“I think it’s time for me to move on!”
Yes, this is a break-up agony article. But it’s not that kind of a breakup. It’s breakup of a professional relationship — moving on from a job.
I’ve heard this line countless times, and it’s said with the same straight face, no matter how much time was spent together with that person — weeks curating the product backlog, months agonizing over how we are going to pay off the technical debt, nights debugging nasty bugs, quadrillion times collectively throwing hands in the air saying “WTF” while doing code reviews.
You must be thinking that the problem must be with me. After all, we all grew up learning that people don’t leave organizations, they leave managers. You must be thinking that I’m one of those suck-ass good-for-nothing, blood-sucking-manager. Maybe, I am. Maybe, I am not. But, this isn’t about me. I’m sharing the story from the perspective of an immediate manager, and how many times one has to hear this sentence in one’s career.
My angst is not the act. It’s the manner in which it’s done. It always comes as a surprise- one day you’re sitting cracking jokes, planning the next week, month, year. And the next day you hear the death-sentence on the relationship. It’s surprising how it seemingly doesn’t hurt them, despite the fact that we spent most of our awake time together at work.
Why do resignations happen in such a cold way? Why do they happen without any warning or dialogue before? Why is it so easy for people to treat a professional relationship in such a fickle way?
Why don’t most of the people care about wanting to discuss the problems they might be having like — The product ain’t fun anymore bro, I don’t think I’m learning anything here, Hey, I checked my compensation and it looks like that I’m making only 17% more than the chef, and oh yeah, he has stock options too. Problems which can be sorted out with some deliberation or at least an earnest attempt to sort them out. But no, it’s always like this -
I’m moving on.
End of story. No conversation. As if we were tied together in the journey by only doing collective motions at work, instead of making a difference together.
Does it really have to be like this?
If the tables were turned, would anyone appreciate the manager coming over and saying in a calm manner — “It’s time to move on. Please don’t show up from tomorrow”.
End of story. No conversation. Completely catching you off guard with millions of neurons firing in your head — This can’t be happening. Not to me. Why? What’s the fuckin’ problem? Is this a layoff? Is this about those new colorful Hawaiian shirts that I bought? The mandles that I wear to work?”
And, what if you insisted to know the reason and only then you were told that you weren’t programming the right way. That you weren’t shaping up the way it was expected. That you were not learning anything new and had stopped creating value.
Every ounce of your blood would be yelling at that time — “Why didn’t you say so then? I could have done something about it? Why did you let it come to this?”
Yeah, the manager feels the same way too when the news of moving on is broken to them all of a sudden.
He wasn’t given any heads up or a chance to take a shot at fixing things. A chance to make it better for you. He was just told as a matter of fact and that’s all. Clinically. Coldly.
Just know that it hurts. It hurts a lot. Especially when both of you were having a good time, having lunch together, spending Friday evenings drinking Blue Moon or Bira, or thinking about building the best version of the product or the company.
I somehow know that it will continue to happen the way it is now, because that’s the easiest way. Leaving No Strings Attached! Right?
But, it doesn’t have to. We can always give some respect to our professional relationship, provided we managed to build a bond. Talk about problems. Openly. Who knows they could be solvable and you would say “It’s time to shine” instead of “It’s time to move on”.