Tuesday, May 19, 2009

If you want to get Bit in the Arse, go into Business with your Friends

Last week, President Obama graced Arizona with his presence at ASU's commencement ceremony.  With around 60,000 of my closest friends, I made the trek from the 'burbs  by way of the new light rail and a whole lot of walking in the blistering hot sun. Like the others, I was excited to hear what the President would have to say to my beloved Alma Mater who stiffed him an honorary degree and whose class of 2009 is facing the toughest job market in memory. His speech writers didn't disappoint. He was funny and poignant, irreverent and inspiring.  He challenged the graduates to seek after different riches than those that contributed to the collapse of Wall Street. He urged them to take different risks - ones that would ultimately make the world better - and he acknowledged that they might fail, and fail again; but to take heart because their body of work is yet to be finished...

...And thank God for that! On Saturday, I was fired for the second time in a month. I wish I was kidding.  I really do.  Here's the story: In light of my joblessness, mortgage, and the fact that I allow my nearest and dearest to hang out pool side whenever they feel like it, a friend who owns his own business offered me the opportunity to do a little online SEO work for some extra cash. Gladly, I accepted and managed to impress in a relatively short amount of time.  A few weeks into our arrangement, I made an unrelated joke about this person that after making it's way through the gossip tree that our friends operate not unlike the childhood game of Telephone - I was informed that my "services would no longer be needed."  All I could think was, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! 

Awesome. The Universe - 2, Me - 0. 

I would love to expound on how completely silly and petty and pathetic this situation is and how my joke was not in QUITE the bad taste it was made out to be, but I'm still experiencing enough shock and disbelief that I don't even have the energy for it. "With friends like these, who needs..." you know the rest. 

In all seriousness, I recognize that there are lessons to be learned here as well - don't joke about your boss, don't joke about your boss to the Town Crier, if you do joke about your boss, address the situation with him right away, etc.  But not the least of these lessons is this: Do Not Go Into Business With Your Friends. That is a hard one for me - as some of the most intelligent, creative and talented people I know are my friends.  Money may not actually be the root of all evil, but when one friend has it to lord over another, bad things are bound to happen.  In spite of the fact that I am down another paycheck, thoroughly saddened that I hurt my friend, and - yet again - am sufficiently humbled, I am actually a bit glad that this happened at this exact time (okay, I know that you know I'm lying through my teeth - but I'm trying to see the silver lining here people!) because as I flesh out the new business ideas I have floating through my head, it is very tempting to call upon my friends to be part of them.  

Maybe this is one of the risks President Obama was speaking of when he addressed Sun Devil Stadium last week, or maybe it wasn't. Either way, I plan to tuck this little gem away and remember my ill-fated and short lived career working for a friend, and stay determined to make the hard choices next time.  The businesses and nonprofit organizations I plan to launch as part of my body of work may force me to work harder and longer without the help of my besties, but maybe they will also force me to tap into the wealth of knowledge being held by strangers and neighbors who are looking to find their dreams in the Arizona desert as well.  Only time will tell.

1 comment:

Megan Michelle said...

A woman in line next to me, waiting to see President Obama admitted that she was carrying tacos in her purse. I wonder what the secret service thinks of that?

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