astra_nomer Date: October 23rd, 2015 03:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Congradolences? Not sure exactly what to say, but I am rooting for you in whatever you do next!
ocschwar From: ocschwar Date: October 23rd, 2015 03:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
"you shouldn't point people to the Sloan help desk when they're the ones who can fix the problem"

When I worked at MIT, I received the Infinite Mile Award precisely because I was good at pointing my users at the right desks at other MIT departments when that was the way to get something done.
merastra From: merastra Date: October 23rd, 2015 03:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Go you!!

WOW. That bites bigtime. Two levels of boss AND HR. You are one of the most tactful and reasonable people under pressure that I can think of. And you're an aMAZing guru. What were they thinking? Very sorry you were pushed that far. :(

But I love your exit line. :) And... when are starting your new company? ;-)
laura47 From: laura47 Date: October 23rd, 2015 04:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
oh my god did you actually say that in that meeting, or was that seperately?

*high five for lauras quitting jobs they used to liked but they reorged everything and got rid of great managers and everyone is quitting but they held out until they just went too damn far*

i resigned to my boss (kilroi) who has just resigned but is still in her last two weeks, ha! so that was, i expect, a fairly uncommon context. the closest i got was sending this video to the social IRC for ex coworkers (and the few left in hell) as my announcement https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FjWe31S_0g (uh, NSFW, but, well.)
sorceror From: sorceror Date: October 23rd, 2015 04:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

I bet it's unsettling, alright. But for what it's worth, it seems to me that you made the right choice -- life is too short to waste it in a job you've come to loathe.

Also, for what it's worth, every time I've been laid off or quit, I've found something better. I'm sure you'll find something good before too long. So hang in there, and good luck in your search!

kelkyag From: kelkyag Date: October 23rd, 2015 04:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I remain utterly baffled by the thought processes of the folks running this reorg -- and their bosses' thoughts, too.
From: jikamens Date: October 23rd, 2015 04:48 pm (UTC) (Link)

Opportunity knocks

I'm so sorry to hear how bad things got for you at the end, and also so sorry to hear that they're eviscerating IS&T like that.

Having said that, if/when you're ready to start looking for the next thing in your career, get in touch with me... I think you'd enjoy working at Quantopian (I sure as hell do!), and while we're not advertising any opinion positions right now that are a perfect fit for you, that could change at any time, and there's always the secret menu we're willing to hire from if a person comes along who's so good that we don't want to miss the opportunity to make her part of the team.

You know how to reach me.

- jik
coraline From: coraline Date: October 23rd, 2015 05:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
looks like you got to drop the mic and walk away from the explosions like a badass. i mean, maybe it's preferable to leave a job without explosions, but if it's exploding ANYWAYS...

so sorry about how this has turned out, and also sorry for those who are left :(
probabilistic From: probabilistic Date: October 23rd, 2015 05:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow. I'm so sorry the new bosses are the Sith. Literally everything I have heard about the reorg has been horrible. This is MIT's loss, and I'm sure you'll find something awesome.
laura47 From: laura47 Date: October 23rd, 2015 05:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
also i'm super mad on your behalf
mathhobbit From: mathhobbit Date: October 23rd, 2015 06:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I admire you so very much for all the work you've done and people you've helped at IS&T, and for having the courage to leave that.
desireearmfeldt From: desireearmfeldt Date: October 23rd, 2015 06:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, this.
From: readsalot Date: October 23rd, 2015 10:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

You have always done so much, it's just stunning to think that management wants to throw that away.

Edited at 2015-10-23 10:21 pm (UTC)
merastra From: merastra Date: October 24th, 2015 04:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for all that you have done there!
lensman From: lensman Date: October 23rd, 2015 07:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

End of an Era

Wow, sorry that you got side swiped like that. (Not that I'm surprised given the current higher ups there.) But thank you for all the help you've been over the years, and I hope this leads to something better.
raidingparty From: raidingparty Date: October 23rd, 2015 08:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Georgia Tech is desperately hiring.
greenlily From: greenlily Date: October 24th, 2015 12:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Good heavens. I'm so sorry it turned out this way. Having been in my current position for nearly that long at this point, I certainly understand about jobs you intend to stick with for the long haul. (I also suspect I'm about to find out what it's like to have my job re-orged out from under me. We'll see.)

May your next adventure be awesome and not infested with Sith.
calledtovienna From: calledtovienna Date: October 24th, 2015 12:48 am (UTC) (Link)
You don't know me, but I have been on zephyr for years. Just wanted to say -- I appreciate all the work that you have done for us in the MIT community. Thank you so much.
bluepapercup From: bluepapercup Date: October 24th, 2015 12:49 am (UTC) (Link)
That sounds like a terrible and demoralizing descent into workplace hell. I'm so sorry your job changed, and then ultimately was threatened, and I hope your departure leads you to something wonderful at a new place.
chengesu From: chengesu Date: October 24th, 2015 02:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, sorry they made things so craptastic for you. I admire your ability to do what the situation demanded, and do it with style.

It's amazing that MIT can be so full of brilliant engineers, and not be able to do IT right. Maybe they'll eventually realize how screwed they are, and hire you back as a consultant for twice your salary. If that happens I suggest holding out for 3x.
izmirian From: izmirian Date: October 24th, 2015 03:42 am (UTC) (Link)
That all sounds very terrible and stressful. It's also just sad when a great team gets destroyed or broken up for no apparent reason. On the other hand, it usually leads to the creation of other great teams elsewhere, though that's always later on down the line. Very little consolation when it happens.
coffeekitty From: coffeekitty Date: October 24th, 2015 09:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
the more i hear about what has been happening over at mit is&t the more i'm ...wait, WHAT?!
they really thought that they could convince someone who is as good at that job as you that they were bad at it? also, last I checked, the way to makes someone want to take a new job was to tell them how good they would be at the new one, not insult their proficiency at the current one. just ...what ....are ...they ...thinking over there?
btw, i named our new cat a word that i believe that you coined.
tallou From: tallou Date: October 26th, 2015 12:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I am so terribly sorry to hear that this has happened. I look forward to hearing what adventures you dive into next.
countertorque From: countertorque Date: November 1st, 2015 04:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for all of your help over the years. Good luck with the future.
35 comments or Leave a comment