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Exit Interview

I’ve been working in the computer business for a lot longer than most people realize.  I’m just a few months shy of 20 years since I started my first paid computer job, which my age would reveal was when I was in high school.   So of course my jobs were bounded by circumstance and school.   Which is how I could have gone this long and still be surprised by the experience of leaving my job.

The end was just a date, while I was a student, after which I wouldn’t show up there anymore.  No big deal, though usually I’d get treated to lunch which made it a nice way to say goodbye.

After finishing my degree, I got hired by IBM, and that was pretty cool.  But when I left, they decided my new employer was a competitor, and their policy is that “If you’re going to the competition, you can’t stay here.”  So I gave them three weeks notice, which would have let me finish my project and tie a bow and instead I was escorted out of the building.

Well, metaphorically.  In reality, they decided that I was working for the competition, but they were also busy. So they asked me if I actually needed to be walked out, and I replied, honestly, no.  And I left.

So again the job stopped.  Maybe I’d have had more of a transition if they’d let me work out my time, but instead *POOF* and a few days later I was lining up at the gate to fly to my new desk.

This time, well it’s completely different.    I gave them longer notice, to simplify things for both of us.  (How much I simplified things I didn’t realize till later, but thank goodness for happy accidents).  And because there are a few lingering productive things I have to do for my employer, they were okay with the long goodbye.

(Okay is probably overstating that.  They’re putting up with it.  Hopefully seeing as much benefit as I.)

But over the last decade at the company our HR department has definitely progressed from where it was when I started.  Now we have something called an exit process.  And as part of that process, I had to fill out a survey and then someone from HR called me up for an exit interview.

My first exit interview, ever.

I was impressed at how gracious and courteous the woman conducting the interview managed to be.  It’s a difficult task, and in its way, the exit interview is somewhat of an exercise at picking at scabs to see which ones haven’t healed, yet she managed to be encouraging and kind and I very much respect it.  (I just wish I didn’t feel surprised to get that quality of performance out of that department.  Historically, things haven’t been so smooth, from where I sit.)

For another, I think this has been my favourite job interview.  Because it’s the only time where not getting the job is the point, and that makes it a whole lot easier.

It was challenging to express the things I was unhappy with, mostly because often my issue overlapped with other people’s hotbuttons and my complaint was just slightly different.

But here’s the truth.  The company leadership is making decisions that they feel they need to make in order to keep the company healthy.  I can’t fault that.  And I admit that I might make the same decisions in their shoes.  But some of those decisions removed my reasons to stay.

And that annoys me just a little.  It’d be so much more satisfying to be able to be all righteous and say they screwed me.  They didn’t.  They did what they thought was right.

I just respectfully disagree.

Photo by C.P.Storm

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  1. Kathy says

    This sounds familiar to me. I am excited to see where this path will take you…

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