碎念 职场

从Google换了CFO说起

Sorry我标题党了,这不是什么产业分析文章,先来看CFO本人发出的原话:

这一定是真诚的。

After nearly 7 years as CFO, I will be retiring from Google to spend more time with my family. Yeah, I know you’ve heard that line before. We give a lot to our jobs. I certainly did. And while I am not looking for sympathy, I want to share my thought process because so many people struggle to strike the right balance between work and personal life.

This story starts last fall. A very early morning last September, after a whole night of climbing, looking at the sunrise on top of Africa – Mt Kilimanjaro. Tamar (my wife) and I were not only enjoying the summit, but on such a clear day, we could see in the distance, the vast plain of the Serengeti at our feet, and with it the calling of all the potential adventures Africa has to offer. (see exhibit #1 – Tamar and I on Kili).

And Tamar out of the blue said “Hey, why don’t we just keep on going”. Let’s explore Africa, and then turn east to make our way to India, it’s just next door, and we’re here already. Then, we keep going; the Himalayas, Everest, go to Bali, the Great Barrier Reef… Antarctica, let’s go see Antarctica!?” Little did she know, she was tempting fate.

I remember telling Tamar a typical prudent CFO type response- I would love to keep going, but we have to go back. It’s not time yet, There is still so much to do at Google, with my career, so many people counting on me/us – Boards, Non Profits, etc

But then she asked the killer question: So when is it going to be time? Our time? My time? The questions just hung there in the cold morning African air.

A few weeks later, I was happy back at work, but could not shake away THE question: When is it time for us to just keep going? And so began a reflection on my/our life. Through numerous hours of cycling last fall (my introvert happy place) I concluded on a few simple and self-evident truths:

First, The kids are gone. Two are in college, one graduated and in a start-up in Africa. Beautiful young adults we are very proud of. Tamar honestly deserves most of the credit here. She has done a marvelous job. Simply marvelous. But the reality is that for Tamar and I, there will be no more Cheerios encrusted minivan, night watch because of ear infections, ice hockey rinks at 6:00am. Nobody is waiting for us/needing us.

Second, I am completing this summer 25-30 years of nearly non-stop work (depending on how you wish to cut the data). And being member of FWIO, the noble Fraternity of Worldwide Insecure Over-achievers, it has been a whirlwind of truly amazing experiences. But as I count it now, it has also been a frenetic pace for about 1500 weeks now. Always on – even when I was not supposed to be. Especially when I was not supposed to be. And am guilty as charged – I love my job (still do), my colleagues, my friends, the opportunities to lead and change the world.

Third, this summer, Tamar and I will be celebrating our 25th anniversary. When our kids are asked by their friends about the success of the longevity of our marriage, they simply joke that Tamar and I have spent so little time together that “it’s really too early to tell” if our marriage will in fact succeed.
If they could only know how many great memories we already have together. How many will you say? How long do you have? But one thing is for sure, I want more. And she deserves more. Lots more.

Allow me to spare you the rest of the truths. But the short answer is simply that I could not find a good argument to tell Tamar we should wait any longer for us to grab our backpacks and hit the road – celebrate our last 25 years together by turning the page and enjoy a perfectly fine mid life crisis full of bliss and beauty, and leave the door open to serendipity for our next leadership opportunities, once our long list of travels and adventures is exhausted.

Working at Google is a privilege, nothing less. I have worked with the best of the best, and know that I am leaving Google in great hands. I have made so many friends at Google it’s not funny. Larry, Sergey, Eric, thank you for friendship. I am forever grateful for letting me be me, for your trust, your warmth, your support, and for so much laughter through good and not so good times.

To be clear, I am still here. I wish to transition over the coming months but only after we have found a new Googley CFO and help him/her through an orderly transition, which will take some time.

In the end, life is wonderful, but nonetheless a series of trade offs, especially between business/professional endeavours and family/community. And thankfully, I feel I’m at a point in my life where I no longer have to have to make such tough choices anymore. And for that I am truly grateful. Carpe Diem.

Patrick

如果你有耐心看到这里,也许你会说,嗯,人家是Google CFO,赚够钱退休了呗。那是不是只有Google CFO这个级别的人,才有资格不仅发出这样的宣言,并且实践这样的决心?你不是这个级别的人,就理所当然的认为这不可能是我的生活?

今天,我的部门的一个一直比较好斗的manager也宣布退休,“to spend more time with family at sunrise from Mt Kilimanjaro and Bali and Antarctica and all those other wonderful places”,并转了这篇文章。他刚刚生了个孩子,产假回来判若两人。嗯这里男人产假也有2个月。他的孩子一定深深改变了他。

这个40出头的部门经理,级别远不及CFO,他也有资格发出这样的宣言,实践这样的决心。

那我呢?我离开了助我踏上缤纷世界征途的第一个工作,经过一年紧锣密鼓的折腾,来到了阳光灿烂的加州。我以为我是在向CFO所说的道路迈进。回头一看,我的工作内容先进高端了,吃的食堂变好了,猎头们纷至沓来,貌似一切都很好。可我在知乎上看到一篇点评老电影的摄影的文章的时候,心头突然被戳痛了。

我有多久没认真端坐地看一部堪称艺术品地电影,然后思如泉涌地写一篇观后感了?在阳光灿烂的加州,虽然我也没少出游,可有多久不是被朋友怂恿催促才出行,而不是当年豪情万丈的宣布目的地然后招兵买马了?有时提笔想写点东西,却什么也写不出来;想到即将出游的计划,竟有一丝懒得出门的倦怠。再回头一看,当年我写的《别对精彩的游戏熟视无睹》是多么思如泉涌啊,现在只有欣赏当年自己的份,而我们的骚与影都要长草了,来美国之前定下的游记计划更是成了笑话。我逐渐的正在变成我不喜欢的无趣的人。

每个人都有自己的梦想,也都有对待梦想的态度,无论旁人看来有多可笑。我的朋友里有人的梦想是去一些名字很萌的地方,在一些在我看来没什么区别的地方分别生活过,甚至是当一回面试官,她实现了,她开心。还有人的梦想是去航海,他说这个梦想也许永远不会实现,但是心里一直有这个念想也很好。还有人的梦想是买下一套房子,也在幸福的实践中。我的梦想是什么呢?也许能映射在一些记忆中给我触动的画面里。国家地理摄影师潜伏在沼泽中专注地拍一头河马,奥斯卡某个幕后工作奖得主结结巴巴的握着小金人在台上感谢家人,还有CFO的这封信以及好斗的部门经理的退休宣言。哎,原来行动力最差的人是我。

我真心的爱这个世界,我特别喜欢这张在新西兰拍的照片。配上指环王的原声歌词:

In the veiling of the sun,
we’ll walk in bitter rain

mtcook

还有挪威的这两张,虽然形象挫了点:

长风破浪会有时,
直挂云帆济沧海

norway

pupit rock

2 comments

  1. It’s never too late…
    最近也有回归的想法,写一点东西,但估计语言组织都不如以前顺溜了。能不能把网站的体验整得美观一点儿?作为作者我觉得用起来不是很方便….另外登录入口跑哪里去了?我找不着了…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>