Here's how Fortune relays that conversation:
When [Bostock] got on the line, [Bartz] says, he started reading a lawyer's prepared statement to dismiss her.
"I said, 'Roy, I think that's a script,'" adding, "'Why don't you have the balls to tell me yourself?'"
When Bostock finished reading, Bartz didn't argue--"I got it. I got it," she told the Yahoo chairman. "I thought you were classier," she added.
And instead of letting Yahoo spin the dismissal, Bartz dodged the company's lawyers (she switched hotels) and went off to pen her own announcement to Yahoo's employees. Here's what she fired off: "I am very sad to tell you that I've just been fired over the phone by Yahoo's chairman of the board."
Then, less than 24 hours later, she was on the phone with Fortune's Patricia Sellers (Bartz gave the magazine an exclusive), mincing no words about how she got dumped: “These people fucked me over.”
Unlike most fired executives, Bartz did not go gently into the night. Indeed, she violated almost every rule of corporate etiquette about making a proper exit. She went AWOL. She called the press to air dirty laundry. And she took swipes at her former colleagues. It was rude, unprofessional, and so unladylike.
But how good it must have felt! I mean, who hasn't fantasized about telling off a partner or boss that you feel has screwed you?
Now the sticky part: Sure, it's cathartic to leave in a blaze of glory, but is it wise to do so? And if you're a woman, will you pay a heftier price for such audacity?
Susannah Breslin, a contributor at Forbes, thinks Bartz handled it brilliantly. Breslin gives three reasons why Bartz came out ahead (text follows):
1. She’s alpha-dogging. She may be on the wrong end of the firing squad, but instead of folding, she’s declared war. . . . If Bartz plays by the rules, all she gets is walked all over.
2. She controls the conversation. By operating outside of the traditional “what’s proper,” Bartz has reframed the conversation. Now, not only is she controlling the story, she is the story. . . . In her version, the story shifts from her perceived failure to the company’s perceived failings.
3. She’s a role model. Read most career advice targeting women, and you’ll hear the same refrain. Wear this. Say this. Smile. Be positive. Make friends. Do your job. One, day you’ll get ahead. The sad truth? It isn’t working.
Role model? I'd say Bartz is more inspiration than role model. The rebel in me would love to say: You go, girl! Raise hell if you feel you've been badly treated in your job.
But let's get real: How many of us are in her position? She's one of the few top women in Silicon Valley. She's a celeb, and celebs can do what they want. And let's not forget the obvious: She can afford to burn bridges; she probably has a very hefty severance package coming her way.
So what about us mortals? We're likely to follow the script and move quietly to the next imperfect job. Still, a little vicarious pleasure doesn't hurt.
Related post: Wave Bye-Bye.
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Photo: Yahoo! Blog