Tim Hardwick, writing for MacRumors:

Swift creator Chris Lattner, who left Apple to become vice president of Tesla’s autopilot program, has parted ways with the electric car maker after just six months in the job.

When someone leaves a job, it comes down to one of two reasons. First, because they have a new job lined up that they can’t refuse, and so quitting their current job is a necessary evil. Second, because their current employment is no longer viable for any one of a number of reasons.

I’ve always thought that it’s very rash when someone leaves their current employment for the latter reason if they don’t have something else lined up. Chris Lattner is somewhat of an exception to this rule since he can use is social capital at Twitter to announce his availability. Someone the caliber of Lattner doesn’t have to worry about going hungry. But his move is not the model for how an average engineer should go about a career change when they realize they are no longer compatible with their current job. Never outwardly despise what you currently have until and unless you have something better.

It’s very curious to me what happened at Tesla that caused Lattner to decide to leave. How long has he been planning on leaving? Tuesday night is an interesting time to announce this sort of thing.1 Had he been worried for months that things wouldn’t work out, or did it all occur suddenly?

When he was on an episode of the ATP show back in January, Chris seemed very amiable. A real pro. I have a hard time imagining his departure was due to an inflammatory outbreak. This isn’t like the story of when Alvy Ray Smith left Pixar after a shouting match with Steve Jobs.2 What was the reason then?

  1. As a complete aside, this news is exactly why I get SMS messages of DaringFireball updates. I was viewing Lattern’s tweet just 12 minutes after he posted it. I don’t follow Lattner on Twitter — I’m barely on Twitter at all for that matter — but I can trust Gruber to post this sort of breaking news when it’s this big. ↩︎
  2. See page 138 of the most excellent Becoming Steve Jobs for this story. ↩︎