The neighborhood was full of dot coms. And many were shutting down. The usual drill was, after everybody got to work, they'd pull a bus up outside and tell everyone they were going to a company meeting. When they got on the bus, they told them they were laid off. Or, sometimes, they'd just call a meeting, tell them they were laid off and usher them into the bus which would take them to their cars. It was a weird time. There were a lot of buses.
We had a couple of rounds of layoffs - no buses, interestingly. But I was spared. I think it was really because I was willing to do anything. You want a secretary? No prob. I can be a secretary. The CEO disappeared for a month. Watercooler reports had him in rehab.
And then, in April, they laid off everybody. And shut the doors. We got lucky. They shut down while they still had enough cash to pay everybody (and the CEO's rehab). Many were not nearly as lucky.
I got unemployment payments from the government which, in Washington state, are almost embarrassingly generous and went to work on my job hunt. I did not really have any good ideas or good leads but I really loved the idea of walking across the street to work.
So I made a list of every single company I could find within a four block radius and I gave each the gift of my resume along with a 'hi neighbor!' cover letter explaining just exactly why they would be so much better off if they hired me.
A company kitty cornered from Vitessa - on the same side of the street as me, just on the next corner, bought my gambit. And I went to work for PAR3 Communications doing communications. Yes, folks, I cut my 1 block commute in half. It was a personal victory.
PAR3 was only about 2 years old at this point. Their business was robot calling. Yeah. I was never very comfortable with that either. But, the people at PAR3 were very cool and it was a fun place to work. The offices were in a restaurant. Well, it had been a restaurant the month before they moved in. The bar was still there with booze still in it.
My cube was right between the two IT guys who were THE best. They kept me laughing every day and taught me a bunch of cool stuff. My first project was to create, build and populate an internal website for employees. It was great fun. One of those two IT guys was on a big More Cowbell kick so I named the internet website Cowbell. It was quite popular.
In September, I was up getting dressed with NPR on as usual when I heard about a plane hitting the Twin Towers in NYC. I turned on the TV just in time to see the second plane hit.
2001 was truly a year that was just full.
To Be Continued