Barb and I cleaned the last of my stuff out of my office yesterday so there wasn’t a whole lot of things to do today. The developer and test team took me out to lunch and gave me a nice card and some gifts. I turned over some unit test code improvements to a co-worker. They will check it in some other time when “the bar” isn’t so high. I turned in all the “engineering” cell phones I had in my storage cabinet. I went to the company store and bought a few things. And I filled out the online exit survey.
But what may turn out to be the most important was my in-person “exit interview” with HR. She asked “Why are you leaving Microsoft?” I told her it was entirely due to my manager. I loved my job until he came along. I told her in my 30+ years as an engineer I have had alcoholic managers, incredible stupid managers, and even one that was bordering on sexual harassment. None of them were all that difficult for me to work with. But this one was impossible for me to deal with and I could not find another way out. I talked to previous direct reports of his who had the same problems. My co-workers and I had talked to his boss with zero results. Another co-worker (Chet) had quit before me and there would almost for certain be others who follow me. And that I would have rather gone back to the farm in Idaho and shovel manure than work for him. I spent 20 minutes telling her stories and she took nearly a full page of notes. She said I should have come to HR sooner and they could have gotten me out of the situation almost immediately. I wouldn’t and shouldn’t have had to leave Microsoft. My boss’s boss should have addressed the problem. He was at fault in this too. Would I ever, sometime in the future, be interested in coming back to Microsoft? “Yes, I might be”, I replied. She told me there was nothing in my record that would prevent that and to give it consideration.
I’m skeptical HR could have or would have done something earlier. Talk is cheap at this point. It does makes me feel better so that is at least a momentary pleasure. But will there be any change? I don’t know. If there is change I’ll eventually find out about it. It would be nice if there is a hint of justice in the world but I’ve seen enough cases where you just have to say, “Life isn’t fair. You just have to move on.”
I’ll probably dribble more details out over the coming weeks but one thing I just can’t hold on to any longer…
Remember when I said I wanted to say something about remote update on the phone? There were a bunch of problems with updating customer phones in the field that delayed getting new versions of the software out to all our customers. I talked to someone on the team that fixed that problem and got the story as to what was wrong with the code. Before my boss came to my team he was the developer lead on “device update”. It was his team that shipped the faulty code.
After working for him for several months I was not surprised the code his team wrote gave us the greatest grief in the field.
My one regret today is that he wasn’t in his office when I dropped off my badge. I expected he would want to shake my hand and say something nice to me. I was ready to refuse and tell him, “GO. TO. HELL.”