I was living a dream situation, I was working with my friends, getting paid more then I ever had, and building something I felt had value. On Maslows pyramid I was pulling up on 4 or 5.
Then one Wednesday everything changed, we had a big company meeting, my whole team was called into a meeting. As someone who has worked for a couple start ups what came next was pretty expected. The company was doing okay, but in order to get profitable and stay profitable we going to need to cut the roster down. They started to hand out packets, I was the last in line, by the time they got to me, they had ran out. The VP looked at me surprised, and told me that I shouldn't be in the room.
This was the only time I have ever been fired, and it was only for 10 minutes. The next thirty minutes was unorthodox to say the least. The company culture was really great, the executive team did everything possible to form a family, and most of us really ate it up. We got together for family dinners, we hung out together in free time, and happy hours never felt forced or awkward. So the next thirty minutes were as expected a family divorce. I credit the CEO so much, he owned up to everything and was there apologizing and offering any help he could give to the new job hunters.
Post family break up things started changing, mostly good things. I was put on a team where I was learning a ton, I was given a lot of autonomy, I was given the opportunity to make a different group of friends. This isn’t to say it was all good. the team I was on had a mostly negative attitude. In between the nearly constant complaints there was an error of disdain for the job.
As one who was left behind I struggled intensely with survivors guilt. Every morning for a month as I woke up asking my self "did they make a mistake choosing not to fire me?" And every evening before falling asleep I would ponder "why was everyone on my team except me fired, why me?"
There is an old phrase that goes "You are the average of the five people you are closest to." I had 5 positive smart people who I spent everyday with these people, and in a single day that number dropped to 1 and was replaced by a stack of negative people. Over the next couple months I noticed myself picking up their attitude. People outside of work started asking me what was wrong in my life, and that I seemed to be really depressed.
As I examined my life I realized I love the work I do, and autonomy the job offered. On the flip side being surrounded by smart, yet argumentative people who enjoyed complaining more then working was slowly yet surely seeping into my personality.
It was with that realization I came to the conclusion I needed to attempt to leave good in search of great.