Tuesday, December 21, 2004
The week that was
The past eight days here in the abode have been interesting, and very long. A week ago yesterday my employer was gobbled up by a big, bad, mean competitor run by the biggest ego in business. I won't name names, but unless you haven't read any news in the past week, you can probably guess who I'm talking about. The mood in the halls started with complete shock ("hey, we weren't done fighting!!"), followed by a numb feeling ("what do we do next"), followed by a lot of sadness. Every day it gets sadder.
On Monday, when the acquisition was announced, our executive team held a conference call for employees to explain the decision and the course of action moving forward. Our co-founder and CEO started off the call and had to choke back tears. Our co-President/CFO then spoke, mostly about the financial part of the deal, as well as how it will affect each of us. He broke down and couldn't finish. Our CEO took over again and tried to read the rest of his statement. He broke down. Then our other co-President/VP of Sales took over and broke down. Two more executives made statements and they both broke down. Nothing like a series of grown men (executives at a large corporation, no less) crying to lift the mood in a conference room. It was painful, and that's putting it mildly.
My employer is very large by most standards, but there is a warm, family kind of culture here. I've been here for just 18 months, but it seems like I've known these people for years. This is a very smart and very fun group of people. Many of them have been here for ten years, give or take a couple-- most have gone through their major life changes and milestones here. Last night we had what was supposed to be our Christmas dinner, but it turned into a stroll down memory lane instead. It felt a bit like a memorial service, but it was fun nonetheless. This place will never be the same, and this company will cease to exist in a few weeks, including the name. Many of us will lose our jobs and we'll go our separate ways, but I believe that we'll end up crossing paths again soon and often.
On Friday I had just gotten off a conference call with a customer, and I was talking to my manager and a co-worker. We heard singing, so we followed the sound through the halls to the elevator area. A group of employees had decided to try to lift the mood and spontaneously went Christmas carolling in the building, bringing many onlookers to tears. It brought the week to a fitting end-- we all know that this kind of thing doesn't happen within the walls of the titan that just bought us. It was just a small anecdote of the type of place this is. This is a special place, and it took our impending "end" to make me fully realize it.
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