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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

33 comments or Leave a comment
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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! :-)
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)
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)
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.
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