So let me start by saying that the following would not have been possible had I not listened to one simple rule my parents indoctrinated me with when it was time to start job hunting — don’t burn your bridges.
Here’ s the backlog. I worked for a technology firm wherein the first couple years I made a great splash. The potential to succeed as a company and as an individual was almost overwhelming. It felt like you were going to be part of the next Google. I guess? I won all sorts of awards, made great friends, helped the company grow and learned a ton. I gained recognition all the way up to the top, with the CEO commending me on a job well done at one of our corporate parties. Oh, I got a couple AMEX gift cards and a fleece, too.
But every romance has its tragedy. The company made some poor decisions and started bleeding, badly. The finger pointing commenced and became worse than that on Capitol Hill during recent deficit reduction talks. After being in the red for nearly a year, the IT department-turned-Chernobyl was quickly disbanded. Roughly 30% of the IT staff left or was let go. I was in the latter bucket. The executive staff followed suit. It was ugly.
Through everything, I always respected our CEO. Let’s call him Greg. As easy as it would have been to blame everything on him, storm into his office and scream “Wake up!” I kept my cool and rolled with the punches. On my last day, I shook his hand, thanked him for everything and wished him good luck. My parents and grandparents would have been proud. Greg may have made some poor choices, but he was a good guy with bright ideas. More importantly, he was a tried and true leader.
Two years go by, and one night I’m fumbling around on LinkedIn. Lo-and-behold, Greg’s name pops up in the “People you may know” container. I decided, why not. I clicked the link to invite. I didn’t hear anything for a couple weeks and dismissed it. Then, just like that, I get an “invite accepted” notification from LinkedIn, quickly followed by a personal note. And so the story goes, that this same CEO who fired me, who let his darling slip from a front-runner in the Inc 500 to barely having a pulse, who lost most of his staff and wound up getting fired himself, was reaching out to me with an opportunity. It gets better.
Turns out, he’s starting a new venture and wants me to help him build it. The business he’s interested in getting involved in centers around everything I’ve been reading about over the past year while I build my own business — a combination of social networking and marketing. The word “fate” doesn’t quite do this story justice. Let’s rewind…
I get fired from a job. I get a new one paying me more money; this extra moneys acts as the bootstrapping funds for my new software company. I know next to nothing about marketing or social networking so I read countless blogs and books to ramp up. I start looking for freelance work so I can spend more meaningful hours on my business. Greg finds me on LinkedIn and offers me a freelance contract building his social media platform. My stars are aligned to the point of being obsessive-compulsive.
Karma? Should have bought some scratch-offs today? Somebody sold their souls for me? Whatever, I’m grateful.