I know, people get laid off every day, but I'm just mad about it, and have to type about it. So if you have no interest reading about my layoff, just stop now, because that's mostly what this is about.
I worked at Microsoft for 7 1/2 years, and this past year has been my best ever in terms of exceeding my "commitments" ("Commitments" are this list of things we need to accomplish in the year to get a good performance review the following year. Most of it is numbers based, as if "Consume 85% of your customers' contracts").
Unfortunately, I got a new boss last year, and not only did she have it out for me from the get-go, she's across the country, so I never saw her (a good thing, come to think of it). This year has been all about trying to do really well so that she had nothing on me. And I succeeded. I WAS doing really well. But every month after our 1 on 1 meetings, she would send this email "summary" listing everything bad she could think of and leaving out anything good. Most of the summaries weren't even things we had talked about, or that were even accurate. But there they were, documented for the official record. So after one or two of those I started typing rebuttals, going point by point through these "summaries" correcting her with the truth and adding the good work she'd left off.
Mid-January I saw the writing on the wall though. My boss was coming out to Seattle for a week and wanted to schedule an in-person meeting with me. I worked up a series of documents officially stating the work I'd done against my commitments, how I was exceeding them, with lots of official documentation to back it up. I normally work from home since the office is far, but that day since I was meeting in person I drove in. Turns out it was just a ploy to get me to drive in, she wasn't in Seattle at all. I got called into the meeting and she was dialed in on the phone and her boss was in the room with me.
OK, so her boss, Jeremy, the guy in the room, I considered a friend. He's a cellist, and so we have a music connection. He's probably visited Song Fight a few times and we've had a lot of music-related conversation. We are also both gadget geeks, so we loved talking about the latest cool technology, especially related to music and audio. When my 5-year-old niece died of a brain tumor in 2010, I wrote a piece for the funeral and invited him to play at it. He became acquainted with the grieving family through that.
Anyway, I had the presence of mind to bring in my handheld digitial recorder and get his permission to record the meeting, and I'm glad I did. The layoff was announced, and I immediately asked what grounds they had, and that I had pages of official documentation as to how well I was doing against my commitments. They refused to look at any of it. I asked what their reasons were, and they mumbled stuff about performance, but were very vague. So I asked "What specifically are you referring to? Because I have very specific things right here in these documents. What do you have that stacks up against this?" And they wouldn't answer. "The decision has been made." "Yes, I realize that. I'm not arguing that. I would like to know why." But nothing.
So that was that. No severance, no extension of health coverage, nothing. Out on my ass. No valid reasons given, no nothing. Goodbye.
Last moment of the meeting. I picked up my digital recorder, and said "I forget how to turn this thing off" and he said "Hey, have you seen the new video ones?" I gave him an icy stare, hoping to convey "I just got laid off, asshole, you're trying to fucking BOND with me now?". I finally just said "No". He got the idea and mumbled "Uh, sorry"
That was a week ago Monday, Jan 23. I have this recording of the meeting but I haven't gone back to listen to it. It occurred to me yesterday to set the entire recording to music.
If you read all the way to the end, thanks. As I said, I just needed to vent.