Doing Business as a Designer: Fallout – Part 2

Posted on July 14, 2010

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Deep in Ryan’s heart, he had no knowledge about web design, internet advertising, and internet marketing. “The core of my skills was in print design. Programming, online ads, user interface, and user experience were all alien to me. On top of that, I did not know how to do write up an executive summary.”

After getting home Ryan calls his best friend Jason who has web domain expertise.

“I was frantically explaining the situation to Jason. While explaining to him, I had visions of losing everything I had worked for. The feeling of powerlessness became all too real in a matter of seconds.”

Jason tells Ryan that “making a sudden turn around into learning about the web is like turning the Titanic on a dime. Absorbing the knowledge takes time and repetition.”

Ryan defiantly hangs up.

Over the course of three weeks, Ryan consumes every form of knowledge pertaining to the web; spending voraciously and without question. Piles of books and DVD’s were peppered all over his condo. “Even my hard drives were filled to the brim with content.” Ryan recalls.

At the end of the forth week Ryan presents the executive summary to the VP of operations in the morning. The VP is impressed and tells Ryan that he will be presenting this plan to the board at lunch.

Three hours after lunch, Ryan slumps over his desk contemplating every outcome imaginable.

“What if they don’t like my plan?”
“What if they do? What do I need to learn next?
“What if I lose my job? Where will I go next?”

“My mind was racing at 1000 mph. I could not even concentrate on eating my lunch.”

Suddenly, the phone rings. Ryan picks up the phone and is told to meet the VP in his office. Upon entering he takes a deep breath before opening the door.

“While twisting that door knob, I made a decision to accept whatever comes my way at face value. I’ve done the best I can. It is time to man up.”

Ryan enters and sits down with an arm resting on each chair arm, feet planted shoulder width apart.

“The VP tells me that the board rejected my executive summary. During the meeting, two consultants had carefully reviewed the summary. It was deemed not viable.”

Reclining in his executive chair with a somber face, the VP explains “Ryan, I know your background. I know that you have been working for this company for a very long time and your investment is highly appreciated. In the history of Two Suns, we have never had layoffs as high as this. You were on the list to be immediately cut however I wanted to give you a fighting chance to stay on board. Unfortunately things did not turn out they way we both wanted to. I had to make a decision, so you will be cut. However you will not leave empty handed; you have severance pay.”

“It was a solemn moment for both of us. I appreciated his efforts in giving me that fighting chance. But ultimately it was not about preventing my layoff; it was preventing comfort from overcoming me.”

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