Its funny how an event or anniversary holds your attention up until you are right on top of it, then you find that it has come and gone without you even noticing its passing. No, I didn’t forget when Jaime and I went on our first date or anything like that, nor did I forget her birthday. What did slide by me was November 30th, the one year anniversary of me being downsized.
For the last few months, as that date approached, my mind wandered back through the last year, trying to figure out what I felt about my first (and hopefully only, prior to retirement) brush with unemployment. It wasn’t something I really thought could happen to me, but thankfully was an eventuality for which I had thoroughly prepared. You don’t become a consultant without first understanding how easy it is for you to be let go from the company.
So why did I forget about the day as it approached and not remember it until 5 days after its passing? Lots of good thing, to be sure.
First, in the early part of last week, I learned that I was to fill in for my boss at the quarterly department meeting. She would be off work that day, as it was her birthday, and it would fall to me to inform the department about the projects our team would be undertaking in 2008. I had 6 minutes to walk through 3 slides and 8 different projects, explaining not only the subject of each project but how that project would impact all the other teams in the department. There were in excess of 100 people there. All the other development teams were represented by their Director… and then me, the lowly Analyst, representing my team.
Now, if you know me well at all, you realize I would eat a situation like that for lunch… and I did. It was pretty obvious to everyone there that my public speaking skills were head and shoulders above everyone else’s. Now, part of that is that I am sure I did a lot more preparation than the others, as I am the new guy and I do have a lot more to prove about myself. Still, as I did my spiel from memory, with polished dialog, sandwiched in between people reading theirs or stuttering through notes. That is not to say the others did a bad job, far from it, but I wanted mine to have that little something extra.
So, I was a bit distracted during that week, but it wasn’t just the looming presentation that kept my mind elsewhere. The day prior to Thanksgiving, a neighbor and I had a discussion about a job she might be accepting in the near future. She retired earlier this year and is now considering helping a small Canadian firm set up business here in the US. The firm already has a few clients using its software here in the Status, but they don’t have a sales team or business presence. That is where my neighbor comes in, as she might be the one to establish that presence.
Now, my neighbor and I have become fairly good friends in the last few years, as she worked in high-tech all of her years as a sales rep and I’ve worked in high-tech service and support most of my career. We think the same about technology and have a good rapport. That said, if she takes the new job and gets to create her own team, she wants me as an employee.
Talk about being blown away just at the thought of getting to be a consultant again. I know, my time as a consultant wasn’t really representative of the job, as I spent most of the time sitting at home on my backside, but what work I did do, I loved. Traveling four days a week and getting a three-day weekend every week, with down weeks between projects, plus getting paid really well and having expenses paid for you, it was hard not to like the job.
As my neighbor explained more to me about the job, and how soon she might start if she accepts the position, it really seemed to be more and more something I would enjoy. When she told me that their pay structure was “extremely generous”, then it really got my attention. Despite being a small company, they appear to be extremely profitable and have a product that sounds to be quite well thought out for their customers.
So, what is likely to happen with all this? Probably nothing. I say it is at best a 50/50 chance my neighbor takes the job and then, a 25% chance she would be allowed to offer me a position. Despite all of that, its nice to even be thought of for something like that. It is also nice to know that, despite one company not seeing a need for me in their organization, other people realize the value that I can bring with me to a job in my field.
Here is to November 30th. May it from now be a day of celebration and not one tied to old, unhappy memories.
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