How NOT to leave a company
Wednesday, May. 7, 2008 at 10:50am
Just a little story this morning. I knew this guy, see. And he was a yutz. We banged skulls quite a few years ago, where he demonstrated a willingness to screw people when it was unnecessary to do so. I make this distinction because as you know in business it is sometimes necessary to screw people. This was not the case here. This guy kind of cut a swath through whatever work he was doing, did what he needed to do to make himself look good, which he wasn't, lied when it suited him, pointed fingers when things didn't work out, was a general hose bag.
Years passed, and I watched as this worm popped out of one corporate apple after another. And no, this isn't a jab at Apple. It's a metaphor. Worm pops out of an otherwise perfectly good piece of fruit. Sees another one, all shiny and new, on an adjacent branch of the global tree of corporate capitalism. Crawls out of his existing hole and cleverly burrows his way into the next. That's what I'm talking about.
So anyhow, a few years ago, this guy pops up at a relatively well-known retail outfit in a large midwestern city that shall remain nameless. At the time, the firm is doing quite well and the guy I'm talking about takes a nice profile, giving speeches, head shot in the trades, that kind of thing.
Then, as you all know, the climate changes, the economy does whatever the hell you think it's doing, and suddenly retailers aren't percolating anymore, in fact they're doing pretty lousy, including this company that now houses the wormish dude I'm telling you about. Sure enough, after about six months of this, the guy pokes his nose around and sees that another place, in another industry entirely, may be interested in whatever it is he's selling. Time to go. We all get that. Bloom is off the rose. Too bad. So sad. See ya. Don't wanna be ya.
That's not the problem. You gotta go where the action is, particularly if you're an action junkie and opportunist. The thing I loved, because it confirmed my faith in the reliability of Character, was the way he did it. About a week before he bolted, a little piece of slime appeared in an online aggregator/terminator dedicated to hurting anything it writes about. The jist of the post, which everybody in that particular industry read, was that this guy was leaving his current firm because he could no longer associate himself with his current employer. Why? Because he simply could not stand being in the same company with a Chairman whose moral lifestyle was not above reproach. There was more schmutz, but that was the long and the short of it. This fellow was simply TOO decent, TOO clean and upstanding, to deal with the moral insufficiencies of his superior.
Of course, the piece was unsourced. My guy's fingerprints were nowhere on it. Thus he managed to get publicity for himself and to besmirch the place that had paid for his life for the last four or five years and the crazy, beseiged individual who runs it.
When you gotta go, you gotta go, I guess. But this way? I don't think so.
But what do you think? I'm sure there are plenty of you out there who think I'm a total weenie here. Aren't we all in business for ourselves? Aren't we supposed to do whatever it takes to get ahead? Don't we live in a world unguided by loyalty, sentiment and personal honor? Doesn't it make sense to play to unsourced, unedited, unscrupulous internet to our benefit?
Aren't those who may think otherwise, like, total losers?