Bloomberg, Bartz, Arrington Departs: Axe-giving Gone Wild

Two recent high profile departures were in the news – less for the circumstances leading up to them, and Youre-fired more so about how the message was carried (a third one, too, but I will get to this).

The first involved the resignation of New York Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith. Mayor Bloomberg signed off on a press release that did not reveal the real reason Goldsmith was leaving (which had something to do with an arrest for a domestic disturbance).

Some said that Bloomberg made a mistake; it is in the public's interest and our right to know, according to this line of thinking. In defending his decision, Bloomberg made no apologies and said, essentially, that making the real reason public was up to Goldsmith and his family if they so desired.

The second involved CEO Carol Bartz and her departure from Yahoo. She sent an email to the entire company immediately after getting the call from the chairman.

While some of the coverage that I read focused on the fact that she was fired over the phone, much of it called attention to (and questioned) her decision to send a frank email. Some said that they thought it was an example of refreshing honesty; others thought it amounted to career suicide and was a pretty dumb move.

An article in Fortune covered the Yahoo episode in an article The New Rules of Firing (and Being Fired).Here is an excerpt:

The situation highlights the changing rules of engagement in corporate America. Increasingly, employees from the entry level to the corner office are worrying about shaping their professional brand and how a sudden departure will affect their image, work relationships, and career prospects.

Where a previous generation of workers might have gone along with the thin subterfuge of a mutual parting of ways, today's sophisticated professionals would do well to carefully plan the messages they send in the wake of being fired, say career experts.

There was one more recent unceremonious departure that many people, especially those in tech have been buzzing about. My next post will focus on Michael Arrington's dismissal from TechCrunch.

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