Following nearly seven years as CFO, Patrick Pichette has announced his retirement. On his way out the door, he’s shared his insights for the formula to a happy and healthy life.
On a vacation with his family to Africa last year, Pichette had a realisation that would change his life forever. After watching a spectacular sunrise from Mt Kilimanjaro, Pichette’s wife expressed her desire to continue travelling the world together.
Pichette initially brushed this off insisting that it wasn’t his time yet, that there was still much to achieve in his career. That was when she asked what he describes as the killer question. “So when is it going to be time? Our time? My time?”.
These questions heavily resonated with him and a few weeks later came further realisations and thus a few simple and self-evident truths of which he has listed in his letter on the Google+ page.
“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.”
Finally Pichette acknowledges that he really couldn’t find a decent reason to say no to his wife’s request. “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.”
He closes with a thank you to his colleagues and to Google for being a privilege to work for. “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.”
Although Google is yet to appoint a new CFO, Pichette has pointed out that he will assist in the transition of his replacement.