Yesterday, I wrote about the political battle that was raging inside my company over the fact that the CEO was stepping down, and what I was thinking as I had been called into his office.
I arrived at the boss's office and the door was open. He was seated behind his desk writing on a notepad in front of him. I knocked and he looked up. He asked me to come in, have a seat, and close the door behind me.
I sat in one of the two chairs in front of his desk and he looked at me and started what was clearly a prepared speech. He told me I wasn't being fired. It was just that I was being asked for my resignation. I heard the phrase, "Your vision does not mesh with our plans." I knew the answer to my questions. I knew who would be the new CEO. And I knew I had to move on.
It was fall outside and next to the CEO's office was a pine tree. Through a picture window behind the CEO's desk I watched a bird land on a bough near the window. It was a bird that migrates south for the winter. I had seen birds like this one flying south in years before. I thought it was pretty late in the season and figured that bird had to get a move on right about then. I heard the CEO going on about whatever he was going on about. It did not matter what he was saying. The issues had been decided.
It had been a great job in many respects for several years, but it had been getting worse and worse for the last few years. Although the salary was nice, I was running out of any other reasons to stay. And doing things for the money alone has never worked well for me in the long run. It was time to do something new.
Then he stopped and leaned across the desk and asked me if I had any questions. There are no questions in meetings like this. There is noting to say and nobody is going to change their mind about anything anyway.
I said no, I didn't have any questions. I told him, "Thank you for sharing that with me." He pushed a prepared resignation letter across the desk toward me and asked me to sign it. He told me I didn't have to stick around. It was Friday. I could just sign the letter and go home. I could come back later to clean out my office.
Signing things at moments like this is usually a bad idea, so I took the letter and said I'd look it over. I got up and left his office. No senior executive job lasts forever.
A wise person later explained for me the meaning of such events: "You stand there on the dock and know you have to go, but your boat is so small and the sea is so large." Then she paused and smiled and said, "So sometimes you have to be pushed off the dock to get going."