Yes, it’s true. But it wasn’t personal and it wasn’t performance-based.
In 2007 I left a prosperous job at Goldman Sachs to join an Internet start-up. Goldman was intense to say the least and I wasn’t happy. What’s more, I wasn’t writing. I spent 35 grand on a graduate education in journalism and I was writing little more than truncated, abbreviated emails while on the job.
Joining the new company meant taking a bit of a pay cut with no opportunity for a year-end bonus — something that allowed me to build a considerable savings after two years at Goldman. But it was ok. I was happy to do it and eager to see what lay ahead.
The new job was fun, flexible and fast. We had fun on AND off the job, my hours were flexible with a good amount of time spent working from home, and I forged friendships fast. We traveled to conferences in exotic places as far away as Monte Carlo and as close as Boca Raton, Florida.
My boss was an entrepreneur who dabbled in many different ventures. The one that generated the most revenue was in financial securities lending. He branched out into the media world in 2008 and was operating in the red by the following year. In May 2009 I was reduced to half-time. The adjusted salary meant I had to scale back on my lifestyle a bit but it also freed me up to explore other passions. The change wound up being a very liberating one and around that time, me and my husband Jason began talking about starting a family.
I stopped taking the pill in late September. By November I was pregnant. The following month I got my first pay check in the mail rather than direct deposit. I remember Jason telling me it was a sign that I would be let go. I told him he was crazy. By January I was indirectly informed by a colleague and friend that my job with the production company, along with dozens of others, had been terminated. Jason was not crazy after all. He knew exactly what he was talking about.
I was almost three months pregnant at the time and had not yet shared the expecting news with anyone other than family. When people close to me learned that I had been terminated from my job, they encouraged me to seek recourse and take action. But that was silly. I was working from home at that point and my boss hadn’t a clue that I was pregnant. It was nothing I did or didn’t do. The company simply did not survive the credit crisis.
Working with the Internet start-up allowed me to get back to my roots in writing. It was the birthplace of many wonderful friendships. It was a great ride and I have absolutely no regrets about taking that job. Pregnancy hormones cast aside, I even wrote my boss an email thanking him for the opportunity. If there is one thing I have learned in the business world it’s to never burn your bridges. It may be cliche, but it’s true.