A lifetime is not a long time and although we like to think of ourselves as immortal, life has a way of showing us how foolish we are to hold that belief. As I read of Detroit’s bankruptcy filing, I was reminded that the same is true with many of the decisions we make professionally and personally.
Using myself as an example, I owned recruiting businesses for many years until I realized that the economic climate in New York and nationally made it advantageous to sell my firm and join another. I could have fought on and tried to persevere in the face of business conditions that were “far beyond my pay grade.” I made a decision and it was a good one.
When I met my wife, we bought our first home together on Long Island, a cape on a 60 x 100 lot, about 1800 square feet. if you stretched your arms, it seemed like we could touch our neighbors’ homes (an exaggeration but you get the idea. We lived very close to our neighbors).
About 6 years after we bought the house it had more than doubled in value. I asked myself, “How much more could this house go up in price?” We sold it at almost the top of the market (we missed it by three weeks) and moved to Northeastern Pennsylvania and 7 years later to North Carolina.
Professionally, I sold my firm to someone I knew but there came a time when I recognized the signal that it was time to leave. It came in the form of a series of episodes following my previous wife’s passing, my recovery from Achilles tendon surgery, and my listening to him tell me that he didn’t have money to pay me yet giving cash to a co-worker that was a drinking buddy of his.
I joined another firm and was successful despite the owner being volatile at times and conducting himself in ways that wound up in the news (I won’t go into details; it isn’t necessary).
I left to join my current firm after discovering that this man didn’t tell me that he had collected a fee from a client that had clandestinely hired an applicant from me. The fee was sizable and since I…