Yesterday, around 1:20 p.m. my husband Otto submitted his resignation from Microsoft, effective immediately.
He texted me at 1:21, but I was having lunch with a couple of former students of mine, and I did not see his message until about 2:10. It was a one-word message, “Swordfish.” When I did see it, I burst out laughing (so much for the sneaky glance down at my iPhone).
At 1:22 p.m., local technology journalist Brier Dudley’s blog post went up.
At 3:37 p.m., Otto got a text from my brother’s ex-wife saying, “The ex-sister-in-law is always the last to know…” For at least part of the afternoon yesterday, it was the lead story on the Seattle Times online. I feel perfectly terrible thinking about her sitting at her desk at work, opening another browser tab to check the news, and seeing Otto.
Of course, it has been in the works for a while. Otto is leaving a company in which he has invested his last 18 years, and a decision like this came after months of uncertainty. Until we were absolutely sure it was happening, we had to assume that he would stay at Microsoft and life would continue as before.
I imagined the outpouring of goodbyes and good wishes from colleagues and former bosses, including a whole bunch of people who left Microsoft a year ago or five years ago. I did not imagine that four or five new articles generated by paraphrasing the original would appear by dinner time.
The interview with Brier Dudley states “Berkes is leaving for another company outside of the Seattle area but he wouldn’t say which one.” At 5:51 p.m. Tom Krazit of mocoNews.net reported, “He’s leaving to join a Seattle-area startup, according to the Times.” At 6:10, Todd Bishop wrote on GeekWire.com “Berkes plans to work for another company, based in California, but he isn’t saying yet which one.” I am not at liberty to tell you which one of these is true.
His phone burbled with texts through dinner, his email inbox kept refilling, and he was still receiving calls at 10 p.m. At 10:33 p.m., Otto’s most best-known former protégé showed up at our front door with his girlfriend, and we all went out and I watched them drink martinis until last call.
Our youngest son, who is 13, was baffled by the interruptions to dinner and the article in the local paper. “Why are they making such a big deal about you?” he asked. “You’re just you.”