For the first decade of my career, I was the quintessential company man. I thought I would be a “lifer.” I followed the path of the corporate hierarchy and moved three times for my employer, IBM. I was rewarded for my loyalty and tenure with promotions, picnics, and silver spoons when my children were born. I was also taught to measure success in other ways such as the size of one’s office (we counted ceiling tiles) and whether or not it had a wood desk.
Then, 11 years into my tenure, the company decided to shut down the manufacturing plant in Boca Raton, where I was working. They offered anyone willing to leave a sweet deal: two years’ salary, two years of benefits, and $25,000, but I didn’t even consider it. I didn’t want to leave IBM. My wife had other plans, however. She also worked at IBM and pregnant with our daughter, and she thought the package was too compelling to pass up. If she was going to leave, I decided I would too.