So on a whim last night, I went to Kerbey Lane after improv to meet up with Ryan. And who should be our server but Julia, a rather peculiar girl who had quit NI about three months before I did. How to describe Julia? Well, she looks much more at home working Kerbey Lane than National Instruments, that’s for damn sure. I described her as “Dread Locks” to the people who didn’t know her.
So we swapped war stories about our last days at NI, how we’d each been given a good talking-to by our superiors and finally shown the door, which we’d each accepted graciously.
My two-second version of the story is this: got in trouble for shoddy work, which was true; made a tremendous effort to improve myself, which was at first successful; realized about a week into the endeavor that I was putting a hell of a lot of effort into something I didn’t want to be doing; realized shortly after that that getting off my boss’s shit list was going to be all but impossible; and walked out the door on September 11, 2002 so willingly that I could barely feel their collective shoe brushing against my ass.
The important detail is this: though I was more than willing to quit, I had a genuine desire to stay for another two weeks and wrap up my projects, so they wouldn’t get plunked into the laps of my coworkers, whom I liked and respected. The bosses said no, you’re going to go home this very afternoon. I was irked; the only thing I REALLY regretted about quitting was that plunking.
End of anecdote. Now, here’s the kicker: Julia had heard the version of the story that my coworkers had received from my boss Heather. Something along the lines of:
“I heard that you’d been offtered the chance to stay and work on your problems, but that you just quit on the spot, and they were shocked.”
WHAT THE FUCK!
That is almost precisely the opposite of what happened. That’s not just a spin on the situation. That’s a lie. I could not believe it. I’d encountered some more-than-serious problems with corporate America up until that point last night; now my innocence is broken. There is probably not a corporation on earth that wouldn’t sponsor just that sort of lie to foist some bllame on the disgraced former employee. Now I know generally how things work.
Another thing occurred to me recently: I had this theory that there wasn’t such a thing as an evil corporation – just a bunch of good people doing their jobs, all of which added up to an evil result. Now I’m not so sure; I think there really are people – and not just filthy rich executives – who would cover their own asses, just like Heather seems to have covered hers. How sad.