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Highlights of 2004, Number 4

4. Oculan Closes And Reopens. Its the amazing now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t trick. Last May, my former employer abruptly closed up shop, having had its funding pulled out from under it. A great product and a great team was left twisting in the wind.

It could not have happened at a worse time for me personally. Kelly and I were already expecting our second child. Left without health insurance, we were facing potentially staggering medical bills for Travis’s birth. If that weren’t enough, we were also right in the middle of negotiations towards closing on a new house. Not having any income wouldn’t look good on a mortgage application, you know. It was the Perfect Storm of financial needs.

I decided the best route was to pick up the pieces, so I did what I could to save it. I arranged for a favorable newspaper article about the ex-employees. I followed up by personally pitching it to an interested company. Still, it seemed like things were moving at glacial speed.

Then things began to fall into place. We dug up a little-mentioned continuation policy from our health insurer which covered our son’s birth. And our credit and my consulting business were enough to get our mortgage application approved. The immediate needs were met.

To my gratitude, I began to get more consulting offers, seemingly out of the blue. I began to get serious about this work, even to the point of shopping for office space.

One particularly good contract came my way which I almost accepted. I had signed the contract and was just moments from faxing it back when I decided to call my old coworker to check one more time for any life left in the old product. To my delight, there was a place for me at the new company.

At the time my consulting business was going well. I’m sure I could have built it into a formidible business. The momemtum was there. On the other hand, I know an opportunity when I see one. I chose to roll the dice and see where this new company can take me.

So far the gamble is paying off. I’m working with the most talented members of the talent-rich team of people I used to work with. I feel engaged and important, which does wonders for my ego. And I’m right in the middle of things. Pretty-much perfect.

Don’t be fooled, though. It’s also a lot of work, but not to the point where my family life suffers. I still get home in time to be a father to my kids and a husband to my wife.

So the sad and abrupt ending of May has turned into an equally abrupt but happy beginning. This new year promises to bring even more fun challenges. I wonder what great things I’ll be sharing with you a year from now.