[NYT] Around the Web in 44 Days.

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From: Adam Rifkin (adam@KnowNow.com)
Date: Mon Sep 11 2000 - 02:27:05 PDT

If you jumped in a time machine and went back to 1981-1982 when the
U.S. was in recession and told them how hot the labor market was in
2000, I wonder how they'd react.


"Headhunters now cast me about at an even higher salary and title than
before, and the fish are biting." Sheesh... *how* long is 44 days in
Internet time?

> Around the Web World in 44 Days
> "WHAT can we do to get you?"
> Those are seductive words to hear at a job interview. I tell them
> I want $145,000, when not long ago $90,000 sounded exciting. They
> come back with an offer of $140,000 and 30,000 stock options. I hit
> the ball back: $140,000 and 35,000 options. With those options, I
> can buy shares at $1; I'll make $35,000 if I sell at $2, or
> $350,000 if I hold out for $10.
> It's a deal. I'll get all that for helping to create a Web site
> that will change the world for people with disabilities and their
> friends and families, a job that will be more exciting, more
> stimulating than any I've ever had.
> I've arrived. The world has finally recognized my true value. My
> three major work needs have been satisfied at a shot: a position
> that is commensurate with my age; success by the most common
> standard -- money; and an opportunity to spend my time and energy on
> something that I and my liberal friends and family respect.
> I give three weeks' notice at the ad agency where I'm working.
> It's more than necessary, but I like it there, and I don't want to
> burn any bridges.
> When I start at the dot-com the company has 70 employees -- up from
> 20 just four months earlier -- and is already running out of space.
> Thinking big is where it's at -- hire, spend, go all out, win.
> Everybody gets a brand new ThinkPad, a good chair and an ergonomic
> mouse pad and wrist support. We hire freelance writers at $1 a word
> to create content, and we bring in professional photographers to
> spice it up.
> The mood is high; the hiring continues. We're committed to the
> value of the Web site, to the validity of what we're doing. And we
> aren't kids. This isn't one of those hipper-than-thou downtown
> sites with hoops over the desks, music as loud as a club's and
> 20-year-olds trying to make a business. We have years of experience
> behind us, as well as maturity and, of course, talent.
> I put in long hours, but no one is pressuring me -- I've got goals
> and a personal commitment to making it work. For the first time in
> a long time, I'm not dragging by 4 or 5 p.m. In fact, by 7:30, I
> have to force myself to leave my Manhattan office and catch the 8
> o'clock train so that I can get home by 9:15, get to sleep by
> 10:30, and get up at 5:45 rested and ready to go.
> But nothing is ever as good as it seems. A few weeks into the job,
> there are cracks in the bliss. Roles aren't clearly defined. Where
> does one person's power give way to another's? Who makes this or
> that decision?
> What did the chief executive tell you? That's not what he told me.
> People are whispering at the copying machine. We need better
> technology. We need better content. We need better marketing. We
> need to produce income faster. The investors are antsy. They're
> breathing down the chief executive's neck. He's got to slow his
> burn rate. He's got to find and eliminate the problem.
> The chief executive schedules a 9:30 a.m. meeting. Another pep
> talk, no doubt. We'll hear that we're all in this together; the
> competition is good but not as good as us. He will say he has made
> mistakes. We've all made mistakes. Let's just learn from our
> mistakes and move forward.
> But he reschedules the meeting to noon and asks that everyone be
> available until then. Over the course of that morning, he dismisses
> the chief financial officer, the chief technology officer, the
> chief Web site officer and some of us higher-paid staff. It's been
> six weeks and two days, a sizable experience in Internet time.
> MOURN the loss of a job I loved. The stars and planets won't ever
> be so perfectly aligned again. But by the remarkable rules of the
> new economy, my six weeks' experience at a dot-com has propelled me
> up the food chain.
> Headhunters now cast me about at an even higher salary and title
> than before, and the fish are biting.


Do you think my being faster, stronger has anything to do with my muscles in this place? Do you believe that's air you are breathing now? If you can free your mind, the body will follow. -- The Matrix

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