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Timing Is Everything

About this time two decades ago, I had to get some tricky timing just right to survive. That was when the dot com bubble burst and I was laid off from the fabulous B2B job that lasted only eight months. I had four months remaining on a one-year lease for the house I had moved into at the edge of Bear Creek Park–a great open space with easy access to cycling and hiking trails leading right up into the mountains. Not bad for a city residence. The layoff notice was issued with adequate severance pay shortly before springtime and that winter had been mild. Deciding to stay there through the end of the lease to enjoy spring in the Rockies, I spent some of the time performing at different places along the front range and deeper into the Rockies at a few special venues.

Between performances I explored places I wanted to see in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming and North Dakota while interviewing for a new job with several companies and two state government agencies in three of those states, a perfect mix of activities, spent inside and outside, to fill the time. It was a beautiful spring with only one light snow shower during the last week of May, falling in its entirety while performing one fine evening at the Ute Pass Cultural Center for one of the best audiences I've ever had the pleasure to play for.

By the time the lease expired I had received three job offers all within its final week. Nice timing, providing plenty of time to decide which one to accept, pack up and move. All three jobs were in Santa Fe, New Mexico, less than one hundred miles from the wilderness property I intended to eventually settle on. One was with a biotech startup and the other two were with state government agencies. The biotech firm offered the largest salary but something didn't feel right about it. They seemed too desperate for talent. One of the state government agencies seemed even more desperate and offered a measly salary. So I accepted the offer from the second state agency. As it turned out, it was the best choice.

Within one year after accepting that offer the other state agency's IT department was in a shambles and under investigation by state auditors. And by the time I resigned from the second state agency, the biotech firm had been out of business for more than two years. I even interviewed one of their former employees for a key position on our development team when the company shut down. A shady governor had taken office and my supervisor announced she would be retiring at the end of the same year I decided I would resign and start my own business. After a short stint serving as acting CIO in her place, my career as an employee was finished for good. Unfortunately, my timing then was not so great. A year later the Great Recession hit and my niche market evaporated.

Surviving that mess by living lean while fat cat car makers and banksters were being bailed out, courtesy of taxpayers, my company business picked up well enough to last through to retirement twelve years after its startup. Decent enough timing to be satisfying. Now timing is not so important for survival–boiling down for the most part to enjoyable stretches of activities of my own choosing timed precisely to my desire.

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