Leaving IBM

20 November 2001

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I resigned from IBM. In the end it was a simple decision to make, but I'm very disappointed in the company.

To be clear, it's my decision. In theory I could keep flying to Columbus, OH every Monday morning and spending the week sitting in a room with no network connectivity at all, and three phone lines to share amongst ten consultants. In theory I could keep working on a project where I'm only allowed to bill 50% of my time even though I'm spending 100% of my billable time and personal time on this one project.

In practice, I've been through the wringer enough times with IBM to realize I'm being set up to be fired in the next round of resource actions. One of the requirements in BIS is to maintain a minimum 70% utilization. That is all but impossible when I can only bill 50% of my time on this project I've been on, and can't do any make-work activities to at least get some education on being a consultant.

So, I quit.

After nearly eleven years with the company, the past seven spent working at a extremely high level of performance and contribution, and at great personal cost to me, I'm pretty pissed off at being in this situation. None of the executives whose tails I saved countless times will give me the time of day. None of the openings I'm over-qualified for will consider me because they would prefer to have someone who is a Certified Internet Webmaster (whatever that means) over someone who created and re-created IBM's web presence over the past seven years.

But again the choice is quite simple: continue doing an insane commute to Columbus, on a project where my opinion is unwanted and ignored, in an organization which is bloated far beyond what it needs as the economy shuts down; or take an executive level role at a startup here in New York City at comparable pay and benefits?

So, on December 7th I'll be starting as Senior Vice President, Technology at netomat, inc in Manhattan. The CTO is a former colleague at ibm.com and friend, Maciej Wisniewski. netomat is developing a Java based application suite for multimedia with the goal of making it easy if not trivial for anyone to create multimedia based web sites and messages, yet allowing sophisticated, complex applications to be built out of the same basic toolkit.

We checked with everyone involved in the purchase of the new house and there were no objections to switching jobs midstream in the mortgage and closing process.

Some day I will look back on this and laugh I guess, but not today. I'd just as soon remain at IBM but that's apparently just not possible.

Today we're off to Chicago via AMTRAK for Thanksgiving. After returning Sunday night I fly again out to Columbus for one last time. Have no real reason to do so but neither my personnel nor project manager said I shouldn't.

Actually, so far no one has even acknowledged my resignation though it's been a couple days since I sent in my letter.

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