Re: The Longest Goodbye Ever!

Subject: Re: The Longest Goodbye Ever!
From: Sarah Lee Bihlmayer <sarahlee -at- CONTENTMANAGE -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 18 Sep 1996 11:34:00 -0700

Paul Cheverie writes:

>Sorry Sarah,
> But I think this is one of the least graceful ways to depart the
>turnpoint. A simple letter explaining the commitment made to a full time
>employer and detailing the lack of available personal resources to dedicate
>to the project (include your best wishes for the project's successful
>completion and a reasonable notice-period as a courtesey) is the best way to
>go. Nobody gains professional respect by slamming a customer or a customer's

If you re-read my original post, I did not recommend slamming anyone--I
suggested using *respectful*, *value-neutral* language. The intent of
addressing the letter to everyone with whom there was any sort of
supervisory relationship is _not_ to lay blame, but to prevent any confusion
or misinformation as to the reasons for leaving. When I've been in this
sort of situation in the past, I've written a letter that describes _what_
happened--not why it happened or whose fault it was. The sort of language
that I mean might be something like:

"The second draft after the March 28 beta was due on April 10. Due to
slippage in the development schedule, the beta was not completed until April
15. This delayed the delivery of the draft until April 28..."

And so forth. What I suggested was an objective, value-neutral accounting
of the history of the project and how the documentation deliverables were
affected by factors over which Moshe had no control, thus making it clear
that the his responsibilities were affected by external forces elsewhere in
the organization. No "whining" is necessary, nor would I suggest using such
a tone.

Robert comments:

>I also can't follow your logic. You laid out a scenario where your
>work is routinely savaged and your personal abilities disparaged. How
>can your client simultaneously conclude that you are the lynchpin of
>the entire product effort?

>Will you really be the first rat to flee the sinking ship, or is there
>a long line of soggy rodents ahead of you? Has this project team really
>had zero turnover in spite of all the delays and problems?

This is a really important point. Moshe, if your client is representing to
you that your departure will cause the failure of the product, think again.
Frankly, this sort of approach seems manipulative--it might even be
categorized as emotional blackmail. OTOH, if _you_ are the one who feels
responsible, perhaps you should re-examine your assumptions. Your dedication
to your work and your desire to protect your professional reputation is
admirable and totally valid. However, does that mean that you are solely
responsible for the success of the product? I hope you can see that this is
not the case.


|Sarah Lee Bihlmayer * Intranet Documentation Specialist |
|Site Development * Content Creation * Content Management|
| Technical Writing * Developmental Editing * Indexing |
| 415-207-4046 * sarahlee -at- contentmanage -dot- com |

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