Those of you who have been following us for a long time know I worked for EarthLink until about a month ago. Yesterday was a hard day for a lot of EarthLinkers: 900 of them were laid off. Many of my old colleagues read our blog, so I wanted to write some words of encouragement to them. Hopefully over the next few weeks I will be able to talk with most of you but until then….
For those who were riffed, I know your pain. I am only a month ahead of you. If your experience is anything like mine, over the next few days you will go through all kinds of emotions ranging from anger to shock, from fear to excitement. After you get off the rollercoaster, you will discover there are many opportunities beyond EarthLink and that leaving might in fact be the best thing for you. Personally I am excited by what I see. As a family, we are opening our eyes to a whole new world of opportunities. I will write a post outlining them more in the near future, but perhaps my recent experience can be a help to you. Anne and I have decided to put our energy into pursuing three different paths. The first and most obvious is the traditional job search. I am responding to job opportunities when they are presented, but I have not yet worked my contact list or pursued my next executive job full time. A number of good opportunities have popped up already and I am following up on them. Each one is with an impressive company and is the type of career opportunity I would expect after EarthLink. In parallel efforts Anne and I are putting a plan in place to take our travels and our stories to a wider audience. I don’t have much to say about this yet, but thanks to the enthusiastic response we had from this blog and from Oprah viewers, we think there might be something there. The third area is also still coming together. After our trip we have a desire to do more to help those who have less than we do. I have a personal belief that the best way to help the most people is through businesses that create opportunity or improved lifestyles for those at the bottom of the pyramid…again another post. I have found a number of like-minded individuals who invest in for-profit businesses with high social impact and will be aiding them in some of their projects. For me, these are all exciting paths, I am sure there are similar paths or interests for you to pursue. The bottom line to those who just had the mat pulled out from under them is hold your head up. EarthLink was a great company to work for. It is also is a great company to have worked for. There are many opportunities out there. And while I don’t know all 900 of you, I probably know half of you, and there will be things in the future for all of you. Your skills and experience are greatly needed. I am excited to hear about the paths you forge over the next few months. Don’t hesitate to let me know where you land.
For those who are still at EarthLink, I wish you my best. I guess it will take a while for things to settle down, but when they do, I am sure you can make the next phase of EarthLink as unique as those that came before. I was a fan of EarthLink years before I joined the company, I “bled orange” there for 8 years, and I still am rooting for you. I agree with the cuts. As painful as this is, it had to happen. EarthLink has some strong cash-generating businesses which will now receive more focus. As a customer, shareholder, and friend, I look forward to your future success and the increased cash flow in 2008 and beyond.
To our non EarthLink readers, consider this my last EarthLink post. Thanks for indulging me as this is part of our journey.