I read a great blog article the other day at Opinionistas.com about Pivot Points, which in movie terms is "an instant where you realize precisely what you’ve gotten yourself into". It reminded me of my own Pivot Point, when I realized just what working at Dell Computers was all about, and which directly led to my quitting to work full-time on HeroMachine.
I'd been working at Dell Computers for several years. The corporate culture there basically dictated that the employee with the least life outside the office wins. Put in a ton of hours on a project, bail right before it collapses and move on to greener pastures while someone else cleans up the mess, never let on that you're not at the office, on and on, your typical "Climb the Corporate Ladder" stuff.
Our team had just merged with another group in software development (one of the favorite corporate games at Dell is "Shuffle the Org Chart") a week before. It was time for the yearly "Attaboy" party, so the new fused team held the party together. They were handing out awards, and then the leader of the group stood up to make a special presentation.
"This award for the best team player goes to Tim. Tim's wife had a baby towards the end of the project, when things were really heating up. But Tim didn't let that stop him, he was in the office first thing in the morning and was the last man out. He practically never saw his new daughter, and in fact didn't get to spend any time with her until after she'd already taken her first steps!" Delighted applause and cheers from the others, appalled slack-jawed amazement from me. "So way to go, Tim, good job!"
I couldn't believe that missing your daughter's birth and first steps, ignoring your wife and newborn, spending more time at the office than with the two most precious people in the world, was a GOOD THING. A distinction deserving of engraved awards. A model to be held up before the entire community as a paragon of corporate achievement.
I left the company two months later to work full-time on HeroMachine, vowing I would never become a corporate whore like that poor bastard Tim, grinning like a slack-jawed moron as my life was slowly sucked out of my veins.
Friday, February 10, 2006
- 2/10/2006 02:15:00 PM