Early today morning, Google CFO Patrick Pichette sent out a memo to the company announcing his imminent departure from the tech giant. The memo doesn’t read like a typical quitting email. It speaks honestly and candidly about the reasons for his departure – his desire to spend more time with his family.
Pichette, 52, has been a Google employee for over 6 years. Prior to working with Google, he had worked with McKinsey and Company and Bell Labs. In his memo, he talks about his long and illustrious career, calling himself a member of “FWIO, the noble Fraternity of Worldwide Insecure Over-achievers.” He calls his 30 year old career a whirlwind of truly amazing experiences, and says that cherishes all the friends he’s made at Google.
He goes on to say that the decision to retire was prompted by a conversation with his wife, Tamar, when they were vacationing in Africa. They had spent a night climbing up Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak. They were gazing out into the vast plains of Tanzania watching the sunrise the next morning, when his wife asked him, “Hey, why don’t we keep going?”. Pichette’s response was typically prudent CFO-like – he said he’d love to do that, go on to India, and then Bali, and maybe swim in the great barrier reef, but this wasn’t the time. There was too much to be done at Google, so much to be done with his career, so much more to accomplish.
It was two weeks later when he reflected if it was really time to leave. He’d had an illustrious career with some of the biggest companies in the world and his kids were in college. He felt it was now time to spend time with his wife of 25 years, who had patiently stood by him as he’d been working on his career goals. “Our friends joke that we have spent so little time together that our marriage is untested.”, he writes in the memo. It’s time to “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”, he continues.
Pichette’s exit points to a growing trend of people quitting work in order to focus on their work-life balance.