When life throws you a curve ball

On Monday morning, I woke up at 4am and hightailed my butt to the airport. I was on my way to Boston via Chicago for a client event. The details of the trip are mundane suffice to say, we all are familiar with the banes of traveling – security lines, long waits in noisy airports, overpriced terminal food, adrenaline rushing layovers, the aches from sitting scrunched up in a seat for 4 hours and the worst: the bobble head neck pains you get from drifting off to sleep only to wake with a startle.

I arrived in Chicago and grabbed the shuttle to my hotel – a mere 10 minutes away from the airport. My flight to Boston left at 6am the next morning, so the opportunity to adventure out and explore was at best, minimal. Upon checking in, I decided to stretch my body out on the treadmill for a short run – wake up, stretch and then get back to work.

Upon opening my computer and mentally getting back into the mode of work, I see an email for an all-company meeting. As of late, the company meetings were a foreboding of bad news. I can’t actually remember a meeting where there was a celebration of good news. The call was relatively quick and to the point (all things considering). My company was shutting down, we ran out of money and everything that was left would go to the creditors. To say I was in a state of disbelief was an understatement. Our major conference in New York was the following week. I was on a work trip, stranded in Chicago. And all of a sudden, as of 5pm March 9th, the beast that was my company shut down. I imagine the sound being akin to the whine of generators as they are simultaneously shut off – and then sudden blackness.

I couldn’t sleep that night, I scrolled twitter feed as the news broke across the tech world. I read every article that tried to cover the measly amount of information that had accompanied the news of us closing. I responded to emails from peers who I had been working with. And I switched my ticket to head back west, so I could be at home with friends and loved ones in a familiar space, get my orientation back and figure out the next step.

Over the last few days, hindsight has grown clearer. There were warning signs. There were premonitions. But no one knew the dire straights of the situation and I don’t think anyone believed the chord would be cut so quickly. It wasn’t a ‘winding down’ – it was a shot to the temple.

I’ve been in this territory before: suddenly unemployed and with oodles of time to ponder what went wrong. I’ve learned to take the first week in stride. To get drunk. To go on a long hard run. To get outdoors. To catch up on sleep and read a book. In other words: to not take life so seriously. I also know that tapping into my network of friends and peers can provide a renewed energy for something new, something exciting. And while I’m actively investigating the next step, I’m seizing this as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Stay tuned. More to come, especially now that I have the time to write.

Articles on what when awry:
The Important Lesson Behind the Gigaom Collapse by Scott Yates, INC
Exit Interview with Matthew Ingram by Christopher Massie
Reality Check: Gigaom wasn’t a unicorn. We’re not a unicorn. And likely, you’re not either. By Sarah Lacy

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