For the few people who don’t know already (it’s amazing how fast news spread in human communities!), yesterday I left my company of six years.
You may remember how some time ago I was musing on the benefits of going to work each day if it were your last day. I was wrong. Do not go to work each day as it were your last day, or you won’t get any work done. Believe me.
So many people stopped by to say good-bye, called, or sent an email, it was almost overwhelming. It was amazingly sweet, too. It made me feel sad for all the contacts I didn’t make, the opportunities to connect I missed, the admiration and appreciation I didn’t share. And it made me realize how much I’m going to miss you all (well, except one or two people). Really.
The big surprise was the strong reaction I got from women. It was much more than the sadness of losing a colleague; it was as a part of them was leaving with me. I never made a mystery of my discomfort with some of the explicit and implicit rules that regulate corporate life. I think my women friends were sad because they felt support and recognition from my willingness to admit that from time to time we all feel out of place and find ourselves forced to chose between our soul—or our “humanity” as somebody yesterday put it—and our career. And this is true even for the strongest and most assertive of us. I so regret I never created a forum for women to talk about working in a corporation and how to support each other in this environment. But perhaps somebody can still do it.
(And again, it was not only women. One male colleague stopped me in the hallway to tell me how he found the courage to try something he really cared about from one of my posts, and he was so happy he did, even if it did not end up being a complete success. At least, he will not have the regret of not even trying.)
So, what’s next? At the end of October I’m starting my new job in a large technology company specialized in search engines that has just acquired a popular video site. Among the many cards and artifacts I received today, the “I can’t believe this” prize goes to this picture from Matt:
Thank you all. I’m not going to move too far away and you know where to find me…