Getting older is one of the few inevitable’s in life., and yet it’s a constant source of surprise. I still can’t quite wrap my head around how fast the years since have gone. 9 years in a failed marriage, a house that my ex kept, a pile of songs no one sings on albums no one listens too. And now even my career is falling apart. I’ve failed at literally everything I’ve ever cared about.
Grant took another sip of his beer and stared straight down at the table, blank faced. He was in one of his depressive moods and thought he was being philosophical and honest but as far as the rest of the world was concerned he was just wallowing in self-pity. Jared looked across the table at his friend and raised his eyebrow.
Snap out of it man. There’s a difference between failing and not having succeeded yet. Everyone who knows you respects you – you have courage and integrity and you’re smart. No one else would have walked into Mark (their CEO)’s office after a major product launch and told him the direction he was taking the company was wrong and would bankrupt us. And I can’t think of anyone else who could have convinced him he was right. That takes guts. You should be proud of yourself, not crying into your beer.
Depression aside, Grant was one of the smartest people he knew and it hurt Jared to see his friend hurting. If they were women they’d have probably cried it out over a bottle of wine. Being guys, beer and hearty slap on the back would have to do. Grant laughed bitterly in response to his friend’s attempt at comfort.
Sure, guts or a reckless disregard for my own career. I never got the fancy title but I poured plenty of blood and sweat into that company! And while Mark may have agreed with me and thought my ideas about how to turn things around were worth claiming as his own, that didn’t stop him from firing me for standing up to him. That makes confronting him a pretty bonehead move for a smart guy. And what do I have now? I’m 36 in an industry dominated by people a decade younger than me and I spent the last 8 years so focused on work I’ve let everything else that mattered fall by the wayside. Who’s going to hire me?
He paused to take a deep breath and a long pull of his drink. Jared wasn’t about to let him go down this road and took the opportunity to jump in.
Grant, what in the hell are you worried about getting hired for? You’re a born leader if you’d just stand up and lead. The valley is flooded with venture capital going to stupid ideas from inexperienced people with little or no chance of success. It’s about time we stopped taking orders and started our own company.
We? There’s no we here Jared, you’ve got a 2 year old daughter at home and I know Sharon isn’t going to want you leaving a reliable job to start a new company…
Yes we! I’ve already talked to Sharon about it. I have some savings and this isn’t entirely altruistic. You know I’ve wanted to start something of my own for ages but I don’t have a head for business. You do. I need you on this as much as you need me. Besides, without you around to keep Mark in check they’ll be out of business in six months. So are you going to sit here feeling sorry for yourself or are we going to hash out some ideas and put together a business plan?
Grant sat for a moment, thinking. He finished his beer in one pull and pushed the glass to the side, pulled his tablet out of his bag, and opened up his notepad app.
Alright man, let’s do this. What are you thinking?
Jared took a second to drain his beer and wave at the waiter for another round and started explaining his idea. By the time the bar closed 5 hours later they had a solid idea of their product and where to start coding. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a start.