On Friday, I gave two weeks’ notice to my employer, a well-known robotics provider to defense, security, and consumer markets.
In my division of the company, I have troubled the business by departing because I am a single type of resource who touches most every element of operations. My role sustains processes, collects and communicates information/intelligence, and affects revenues. Am I replaceable? Sure, but in the short-term several others will have to accept responsibilities that I once consolidated. This development may in fact be very good for the business, but we’ll have to see how it all pans out.
I find it rather gratifying to be a source of concern for the business, since I went through many a fiscal quarter wondering if the company would see fit to let me go as it had so many others during the economic downturn. Yesterday, I received calls throughout the day with counteroffers to entice me to stay aboard. I have declined these, even though to accept them would put my total annual compensation well on the way toward $200K. I’ll accept the more modest salary and take a chance that my new employer will be more in line with my values.
The episode teaches how fragile a business can be. When the company learned I was leaving, suddenly they had an extra $30K to pay me. What they don’t realize or don’t accept is that my departure only partly has to do with money: mainly, I lack confidence in the future of the business. I believe my soon-to-be-former division will ultimately survive, but it will be in more compact and focused form, not conducive to supporting the kind of activity and value I provide.
Bottom line: the business unit is evolving, and my senses have told me to take the best opportunity to get out before I get forced out. My survival and security lie elsewhere. No doubt, others at my level sense this too and are weighing their options. We are, after all, employees at will. The business wants and asserts the right to terminate employees at any time for any reason. Okay, fine. Then employees can also quit any time with or without providing two weeks of further work.
Some people get emotional when they decide to move on. Not me. I will miss working alongside many individuals and their fate will always be my concern, but I will not cry for the business or particularly care if it disintegrates. I hope that several of my colleagues decide to move on and serve division and company leadership with a necessary dose of humility.