We too had a young, charismatic leader: President and CEO Boy Wonder, who was my age, clean-cut, and fresh-faced. We few, we happy few who would have followed Boy Wonder onto the battlefields of Agincourt, didn’t care that our office felt like a bachelor pad, with no table in the break room or toilet paper in the bathroom (but an Xbox and a toy dinosaur for morale). Even my most inexperienced co-workers intuited that it was rare to have a boss who inspired you.
As the year wore on, however, and bad decisions compounded, our allegiance wore thin. CEO Boy Wonder became more remote, the office more bureaucratic. We hired a CTO; he quit. The scheduled launch of our site, built on the cheap in China, was delayed, then delayed again. When the day at last arrived, the onslaught of traffic was too much for our unprepared servers, which gave up faster than the French.
A smell that I recognized wafted through the office air: lay-offs.
Billfold pal Ester Bloom has an essay over at The Morning News about where she was during previous elections, including working at a startup in 2008 (with me!) for a young, charismatic 20-something CEO who, well, did not live up to expectations. The startup went downhill, and we were all let go as the recession hit a peak. But the important thing is that we are all much, much better off than we were four years ago, and working on better things, which counts for a lot.