Burning my (Lion)bridges
Bye bye then, Lionbridge.
For the Mistake Factory has a name. But using it in a blog is a sackable offence. Oops shite...
It was a pretty full on last day. No Jaybroek, it didn't even manage to pull a single sicky during my five weeks of working a long notice.
I was paid up to today, I worked up to today. My engagement with the Mistake Factory was a monthly reassertion of my commitment to deliver the best possible work upon receipt of my monthly wages.
I know now that that there is a price tag on ideals. It was the exact amount of the (proportionally meagre) wage on the bottom right of my payslip.
I have much better hopes for the new job. My moral compass seems to be working again, after a hiatus of just over a decade.
In between handover emails in which I tried to impart over a decade of localisation know-how (I had to try and be synthetic so ended up typing "Good luck" in the subject line and left the body of the email empty) and a quick swim down at the 40 Foot at lunch time, it was time to go down to my mate Colm's desk at the appointed time and look suitably surprised when the cake and people (closely following the cake) and cards arrived. Colm read out a fine, funny poem and I improvised my going away speech (version 6.2, the one I had been fantasising about each time I saw someone else leave who left of their own volition rather than being made redundant). There was laughs. And cake, obviously.
Then straight on to my 1-on-1 weekly call with my manager in Amsterdam, which ended up being a 1-on-13 call with my most favourite colleagues in the Vendor Management team (I managed squeals of surprise that sounded incredibly authentic for the second time in the space of thirty minutes). And it was a very touching 20 minutes, with the people I respect the most in Lionbridge. The last little bastion of common sense in an environment where the American capitalist model embraces Soviet-style bureaucratic inefficiency,.
Then it was time to fire my farewell email, the one that will ensure that even if I were to change my mind about the new job, there would be no coming back. In a subtle way filled with humour of course.
For subtle is my middle name.
Subtle my fluffy lion's arse
My farewell email:
Subject: Le jour où il partira, les poules auront des dents...
For those of you not quite fluent in French, just use Neural MT (our fancy corporate-speak for copy-and-paste-in-Google-translate), and you’ll see that we are perhaps not out of a job just yet.
Well, well, well. Today is no usual Wednesday. Today is a Wednesday that has the cheeky taste and feel of a Friday.
Today is my last day in Lionbridge Dún Laoghaire.
I will try as much as I can not to ruin Stephen Scully’s valiant effort at keeping the staff morale to a sunny setting, but since I am leaving of my own accord, the following may not be the most potent of motivational speeches (feel free to stop reading NOW).
The time has come for me to concede that the grass may be greener elsewhere, a feeling that I have tried to keep at bay for as long as I possibly could. I shall soon be grazing with my fellow civil servants in St James’s Hospital (incidentally, it is the Irish centre of excellence for the treatment of STDs, but you can count on my discretion if I bump into one of you former colleagues while on the new job).
For me, Lionbridge has always been the perfect blend of American capitalism (roar for the raw dollars) and Soviet-style administration (please log a ticket). I have wondered at times if my work life had perhaps been scripted by the Monty Python circa 1974. I keep particularly fond memories of the snake-that-bites-its-tail email thread that saw a query being emailed by a PM in Warsaw who was most definitely not keen on the idea of taking an actual decision on an item that was slightly unusual, who deflected it to someone in Dublin, who passed it on to someone in Mumbai, who contacted VM (“when in doubt, contact VM!”), and as the item didn’t have the remotest connection with VM, I passed it on to someone further down the line, who forwarded it… to the very person who had tried to pass the hot potato in the first place. We had gone full circle in less than 48 hours, with 5 more people added on CC with each new deflection, quite an achievement!
I must say that I had great laughs at the sometimes more challenging aspects of our job (“I need 15 Icelandic translators working in the Asian time zones, with TW/LTB/TMS, MTPE, and a new word rate not exceeding USD0.05. They must also have a brilliant LQI track record, so please no newcomers”). Because I had a great team to have the laughs with. Being able to take a step back and have a laugh has always been a way for me to manage the sometimes highly stressful situations. I miss Evelyne, who was a great boss. I miss Marta, who is the ultimate efficient worker, with a great sense of humour and great empathy. Never has a remote colleague felt so close. I miss Carlos, who was the perfect work mate. Who is the perfect friend. Who is godfather to my youngest kid (lucky him…)
I have forged friendships here that will outlive my employment with Lionbridge, you know who you are!
I loved my team. I think that we did some terrific work together. We often felt like the string quartet on the sinking Titanic. Well, I don’t think that I have it in me to be a successful soloist. I have elbowed a few kids and grannies out of the way to get into one of the few life boats and I am jumping ship… You’ll have to excuse me.
I’m not going to bore you much longer, I am almost there (perhaps you didn’t realise, but throughout my employment with Lionbridge, I have been paid by the word).
Despite the sometimes sarcastic tone (I can’t help myself) of this farewell message, there are a lot of very competent people in this company (and only a few not so obviously adding value), you all deserve a rewarding work environment, and I wish you all the best for the future.
A very special thank you to Colm Sheridan, one of the Definitely Terrific People for organising today little surprise-cake-and-laughs get together (I worked hard at putting on my surprised face), and to Tjipko, my wonderful new-old manager and all my terrific colleagues in Vendor Management, for a very touching virtual farewell call. I’ll put the finishing touch to that handover document now Tjipko, before cracking the Glenlivet open for a wee dram.
I’ll shut up now.
West Pier Business Campus,
Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin, Ireland
Goosebumps. Every. Time.