Tales From Inside the Tech Bubble

I loved the problems that were interesting. I like taking something that is broken and making it usable. But then I have to ask someone in Michigan in February to open their phone box, so I can tell if the short is in their house. Imagine being asked three times to go out to the side of your house in the freezing cold to open a gray plastic box with a metal screw that is rusted into the plastic because none of the agents will write the notes of the test result in the ticket. Part of my job was to ask you to go out just one more time so that I could post the results.

It was not a job for people that cared what other people thought of them, because people in that situation will tell you what they think of you.

When a system breaks, it reveals something about itself. I never got tired of that.

I had managed to move around the company, just ahead of the layoffs that occurred when the tech bubble blew into pieces.

Our company was brought to its knees rather quickly. There was a center meeting room that was nick named the gas chamber. Entire departments were brought in for meetings, where they would be laid off. It got so bad that I would freak out every time my boss walked behind me.

It was strange to me, because the work hadn’t stopped. The company had lost some whole sale customers, but it was gaining its own customer base that should have been more profitable.

The stock dropped out of the market, but I wasn’t sure why it was so bad. Companies don’t make money off of their stock.

The company did the same amount of work but with a lot less people and layoffs happened in back office rooms with less noise.

It never gained its former exuberance that could take a guy that sold tshirts and turn him into a NOC manager.

Looking back, I think the reason was that the entire company was propped up between debt and investors. The company gobbled debt in an effort to gain a large footprint. As long as the stock price was high, the debt to asset ratio was manageable. When the stock price dropped; all they had was debt, and they filed for bankruptcy.

The office manager decided to cut the lights out in the building everywhere but in the cubes that were occupied. Each day brought more empty cubes and dark spaces around my desk, until I sat under a single bank of lights in an empty office building.


Posted

in

by

%d bloggers like this: