One year ago today, Vidbook, Inc. closed its doors. It’s really hard to believe that it’s already been a whole year. What happened on that day proved that yours truly would be facing trying times.
On September 11th, terrorists attacked America. Eleven days later, Elise and I became newlyweds. 52 days later, I was out of a job.
I remember that day vividly. The remaining six of us worked a 9-6 day. We all knew that this day was coming, but we kept working hard for our boss. Deep down, we all hoped that something would turn for the better.
I always took a late lunch, usually around 2 p.m. I would ride my motorcycle to our apartment in the ghetto, eat a turkey sandwich, some pretzels and watch daytime talk shows. It was my ritual. I would return to work a little after 3 and try to finish whatever project I was working on.
One year ago today I walked back into the office after a nice ride. The weather was just like it is today, sunny and in the mid-70’s. I opened the door to suite 103 and Julie, our office manager looked up at me and said “Grab a box!” At first I thought she was asking for help in moving something heavy as I was the only remaining male who wasn’t of the managerial sort.
I saw everyone else with boxes, packing up their desks. It took many “You’re kidding, right?” inquiries before I was convinced that I wouldn’t be coming to work the next day.
I took off my jacket, held on to the collar and dragged it behind me as I wandered aimlessly around what used to be where I worked. I walked into the president’s office where he was sipping a beer and talking to our CPA. I shook his hand and said “Thanks for everything… I’m sorry it didn’t work out.”
He told me he was also sorry. He also to me that I was talented and to keep up the good work. That made me feel a little better – but not a lot – I was out of a job. I was one of the countless lay offs from a dot-com bomb.
Later I followed suit and packed up all of my stuff [mostly toys]. I emailed everyone that I knew and told them what had just happened.
The people who had become my friends and were now my former coworkers and I decided to drown our sorrows. We did just that. I think we started the night at Baby A’s on Barton Springs. We celebrated joining the not-so-elite Silicon Hills unemployment chapter. We talked about when each of us would start our job search. A few of us talked about starting our own business together. In the end, we all just wound up two sheets to the wind, confused and relieved.
I neglected to inform my new bride about my current unemployed status. I didn’t do it intentionally. She came home from work to find 20 minutes worth of messages on our answering machine from people expressing their sympathy.
That was a Tuesday. I called the Texas Workforce Commission on Wednesday and started drawing unemployment. I took the rest of the week off. I started my job search on Saturday. Three months later, I had a new job.
I wish we had never left Austin. We both miss it more than you can imagine…