Switching Teams

Last month, I had the bad luck to learn that I’d have to stay one more year at my company in order to secure the loan for our house. This sucks, because my plan at that time was pretty clear, and it involved pulling the plug from corporate by the end of August this year. Turns out I’ll have to wait until May next year.

Considering my life had been miserable in my current team since I joined it last year in July, I had to find a way to make things more bearable. This could have involved ignoring the requests from my manager and instead focus on other activities (either a project I’m passionate about at work, or networking, or helping organizing events), or push back a bit on most of his suggestions to steer the team my way. But the most promising option was to move to another team.

A colleague and friend of mine had offered me to join his team a while ago. At the time I had declined the offer, telling him I would leave the company soon (he’s one of the handful of colleagues who’s ever known about my plan to quit) and I wouldn’t join him just to leave 3 months afterwards.

With my forced change of plans, it was time to check if the position was still available, and it was. As a matter of fact, he told me he was waiting for me to change my mind all along. So my understanding is that he hadn’t opened the position until I told him I was interested after all.

Interviews to get to the next team were just a formality (I have worked with most of the people in the team before), and after about a week I received the official offer which I promptly accepted.

My manager was not totally surprised when I announced I was leaving. On the other hand, he surprised me by telling me another member of our team is moving as well, on the same day as me, to that other team. I later realized that by the end of June, my current team will have lost half of its members in the course of 6 months. In a way, that’s a relief: there’s obviously a problem in the team, and it’s not me.

My manager asked me in a pseudo exit interview if I felt there was some issue in the team, a reason myself and others were leaving. I had an incendiary list of insults ready for him and his terrible management practice, which I absolutely did not use, and instead went with the typical “I’m not moving away from this team, I’m moving to the other team”. At the end of the day, anything I could have said, constructive or not, about my current team, would probably not have been any useful, so why burn any bridges.

Yet my answer to his question was pretty much a lie. I’m happy to go back to a group of people that I’ve worked with before, and it is my understanding that they are working on real projects, and that they actually need someone with my skills (which was clearly not the case in the current team, and ended up with me working on things I was not only terrible at, but which I took absolutely no joy doing). But I’m not super excited about that time either. It might be good, it might be bad, but in the back of my mind is still the feeling that I would pretty much be out of the 9 to 5 grind by now if it wasn’t for that stupid loan verification next year.

My manager, in pure douchebag style, is making sure I’m as busy as I possibly can for my last 2 weeks, assigning me the crappiest tasks he can think of (“to transition and wrap up your ongoing tasks”), including one I have literally begged him to take me off of about a month ago, and a “please write a transition wiki” on a system he knows I have zero knowledge of.

People have advised me to just slack off for the rest of my transition time. “The guy already has an opinion on you. It’s not what you do or don’t do on your last week that will change anything”, they tell me. I don’t know. I feel both him and I have managed to stay civilized throughout our few months together, despite clear disagreements on pretty much everything related to our work together. So I’d feel bad if he ends up with a bad opinion of me just because he felt I did not meet my end of the deal on my very last week.

In the meantime, a member from my future team has contacted me and said: “glad to see you’re joining us, but honestly not sure why they hired you. We haven’t had a single project to work on in the past 11 months, so why do they think we need more people?”. Meh, it can’t be worse than where I am right now. I think?

By the way, big thanks to the handful of regular readers who take the time to post comments in almost each one of my poorly written articles. You know who you are! I rarely reply but I do read them all. (and I do follow your blogs for those of you who have one!)

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