I forgot how weird it is to sit in front of your email Inbox and find it….empty. Yes, I quit last week and they promptly turned off my email. No worries, I was expecting that.
At first I was going to give my clients and my former boss a day or two to digest the news, however, my boss, God bless him, is already aggressively talking to these clients to try to keep them. He’s circling wagons and I don’t blame him. I have sent out a gentle “Change is Good” intro email with a benefits piece on why they should keep me, but it won’t be as easy as I hoped. We are business people for heavens sake, so as much as they like me, they need to look after themselves first. The good news is I have meetings already scheduled with the two biggest clients – they called me. The bad news is that I not only have to compete with my former boss , but also outside folks for the biggest account. However, I am the eternal optimist, you know, so I feel confident that if I remain calm, humble and clever, I will win the day.
I felt such peace and had no anxiety about this “conscious uncoupling” as Gynweth Paltrow likes to say. My partner-in-crime was with me and we said “Hasta la vista”. My former boss had nothing to say to keep us wanting to stay. I explained that I wanted this to be friendly and family. Then after a weekend to digest the pending divorce, because it is a divorce from his “Work Wife”, my boss called to discuss it a bit further. He is apparently going through the 5 Stages of Grief and was working through anger.
It’s funny listening to someone else processing their hurt. Not funny haha, but funny interesting. He wanted to blame anyone but himself, although he is self-aware enough to know blame rests with him. He accused me of surprising him and I gently said, “How else am I going to do this without somehow surprising you?” He wanted to divvy up the clients, but I said that was not for us to do, but the clients needed to decide what was best for themselves. He sought informal legal advice from a buddy, challenged me on a few things and the list goes on. He is on the losing end of things, his work world has fallen apart and he just lost a really sweet income stream that had virtually no overhead and a huge return for him. I can’t blame him for being upset.
I have been telling the Hunter and my partner-in-crime, who we will call Robin (Batman’s sidekick) that I wanted to keep the former boss calm. It’s like keeping a tiger mellow because if the tiger is unleashed, it will not be pretty. I told my former boss that I wanted to give us space to discuss our separation, so I would not be issuing press releases or any announcements to our rabid colleagues. Quite frankly I am doing this to limit the competition of keeping my clients, but also I want our story to be mutual –when you swim in a shark tank there is safety in numbers. However, having said all the nice, sweet Maggie things, don’t fuck with me. These are my clients, regardless of what he thinks. He has talked to one only twice in three years; one he has never spoken to and the other, my sweet jewel of a client, he has repeatedly missed conference calls although they do like him personally. That’s going to be the toughest one to keep, but I’m ready for the battle and my secret weapon…Robin. They have never met Robin and will love her once they do. Now, it’s time to fly out of the BatCave out into the world and kick some ass.