“We’re sorry, but…”

Those are words you never want to hear at the beginning of a closed-door meeting with your boss and his boss. That’s how my day started a couple Fridays ago.

I’d spent the preceding two and a half years in the Marketing department of the Hayes Bicycle Group – a manufacturer of mountain bike components based in Mequon, Wisconsin. I came in as the Marketing Supervisor and was subsequently promoted to Marketing Manager. It was a dream job. I managed some very talented, creative people, and we did really good work. I was especially excited about the way the organization was embracing social media. At the time of my departure, we had one active blog, four Facebook pages, and at least half a dozen people on Twitter. We were way ahead of the curve in the bike industry.

Unfortunately, the recession hit the bike industry hard. Bike manufacturers canceled or reduced orders and delayed production. That pushed our sales down, which put pressure on our budget. Since mine was one of the biggest slices of the pie, I was instructed to cut back, then cut back some more. I realized that a point might come when the only thing left to cut would be my salary…

While I’m not thrilled about being unemployed, I realize that it’s a valuable opportunity. I’m going to be a dad next year, so if I’m still hunting when the kid comes, I’ll be grateful for the extra time I get to spend with him/her – not to mention Kelley. I’m also excited about some freelance opportunities that have presented themselves. More on both of those subjects in future posts.