Author Topic: Google CFO's retirement letter  (Read 11124 times)

Gone Fishing

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Google CFO's retirement letter
« on: March 11, 2015, 07:17:26 AM »
Probably a little more than I will share!



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 Iím 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

GardenFun

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2015, 07:24:25 AM »
Love it.  Plus I am totally stealing the FWIO phrase and applying it to DH at the perfect time.  Hopefully he laughs.....


Dexterous

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2015, 07:46:57 AM »
It makes me wonder if he's a member of this forum, that sounded like so many people here.

El Gringo

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2015, 07:53:19 AM »
It makes me wonder if he's a member of this forum, that sounded like so many people here.

Patrick! Disclose yourself!

MandyM

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2015, 09:06:40 AM »
I hope that my retirement letter is so well put. I know I will echo his thanking of coworkers as mine are indeed a wonderful bunch. Just yesterday one of my coworkers lost his wife to a long struggle with MS. Our boss spent the bulk of his time the last two days there at the hospital with him and his family. Reminds me of all the reasons to work in this office and yet also of all the reasons to FIRE.

sirdoug007

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2015, 10:12:16 AM »
Nice to see a high profile FIRE for all the right reasons.  He may have a ridiculous net worth but this letter is a great rundown of all the reasons why we should all be pursuing FI.


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CheapskateWife

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2015, 10:24:17 AM »
"When is it our time?"

That's the part that I can really relate to...as a trailing spouse to a military officer, the date has been moved out several times.   It wasn't until we found MMM that we started to pull the date in!  Our time is coming!

Bob W

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2015, 10:26:08 AM »
http://executives.findthecompany.com/l/34485/Patrick-Pichette

5 million annual compensation (is anyone ever worth that much?)

Masters degree in philosophy.


Guesl982374

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2015, 10:59:44 AM »
I love resignations like this. It always puts "career" in perspective and I am always reminded that the "ladder" doesn't lead to happiness.

Numbers Man

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2015, 11:08:01 AM »
What took him so long? I guess he was waiting to get to the 100 million dollar net worth level so he could safely withdraw $4 million a year out of his stash.

FrugalSpendthrift

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2015, 11:38:13 AM »
http://executives.findthecompany.com/l/34485/Patrick-Pichette

5 million annual compensation (is anyone ever worth that much?)

Masters degree in philosophy.

The board of directors must think he is worth that much.  The breakdown is interesting, only a fraction of it is salary and most is based on the performance of the company.

Salary $650k
Bonus $3M
Restricted Stock awards $1.5M

ltt

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2015, 11:46:30 AM »
This brought tears to my eyes.  He is clearly in a position to do it, absolutely could have probably done it a long time ago.  And, more importantly, he is still young enough to ENJOY it.   

Bob W

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2015, 02:22:16 PM »
10 bucks says within 3 years he is back in the game.   

Gone Fishing

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2015, 02:32:45 PM »
10 bucks says within 3 years he is back in the game.   

Can we make it a bottle of your finest half-ka instead?

Syonyk

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2015, 04:18:19 PM »
10 bucks says within 3 years he is back in the game.   

Perhaps.  Spending three years traveling the world with your wife certainly seems like a good use of a few years, though!

Why do you think he'll be back in the game?  Because he'll have run out of money, or because he can't resist the challenges of leadership and changing the world?  If the first, I seriously doubt it.  If the second, certainly possible, but he'll have his choice of interesting places to make a difference throughout the world.

CopperTex

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2015, 04:45:31 PM »
WOW that was really good. I think it is very brave of him to leave such a high powered position. He probably gets a lot out of his career and leaving something like that would be frightening. I would be thinking "what will all these people do without ME!?". It is one thing to leave a "soul-sucking job" and another to step away from a career you enjoy and find fulfillment in in order to experience other aspects of life.

WildJager

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2015, 04:56:47 PM »
WOW that was really good. I think it is very brave of him to leave such a high powered position. He probably gets a lot out of his career and leaving something like that would be frightening. I would be thinking "what will all these people do without ME!?". It is one thing to leave a "soul-sucking job" and another to step away from a career you enjoy and find fulfillment in in order to experience other aspects of life.

At that level in any organization (well, maybe not wallstreet) you're not longer in it for the money.  The self actualization is probably more relevant.  The difference is those who keep working even though they hate their daily lives just for more cash.

plantingourpennies

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2015, 05:12:25 PM »
http://executives.findthecompany.com/l/34485/Patrick-Pichette

5 million annual compensation (is anyone ever worth that much?)

Masters degree in philosophy.

Probably doesn't do his studies justice; actual quote from article is "Patrick holds a Master of Arts degree in philosophy, politics, and economics from Oxford University, where he attended as a Rhodes Scholar, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Universite du Quebec a Montreal."


deborah

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2015, 05:56:26 PM »
It's much more impressive to have been a Rhodes Scholar - what sport(s) was he good at (Rhodes scholars have to be good at a sport).

Bob W

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2015, 07:11:59 PM »
10 bucks says within 3 years he is back in the game.   

Perhaps.  Spending three years traveling the world with your wife certainly seems like a good use of a few years, though!

Why do you think he'll be back in the game?  Because he'll have run out of money, or because he can't resist the challenges of leadership and changing the world?  If the first, I seriously doubt it.  If the second, certainly possible, but he'll have his choice of interesting places to make a difference throughout the world.
.     My guess is he will be bored to tears.  Hope he starts a competitive company to Google that respects privacy.

Bob W

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2015, 07:14:28 PM »
10 bucks says within 3 years he is back in the game.   

Can we make it a bottle of your finest half-ka instead?
. You are on sir.  In fact if you win I'll make it full a.

wardkf

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2015, 07:17:43 PM »
That's an awfully easy letter to write when you make what he makes.

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2015, 07:50:18 PM »
I was stunned by that letter.  First, it largely echoed my feelings.  Second, I found myself feeling jealous of him sitting on Kilimanjaro, being able to decide to retire with his wife and not just see, but also enjoy the world.

I've seen the top brass come and go, and usually they seem so blindly driven by playing the game that they wouldn't consider this.  Those that do take time off, do it because they are deeply unhappy with their work situation, and take a 6 month or a 1 year sabbatical*.  This guy seems to have been in a good position, is helping to look for a successor, and really wants to spend time outside of work.

Even if he is back in a few years, good for him!  (And when I finally get to my FI number, I too may well find myself "working" later, just for the fun of it.)

* If only sabbaticals were offered to normal employees!

Ricky

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2015, 07:52:58 PM »
Eh...a deep letter to be sure, but about 10 years too late by Mustachian standards.

It took him way too long to realize how little value over-achievement really has on happiness.

"Retiring" to travel is not really retiring to me. Retiring to do what you want *is*.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2015, 07:55:10 PM by Ricky »

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #24 on: March 12, 2015, 10:40:59 PM »
Eh...a deep letter to be sure, but about 10 years too late by Mustachian standards.

It took him way too long to realize how little value over-achievement really has on happiness.

"Retiring" to travel is not really retiring to me. Retiring to do what you want *is*.

+1

Syonyk

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #25 on: March 12, 2015, 10:48:47 PM »
Eh...a deep letter to be sure, but about 10 years too late by Mustachian standards.

It took him way too long to realize how little value over-achievement really has on happiness.

"Retiring" to travel is not really retiring to me. Retiring to do what you want *is*.

What happens if what you want to do is travel the world? :p

But as near as I can tell, he really, really loved what he did at Google.

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #26 on: March 13, 2015, 07:04:20 AM »
http://executives.findthecompany.com/l/34485/Patrick-Pichette

5 million annual compensation (is anyone ever worth that much?)

Masters degree in philosophy.

 - his comp is down  87% on the previous year - maybe that's why he quit, not some epiphany on top of a mountain in Afirca

jzb11

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #27 on: March 13, 2015, 07:22:51 AM »
Props to the guy for retiring, but I can't for the life of me understand why million dollar + earners work 20-30 years or more. There's another story about how a financier making tens of millions of dollars per year retired after his daughter asked him why he wasn't around. And then more recently a story about an NBA player who retired after earning 30 million (while there was still another 50 million on his contract).

I think it's great that they recognize there's more to life than money. But for the life of me I can't understand why anyone making millions of dollars working wouldn't stop working and live the life they want (family, hobbies, etc) unless they loved their jobs.

It's a fricken no brainer for me. IF I had one year where I earned 1.5 million, I'd retire after that year and call it a day.

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #28 on: March 13, 2015, 08:14:09 AM »
Montreal kid makes good - and Quebecers have always valued quality of life.*  UQAM must be proud of him.

Probably doesn't do his studies justice; actual quote from article is "Patrick holds a Master of Arts degree in philosophy, politics, and economics from Oxford University, where he attended as a Rhodes Scholar, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Universite du Quebec a Montreal."

* Where else but Quebec can you go to a tiny town and find a moderately priced cafe that grows their own tomatoes (in pots by the front entrance) with amazing food, right on the main drag (literally on Rue Principal)?

mak1277

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #29 on: March 13, 2015, 08:44:30 AM »
I would be thinking "what will all these people do without ME!?". It is one thing to leave a "soul-sucking job" and another to step away from a career you enjoy and find fulfillment in in order to experience other aspects of life.

The funny thing is...and I truly believe this...that even the CFO of Google can be replaced with relative ease.  "All these people" will most likely not even realize anything has changed.

partgypsy

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #30 on: March 13, 2015, 10:54:12 AM »
Props to the guy for retiring, but I can't for the life of me understand why million dollar + earners work 20-30 years or more. There's another story about how a financier making tens of millions of dollars per year retired after his daughter asked him why he wasn't around. And then more recently a story about an NBA player who retired after earning 30 million (while there was still another 50 million on his contract).

I think it's great that they recognize there's more to life than money. But for the life of me I can't understand why anyone making millions of dollars working wouldn't stop working and live the life they want (family, hobbies, etc) unless they loved their jobs.

It's a fricken no brainer for me. IF I had one year where I earned 1.5 million, I'd retire after that year and call it a day.

Because many people get fulfillment out of their jobs/career, their raison de etre, their identity or however you want to spell it. It is gratifying to see research out,  from the beginning as an idea to its fruition, publish, and then have people cite your work or write you. Maybe most of their social contacts are by way of work, and to give all that up would be scary and adverse. My job is not like that now but I did have years like that so I understand where they come from.   It is only when something becomes more compelling, like a hobby, family or secondary career would one contemplate giving it up.

Cookie78

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #31 on: March 13, 2015, 11:04:07 AM »
Props to the guy for retiring, but I can't for the life of me understand why million dollar + earners work 20-30 years or more. There's another story about how a financier making tens of millions of dollars per year retired after his daughter asked him why he wasn't around. And then more recently a story about an NBA player who retired after earning 30 million (while there was still another 50 million on his contract).

I think it's great that they recognize there's more to life than money. But for the life of me I can't understand why anyone making millions of dollars working wouldn't stop working and live the life they want (family, hobbies, etc) unless they loved their jobs.

It's a fricken no brainer for me. IF I had one year where I earned 1.5 million, I'd retire after that year and call it a day.

Personally I agree with you. 100%.

But perhaps it's similar to the same one more year problem that many people on this forum suffer from*. Especially since apparently that problem hits high income earners more often.


*or enjoy!

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #32 on: March 13, 2015, 11:31:23 AM »
http://executives.findthecompany.com/l/34485/Patrick-Pichette

5 million annual compensation (is anyone ever worth that much?)


I'm honestly blown away that his annual compensation is ONLY 5 million, considering Google brought in roughly 66 billion of revenue last year. I know a higher up or two at companies with revenues a fraction of that size who consistently pull in 2-3 million.

Why they haven't retired yet, I'll never understand. Give me that income for 6 months, and I'd never set foot in an office again.

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Re: Google CFO's retirement letter
« Reply #33 on: March 13, 2015, 11:32:27 AM »
This letter was beautiful.  Thank you for sharing.

Also the number of complainypants in this thread made me laugh.  Stop whining about what he is or isn't doing, if it's on your time frame or not, how much he made, how much he worked, etc., and just be badass!  So thank you all for the laughs.  :)
I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
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