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Caught in a Time Tunnel

September 1, 2006

I haven’t blogged much this week as a very interesting experience happened to me and a number of people across the US. I have mentioned that I worked the storage industry 15 years ago. It was a small company in Boca Raton that capitalized on the success of the IBM PC. The company was bought out by the AIWA division of Sony and later folded. I lost track of most of my

co-workers, occasionally finding each other at trade shows, but a few of them contacted me via my blog.

The employees went to any number of companies that include Fujitsu, Compaq (HP), ADP, Ziff Davis and Good Morning America, Disney, LSI Logic, IBM, Lenovo, Ingram Micro, Gucci and a few who started their own businesses. (Sorry if I missed some of your companies, not intentional).

The interaction exploded this week with an innocuous note about a reunion, and the communication shot out of a cannon. People added a couple of people they knew until a big list of ex employees were chatting as if the 15 years never happened. It was quite interesting hearing about what everyone was doing, almost like an online college reunion. I read other’s blogs and personal pages. It seems as if everyone has move on to bigger and better things. Who knew that we had that much talent while we were scrapping against the big boys of the industry!

There was a common thread to most of the communications, that being the owner of the company whom I’ll leave at eccentric. Everyone had a story about this owner, and many had multiple stories. It was genuine book material which is what the corporate attorney told me when we worked there. From day one, he kept track of the bizarre behavior and was in disbelief at the antics, saying to me once that he should write a book about this one day.

Everyone opens and closes chapters in their life. I thought this one was closed, but was delighted that it returned. I was genuinely happy to hear from everyone (almost as it now is described below). As it turns out, others also study the martial arts, some changed careers, there was a funny story about engineers setting up an electric eye cam with speakers in their back room to know when the boss was coming (who said IT guys aren’t creative), and at least one went on to stay in the storage industry.

It brought me back to a different time in my life where I cut my teeth in a lot of techniques that I use today to get my job done.

The story unfolded more this year, as I ran into the former owner of the company and while we had our differences, I decided to extend my olive branch and it was accepted. We discussed racing and life and he even commented on my postings and of the email remembrances. It was quite nice to see that through years, time and maturity (by some of the employees) we could reconnect as humans. Instead of employer/employee status, we were just guys.

More than I can say for some of the employees who couldn’t let their emotions go and grow up. One whom I pity with very heavy misandristic tendencies wouldn’t take the olive branch.  Like the story above, I offered to bury the hatch to no avail.  She was in technical writing and actually worked for me in marketing for a while, but never was able to let go of her hate and responded with ad-hominem attack which was very revealing. She didn’t mature from that period, and time stood still for her as far as we were concerned. The dichotomy of the situation was she wanted to be one of the boys while professing to be a feminist, a bipolar relationship with men.

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6 Comments
  1. Therese permalink

    I currently work for Lenovo and during a recent employee survey conducted by Gallup, one questions was “Do you have a best friend at work”. We all thought this was a strange thing to ask. However, reading through the string of notes in the past couple of days, from people I worked with 15 yeards ago at a company they didn’t particularly care for, it is clear, that the only reason we all stayed as long as we did, was the great friendships we build at work.

    It has been so much fun to see where everyone is 15 years later…….

  2. As John mentioned, it has been an interesting week – to say the least. When emails first started landing in my mailbox, I was totally caught off-guard. It was indeed an unexpected pleasure. I’ve had the opportunity to work at several companies and ad agencies in various cities and states over the years – some small, some very large – and if nothing else, I realize now how satisfying my time in Boca Raton really was. Echoing Therese’s sentiments: it’s clear the main reason I stayed so long was because of the friendships that evolved. What’s most interesting to me is that even with all of the owner’s antics and other prevailing issues of the day, the company was able to assemble a talented staff of professionals that were fun to work and socialize with on a regular basis. That is rare. It’s been great reconnecting with everyone. let’s not wait another 15 years!

  3. Rich permalink

    Do you encourage your wife to comment on your blogs?  I know I’m kind of a jerk for posting comments like this, but I can’t help myself.

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