There was a time when the manner and timing of your arrival was your coup de grace moment. Not just movie stars, swishing out of limos in the frock that makes their peers spit with envy, but business peoples’ signing ceremonies featuring almost as prominently as those of famous footballers getting an eye-watering sum for wearing a different coloured shirt this season. But if a couple of recent articles getting considerable attention in online circles are any kind of indicator, the golden moment is now the departure. (One online forum I read refers to these dramatically announced departures as people’s “*flounce* <delete>” moments, although that adds a certain swish that the examples I’m thinking of have managed to avoid.)

The article that seems to have triggered it all was Greg Smith’s Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs: having your resignation statement published in the New York Times was always going to create a splash, even if the splash is well-written and mostly avoids melodrama. A day earlier, James Whittaker published a slightly less composed, slightly more aggressive article: Why I left Google. And then the gloves were off. As Yahoo News! was quick to cover, the parodies started to appear. They picked up on a delightful spoof via the Daily Mash by Darth Vader, titled “Why I Am Leaving the Empire.” They missed my favourite, by Tom Malinowski at Human Rights Watch, where even the following:

Tomorrow, I will send my resume to the firms of Patton Boggs, Qorvis, and White & Case, which have lobbied for dictatorships such as Qaddafi’s Libya, Mubarak’s Egypt, Bahrain, and Equatorial Guinea.”

left the author feeling obliged to point out that the piece was actually an April Fools prank.


In an industry that is depressingly attached to protocol and procedure, it’s nice when you hear about someone who opts for a more human, more instinctive approach to HR. But it’s even nicer when you hear that it actually worked.

The individual in question isn’t an HR professional. In fact, he happens to be the current CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt. In an interview with the Harvard Business Review in 2001, Schmidt described how, having just taken the reins of the floundering software company, Novell, he wanted to seek out the company’s brightest minds. You can just imagine the HR department gleefully rubbing their hands as they delve into the archives for last year’s annual reviews and employee feedback reports:

“Oh yes, of course. What you need is a new internal talent resourcing strategy. We’ll get right on it…”

Schmidt opted for a more direct approach:


Christmas seems to start so early nowadays, I keep feeling it must have happened by now and I somehow missed it. It’s so hard to believe that something that was being trailered in September hasn’t happened yet, my mind is already winding forward to New Year. (I can see I’m either going to have terrible trouble adjusting to the Olympics, or I’ll sleep through the whole thing in response to several years of over-trailering.) So – inspired in part by reading Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From (review coming shortly: you try finishing a book amidst tree-decorating, card-writing, mince pie making and all the rest), some left field thoughts for those of you pondering your resolutions for 2012. As the book is about innovation, the ways it occurs and the ways in which it can be either supported or strangled at birth, and as my thinking has run along the lines of ‘things you can do or buy for others’, readers with a metaphorical bent might adapt this as a last-minute Christmas present list. Although hunting for the following in M&S on Christmas Eve might not be good for the nerves.