When One Door Closes...
It's over. I'm not longer an employee of the Evil Empire known as Microsoft. I find myself sad, furious and relieved. When I entered the talk with the HR person in my exit interview, I was in high spirits. I was happy and optimistic. I told myself there was no need to be upset about anything. I was moving on. I would not shed any tears.
I was wrong. I found as I explained how I felt on why I was leaving and what could have been done differently, I got terribly upset. I felt like I was confessing that I was a failure because I wasn't strong enough to deal with the bullshit issues that had come up. I realized that I was furious because I feel like I had been forced out of a job I really liked involving a product I was very proud of by a "good old boys" network in management. I feel like I was forced out because I was not willing to put up with the condescension, the unreal expectations or the undeserved harsh criticism.
Dammit! I liked the product and most of the people I was working with. I didn't want to have to go! Some of these people I have worked with for over five and a half years! Some of them have become really good friends and now, I'm not going to be able to work with them anymore. I feel cheated. I feel cut off. I feel like I've lost something important to me. I'm so angry about this, I could spit.
But, at the same time, I'm sitting here with tears of relief on my face. I honestly understand the term "Microsoft Refugee" and I keep thinking, "Thank God, that's over. I won't have to endure another condescending comment or outrageous order from that person again." It's over. Microsoft is a very hard place to work for. It has not all been bad but it has never been easy. Even when I was working for Patrick, it was hard. Patrick, as a boss, just made it all worth it.
Now, I sit here, struggling to close the door on 68 months worth of my life, I find that it is not as easy as I thought it would be. My time with PlaceWare/Live Meeting is over. I am feeling a real loss and I am grieving. I think it will be a while yet before I put all these emotions behind me.
... Another Door Opens.
For the past week, I have been on pins and needles over my job opportunities. I was no longer worried whether or not I would have them. The 30+ phone calls and as many emails in the past week requesting interviews proved to me that I was good enough. All the criticism I have been hearing for months about my performance was undeserved. I was and still am an excellent test engineer.
I went through several phone interviews and a couple of face to face interviews. I had an offer from Cingular as an Execution Test Lead as of Tuesday. I pinged Rory over at EED and told him that if his company was going to talk to me, they needed to do it now. The next day, I had a multiple person phone interview. The following day, I had a grueling multiple hour series of formal interviews. At the same time, I was having the "I'm ok. You're ok." Manager interview at Cingular. Yesterday, I was told I would get an offer from EED. Today, I got a verbal, then written offer.
All last night and today, I chewed over the two offers. They both had their flaws and merits. They both were interesting and enticing. It was scary having to choose between them. Today, after some negotiation with EED, I decided to choose the smaller company where I felt my voice would be better heard and I would make more of a difference in the future of the testing org. I gave them my verbal acceptance. I still have to call the other place and regretfully turn them down.
Over all, I think EED wanted me more. When the boss-to-be calls you and asks, "What else can I offer you to convince you to come work for me?" It really makes an impression after being told that I'm not good enough for so long.
... And hindsight is 20/20.
I wrote the above yesterday after I left the HR exit interview. I was still writing it as Hans came to pick me up to go over to Glenn and Andrew's place for drinks, dinner and beautification. I was still an emotional wreck. I burst into tears in front of him as I tried to explain that while I was very happy going to the new place, I was furious at having to leave the old one the way I did. Fortunately, Hans understood and was able to put it in succinct words for me.
I haven't hit my 'vacation' yet. I am still processing the end. But, stepping back, I didn't realize how much pressure I was under or pain I was in until I made it stop. It's like when you go to bed with a huge headache then wake up pain free and you realize just how bad that headache was to begin with.
It has also affected me in other ways. Rory pointed out what he called a theme in the characters I want to play and very defensively pointed out that he was wrong. Now, that I'm looking at them, I see that he is not entirely wrong. The characters I'm playing and want to play are untouchables who seem helpless but aren't when pushed. I'm wondering if these concepts are a manifestation of feeling so damn helpless at work and my desire not to be. I have been working out these issues on a subconscious level.
Ah, well. That is a drunken conversation for another time. I am feeling better than I was but there are still residual emotions lurking. I hope to have them all sorted out by the end of next week.
Tarot Card for the Day: Eight of Swords, Inverted