Sometimes Opportunity Finds You

I recently lost my job for a large tech company — it was sudden and unexpected. It was unexpected because the company had just moved our team to a new office, and they invested a lot of time and money into not only the office, but our remote team. I’d been at this company for over a year, and although it hadn’t been a great experience so far, we’d recently started a new project, and I was really happy. We had a great small team, freedom to execute, our target users were interesting with unique needs, and we’d taken the time to research and understand them.

Fast-forward 8 months, and our VP of Engineering comes into town to tell us they’re shutting our office down, and we’re all out of a job unless we relocate. We had four weeks before we’d no longer be walking through the doors and sitting down at our desks. It was a shock. Not the obvious “I just lost my job” kind of shock, but more of a “Huh?”. After having a bit of time to process it with my co-workers, everyone quickly rallied their connections and we had multiple companies talking about hiring the entire team. Good engineers are hard to find, but it was a surprise to have so many options for everyone, and to have them so quickly.

I’m no stranger to walking into a meeting room with an entire office and being told that the office (or company) is shutting down. About seven years ago my first big engineering job was at a design and development agency called Medium. I didn’t expect to get the job, and felt totally unqualified once I started, but it was an amazing team, and we did some amazing things. One day we walked in, and the partners sat us all down and told us they were shutting it down. It wasn’t about money, the partners just couldn’t work together anymore. We all felt helpless.

Losing that job was tough. It was a great team, and I was lucky to be a part of it. I think a lot of us still feel that way. But the minute I walked out of that conference room 5 years ago, I saw opportunity. Once again, that’s exactly what I saw when we found out our office was shutting down a few weeks ago. The opportunity I saw wasn’t one that any of my co-workers or I went looking for, it was one that found me.