Friday, November 17, 2006

Looking Back 3: My Resignation

It was January 2005. According to the plan, I should have finished with the development of the product and be ready to release the first version. But unfortunately things don’t always go as expected. Doing part-time product development was more tedious than I expected, and I only managed to finish about 20% of the product. My partner K’s idea was to release the product before we resigned, so that we can have a “smooth” transition. But at the rate of my part-time development, this was quite impossible.

So I decided to tender my resignation on 31st Jan 2005 so that I can go into full-time development of my product as soon as possible. I wasn’t in the mood to do anything useful that day. The only thing in my mind was how and when to tender. Time seemed to passby very slowly. I waited till after office hours, as I knew my manager T often worked quite late and hopefully other colleagues would have left by then. I had been thinking about how would T react at my resignation. Although I was very firm about my decision, the execution wasn’t without any hesitation. Afterall, leaving the familiar environment that I had been working in for several years wasn’t easy.

I went over to T’s office at around 7pm. There was still some other colleagues around, so I asked T to come over to the laboratory that I worked in. At the lab, I handed my resignation letter to T. He was rather surprised and asked for my reasons. I told T that I planned to setup my own company. And I told him about certain push factors that contributed to my decision. I told him that as a technically-inclined person, my future was rather bleak in this company. I foresee myself to be in his position several years down the road, doing management & administrative stuffs that I had absolutely no interest in, if I remained in this company. And lastly, I asked T : “Do you really enjoyed your job?” T sighed and said, “What do you think? If only I had your courage ten years ago…”

T was able to fully understand what I wanted, and wished me good luck in my future endeavour. T is an interesting person to work with. He is what I called an “accidental manager”, as he was an engineer for years before being promoted to a manager, pretty much against his wishes. It is quite obvious that an engineer and a manager requires very different skillsets, and a good engineer not necessarily can become a good manager, and vice versa. T can be considered as a competent engineer, but he is never a successful manager. And I meant that as a compliment, not a criticism.

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