Where Did We Go Wrong?


By: Jay Manahan | Business Development Director – TeleDevelopment Services

where did we go wrong

“Tell me what is your interest in our company?” an email from the CEO said and nothing else.

I ignored it for the next 24 hours. “Spam,” I thought.

The next day, in a more lucid moment, I was able to connect the dots.

One email reply, a few texts, six days, and a couple of Skype interviews later, I was calling in sick for work on a Friday and boarding a plane to meet this CEO in person at his production office, on an island surrounded by beautiful beaches and populated by people with very good English.

He introduced me to his leadership team as a presumptive head of everything revenue. He also introduced a Stanford intern who apparently would “help in strategy.”

They booked me at a nice hotel. Then over the weekend, I ferried with them to another well-known island to join their overnight team building.

It involved more of the embarrassing presumptive introductions.

The CEO, the rest of the management team, and I were booked at a very expensive resort with exclusive beach access.

He said, “One week a month, you can work remotely and just do nothing but write content.”

I took the plane home very late Sunday night. Monday, I received a formal job offer. The same day, I gave my four-week notice.

During those four weeks, the CEO flew back to the US headquarters, and I connected heavily with his teams, key clients, and strategy underlings while continuing to serve remaining days with my current employer. With no gap between closing out the old employer and relocating for the new one, it was hectic, to say the least.

On my first day, I was introduced to the head of marketing. The next day, he was gone. The following week, the CEO announced the departure of the California-based sales director.

Sans onboarding or transition, I took charge of CRM data and all email campaigns.

Once, the new COO mentioned in passing an enterprise-wide system integration effort that’s starting, and I thought I’d optionally help out by giving my two cents’ worth about Salesforce and marketing automation.

Another time, I overheard the new COO and one of the co-founders worriedly discussing options for who’d go to a tradeshow overseas. I said if they were really all out of options, I did have a passport, and maybe I could help.

I ended up taking a plane to a port city, then a bus and multiple train rides to the tradeshow capital. Four days crossing the weekend were filled with day-long standing at the tradeshow and a couple of nighttime hours on the laptop riding the country’s restrictive internet access.

Suddenly, a PM back at the production office was demanding my previously optional two cents, because allegedly, the system integration effort was getting delayed because of me.

I was finally, exhaustedly flying back from the tradeshow capital after a rush and a scare of missing my flight due to tight scheduling that minimized hotel expenses. I arrived very early morning, after a straight 24 hours from the tradeshow and in transit.

I took that first day back–a weekday–off for rest. I reported to the office the next day.

Once at the office, I got a call from the COO–two doors away from me–on my cell phone. She asked if I was reporting to work that day, as my companion from the tradeshow already did.

The next day, I told the COO that I’d work remotely the following week, writing content. The day after that, I would find out she relayed that message to the CEO, who would reply to the both of us that he remembered making no such arrangement with me, but that I could do so that one time.

The next week, as planned, I took a flight home and worked remotely. Thursday of that week, while working remotely, I resigned.

I said I would return to the island the following week to serve my remaining week and a half.

And I did. I packed my stuff from my apartment, gave my landlord notice and a friendly farewell, and took a peaceful flight back home.

The CEO told me my resignation was obviously a surprise to him.

“Where did we go wrong?” he asked.