Many people may have heard that the company I was working for laid everyone off. Let me just say that the reports of my joblessness have been exaggerated. I am employed and happy as ever (in fact, more so than before. More on that in a bit).
Here’s what happened. I knew that there were funding and financial troubles ahead at the company where I worked. The previous management had burned through piles of cash and completely mismanaged things. Combine that with a poorly executed business strategy switch and a soft economy and it all amounts to: We ran out of money. Like i said – i knew this was the case. But i assumed there were 2-3 months of life left. And to be fair – there were 2-3 months left. But rather than run right to the end, the CFO and the board shut the company down ahead of that in order to pay out severance and vacation to everyone.
Which means … we all showed up one day, got herded into a meeting, and told we no longer had a job. They then handed us our final check (which included our regular check (pro-rated of course), our vacation payout (which was really nice for me since i had my vacation maxed out), and a bit of severance). Well, after the initial reactions wore off, i began the job hunt in the afternoon. I had several interviews lined up in no time. It seems the software developer job market is doing ok at the moment.
During all this, my wife was out of town at girls camp (and also out of phone range). So she had no idea of anything going on. I was going up there that night to help out with an activity, so i was debating whether to even tell her about this. Should i ruin her girls camp trip, or keep mum and catch hell on the flip side for not telling her? Decisions, decisions. In the end, i felt she deserved to know. And she took it in stride. She wasn’t worried and had confidence in me to get another job soon. No stress … but thanks for the faith
The very next day i get a phone call from the founder of the company (the only guy who’s had a level head through all this). He actually had the guts to show up to the lay off meeting. Kudos to him for that. He had been working very hard on getting more funding and was close – but some of the board members (who were also major investors) just wanted out. As a result, he wasn’t able to keep things going. But back to the phone call. “Good news – i’m going to personally fund a small group of people to come back and keep this thing alive while i finish my funding efforts. Wanna job?”
Let me give you a little history and context for my answer. Just so we cut the suspense: I accepted and came back the next day. In fact, i even got a raise out of it… Go figure But why did i say yes? I mean, the day before i’d been laid off. Shouldn’t i be a little annoyed at everything? To be sure, i was slightly put out. And i had one firm job offer and several other interviews lined up. But as was previously mentioned, i’d seen it coming and was somewhat prepared mentally. And we were SO close to releasing the product. This is probably the main point that brought me back. In all of my career, i’ve always been “so close” to having something out in the world that i’ve personally worked on. But it’s never actually made it. In other words – nothing i’ve ever coded has seen the light of day. I may as well have not bothered and the world would be the same for it (except for the obvious fact that some of you might mention: i got a paycheck and fed my family). So i couldn’t resist another chance to bring this to fruition.
So what’s it like now? There’s a grand total of about 20 people here. It’s like a ghost town. But man – it’s fun. Ghost town, wild west. No process, no red tape. Just pure start-up mode. I go into work, i write code all day, i go home. Previously, i was in meetings and phone calls and responding to email, doing presentations, talking to engineers. 95% of all my time was doing management tasks. Now i spend about 5% of my time managing, and the rest just coding.
In short – i’m happy. And the mood around the office is positive and upbeat. We’re all hopeful that the funding will come through and we’ll get a chance to see this thing come to fruition. Stay tuned over the next few months to see how it turns out.