…And I ran, I ran so far away. And I ran, away from the company!

I worked for a consulting/professional services firm in Northern Virginia during the dot.com boom and bust period from 2000-2001. The company I worked for was a bit of a success story at first, going from 0 to 400 employees in less than 12 months with offices in the U.S. and Europe, but it quickly hit the skids when the business world came to its senses and realized that it had over-invested in all-things-tech worldwide.

The layoffs started slowly in November 2000 – 5 here, 10 there – but then really ratcheted up in the beginning of 2001 to the point of hired security working in the office space to control any potential uprisings. Fortunately for me, I had a friend that was in-the-know and he agreed to tell me if (when) my name made the list.

One day in March, my informant friend called me from his cell and said that it was MY day and that I would be receiving an e-mail later from a supervisor requesting a meeting in his office.

Not one to go down that easily, I quietly closed my laptop (this was a progressive firm so everyone had laptops vs. the standard desktop computer), walked out into the hallway, hit the stairwell to the parking lot running, and got in my car and drove off. Twenty minutes later, I arrived at my apartment with the company laptop and settled in for the afternoon.

Not too long after missing my 2pm meeting with the supervisor, I got another call from my friend asking where the hell I was. When I told him what I had done, he first told me how pissed he was at me for putting him in a weird spot but he also congratulated me for not letting the company bump me like they had everyone else. After some negotiating on his part (both for the company property as well as for some potential deals I still had out on the street), I was able to stay until mid-August. He was fired in May.

In the end, it worked out for both of us. He moved to NYC and met his current wife while I found a great job in a different industry that has helped me get married, start a family, and buy a house. Lesson learned? All things happen for a reason and the only thing that you ever know is that you never know. Thanks, old company!

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This post was submitted by George.


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