Back in 1994 I met a Nevada attorney with whom I became good friends. We met in Detroit, Michigan, while working for the same company.
When he started a competing company in 1995, he asked me to come aboard as the CEO. He couldn’t match my current pay, so I didn’t go. At that time in my life, pay was everything.
He kept after me on a regular basis, and I volunteered many weekends to help create the infrastructure for his company. As his company grew, he kept asking me to work for him. I kept telling him that when he could match my salary, I was all his.
Finally, in March 1995, he said he could, and would, match my salary. My salary had grown substantially. He was shocked, but I gave him a pay stub as proof. He offered me the job and the salary. I gave two weeks notice and flew from Oakland, California, to Tampa, Florida, to begin my new job.
As his company acquired more Clients—specifically Clients in California and Nevada, he decided to move the company west. Since I was the CEO, I had some input into new headquarters, and we landed in my home town of San Diego.
During all my interactions with him, he kept promising me the world, and he kept delivering….
One of his promises was that if the company survived five years with me as CEO, I would get 5% of the company. As we came upon the four-year anniversary, he announced that he was dating one of our employees in Boston. At 4½ years, he announced his engagement. At 4 years and 11 months, he got married and they went to Europe on a 30-day honeymoon. When they returned, he announced that I was being let go and that his wife was going to be the new CEO. I had no employment contract because I trusted him immensely.
Life has been downhill ever since….
My only satisfaction with that story is that six months after they got married, they got divorced. Interestingly, even though he was an attorney with a net worth far in excess of hers, he had no prenuptial. She got $37 million, half of his net worth, in the divorce settlement.
Moral: Get it in writing.
I reached the pinnacle of my career in 1999-2000, and today I am at the bottom. I’m still trying but not really sure what I’m going to do, or how much longer I’m going to stick around….
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