Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Getting fired 1

So what do you do the day after you get fired? Pretty easy I think, whatever you feel like doing. I can't think of another day were it is more important to do what ever you feel like doing. Why not? Clearly there were few or no plans on the schedule for the day that are not work related. So the termination has just created an uncomfortable level of free time.

Here is what I have done in the first 4.5 hours. Emailed and talked to my former employer trying to locate a small brief case I left behind. It looks like one of the vultures picking over my old office may have absconded with it. Sent and email to the VP of HR requesting clarification on a verbal commitment that was made in my termination meeting that is not supported in the document. Maybe another instance of the CEO writing checks that can't be cashed. I wiped out my business to-do list of 122 items on my web based task list. That felt pretty good. I removed my work email account from my I phone. That was a near orgasmic experience. Note that I said near orgasmic because I have been trying to limit those experiences only to when my lover is in the room with me. I made myself some eggs for breakfast. Dressed to go swimming (haven't left yet to do that but I'm ready) at the health club. Took a call from my unemployed attorney cousin and commiserated about the plight of the 50ish unemployed and how we don't want to work for corporate assholes anymore. Did a blog post of an email I sent to my daughters last night.

Last but not least I was able to deduce a simple reason why I was terminated. I think it is important to distill this down to an elevator speech. Meaning a few lines that could be told to a person during a short elevator ride and they would understand the situation. The is a sales concept. Here is mine.

My primary motivation in business is to treat all people with dignity and respect. This unleashes the creative power and energy in every individual who chooses to use this power. This in turn multiplies the power of the organization many fold. This is the key ingredient in building a successful long-term business. The people I worked for shared none of these values and principles and neither one of us wanted to compromise. Enough said.

That's done and probably a very large accomplishment. Perhaps I deserve to take the rest of the day off after that one.

Last but not least did this blog post.

Thanks for reading.


It's over, thank God

I sent this out to my daughters yesterday. It's self explanatory.


First I love you both more than either of you can perceive. I want you to know that today I was fired for the first time in my almost 57 years. This tells me that the guy doing the firing has the problem not me. When I graduated from college and started in business I dedicated myself to being fair, reasonable and ethical in all my business dealing in my life. I have never strayed from this thinking and it is the reason for my success to date. My pain over the past 3 years has not been because of the workload or the complexity or the challenges that were presented. It was the lack or moral, ethical, reasonable and fair thinking and actions on the part of my superiors. I took a stand for fairness and a business philosophy that dictates that we treat people with respect and dignity. I didn’t fit so I am no longer part of that organization much to my relief.

I take the level of regret expressed in my termination meeting and generosity of my severance package as a validation of my convictions. In short, they admitted that they just can’t do it but they respect my values. Their greed and ego driven decisions and behavior do not allow them to take the high road. I took the high road that empowers people and leads to real substantive success and sustainable results. I will always choose this route the future. It has always served me well and will in the future. This thinking is becoming more unique but it is never out of fashion.

Keep this in mind. It’s not easy but it works. I have no regrets. I’ll take on my next challenge in the very same way. Don’t worry about me I learned a lot here that will serve me well in the future. I’m resourceful just as the two of you are. Can’t wait for Christmas.

I love you both,

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Do we have a higher calling and if so what is it?

Do we have a higher calling and if so, what is it? It seems to me that many of us wonder about this a lot. There are those that accept fulfilling each step of life's passing as their calling. Being a good kid, a good student, good husband, great father, do the right thing and saved for retirement. Some of us do these things with a sense of purpose and delight and some of us do them from a sense of duty and responsibility. The latter group feels a higher calling. We feel a need to make a bigger contribution. Some do and some don't.

The troubling part is the latter group makes the same contribution, though distracted, to family, career and society they just don't value it in the same way. We view it as expected, as what everyone does in a normal life, our duty. There are no medals given for meeting expectations, we think. We fail to see the heroism in meeting expectations and maybe never inventing anything or having buildings or schools named after us or not finding the cure for cancer.

We do get an A for effort living with the reality and the vivid pictures of what we hope to achieve in our minds. We spend too much time dreaming but some of those dreams do come true. No one will write about us in the papers but the people around us had a unique exposure to a person who lived with big ideas and hopes. Ideas that perhaps didn't match capabilities, temperament or simple discipline. Dreams that didn't happen maybe just because of bad timing, just not meant to be.

The loving woman in my life told me one day that I am a tormented soul and always will be. Perhaps, all dreamers are tormented souls trying to find a balance. I don't think that helps me feel any better except to say this is how you are get over it. I do know the dreaming the the drive to be different, creative and to bring something special to the world never stops. I am thankful for the drive and focus this brings to my life.

Perhaps my intensified dreams are an idealized and amplified sense of hope. Hope is a key factor in enduring the tough stuff so we can stay the course achieve our goals. I guess there are three rules in life. 1. Never give up. 2. Never give up. 3. Never give up. Wow those are easy to remember.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

It's Black no It's White

Have you ever found yourself in a place where everything you ever learned is disputed by a person with far less experience and knowledge than you. Sure. But, has it ever been so extreme and the doubter so confident that is caused you to question everything you ever learned about your specialty. This person undermines and erodes every bit of confidence in your experience you ever had. This person moves you from expert to incompetent boob with a turn of a phrase or an unanswered email.

Under normal circumstances your time with this person would be limited. Perhaps one interaction and an addition to the never again list. But the skill here is so good it is weeks and months before the true nature is revealed. Perhaps you have decided this person would be a good boss? Perhaps, no, certainly this person is a psychopath.

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009


If anyone ever tells you to exit any situation you find yourself in where you do not share common values and philosophies with the people around you listen. THEY ARE RIGHT. Within two weeks of my arrival in Florida for my new job I knew I had made a mistake. But I was here I had purchased a home and was personally committed to applying my skills and experience to better the the organization I had joined. Unfortunately, we were working against each other from the very beginning.

At first is was a polite exchange of ideas and a measured level of latitude. A progressive breakdown in our patients for each other has led to veiled contempt that feels like a war where every one's gun has a silencer. I keep getting hit but I can't hear the shots. They are either not there or I just can't hear them anymore but the the pain of impact is getting worse.

The people who interviewed me knew the truth and they gave me hints. But, in their frustration with the CEO they hoped I was strong enough to save them by changing the culture. They knew it was dysfunctional and they needed relief and I might bring it. It was an impossible dream but I bought in. Unfortunately, when you are dealing with a corporate suicide bomber there is no chance for victory only humiliation and defeat. He has nothing to lose when he has no guiding principles or values. The only thing that matters is winning and being the smartest guy in the room. Enron comes to mind.

Our path in life is one of learning and experience. It is the journey that counts in our animated form we are never on a path to a destination. So soon I will be taking the next steps in my journey better equipped to face the next challenge. I understand this better now and I am thankful for that.

Thanks for reading.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

I haven't posted since November of 2008. It really wasn't helping and my blog contributes to the never has so much been written by so many and read by so few factoid. I decided not to add to the excess inventory until I had something more to say.

The angry mid 50's guy is still here but he has finally realized that the advice about working conditions given by so many is correct and inescapable. We can tolerate petty differences and annoyances in our jobs. However, we cannot tolerate radical differences in philosophy, values, vision or moral standards. I'll add one more. Those who have values, ethics, vision and a sense of mission cannot tolerate those who have none. There are many who have none and I found one.

Here is my mistake. I thought since there were no values I could instill some. Nope, there's a reason there aren't any there, they aren't required. The mission, vision, values for our company are, and I quote, "More money now, give me MORE money NOW". Yep, hard to believe but someone said that out loud and was dead serious.

This created one of those moments when I wished I had had my (already written) letter of resignation with me and was glad I had left it in my briefcase. But, nothing could have provided more clarification of my situation and the need to move on.

Unknowingly my despised boss has provided the final motivation to find something else to do. There is no turning back now.

Here is the fun part. I have an exceedingly wealthy friend who has been hounding me to go find a business to buy with his personal commitment to help me acquire it. Done deal. There are many unknowns in this goal but one that is not part of this deal is a difference in vision, mission and values. I am thankful for this. I'm not sure how this will workout now but I have promised my self it is going to happen.

Our tyrants teach us the most. I wish I could be more thankful.

Thanks for reading


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Support your managers

My job as a VP in our company is governed by four rules which are constantly handed down from above. Here are the rules:
  1. No one in the company is hired or fired without his personal approval.
  2. No one can exceed a budget number without the approval of the CFO. (this one's OK)
  3. No one does anything with an employee without HR's approval. (this one really sucks)
  4. No one does anything with technology without the IT VP's blessing. (depending on the situation this can suck a lot too)
We need to add a fifth rule.

5. No decision made under the first four provision is final until it is approved by the VP of Sales and marketing.

All of the items in the top 4 have a potential to significantly impact customer's and revenue. 1. Undermine the authority of a manager by over ruling a hire fire decision can easily impact revenue. 2. Fail to spend over budget when necessary on a key product, sales or service items and revenue can suffer. 3. Getting tangled up in HR policy and procedure can kill initiative undermining revenue. 4. Finally, make the wrong technology decision and customer can have a miserable experience with the company motivating him or her to shop for a new vendor.

It all rolls back to me or should I say revenue. It only stands to reason that I should have the final say on all matters related to people, money and technology. Without such authority how could we possibly succeed in our quest for fame, wealth and power.

Thanks for reading