Friday, July 13, 2012

Fifteen years ago: some major serendipity and transfer ends a major conflict of interest


Friday, July 11, 1997 – fifteen years ago – was the day that I officially “published” my first “Do Ask Do Tell” book by mailing the required registration copies to the Library of Congress, at about 4:30 PM in the afternoon. I remember the moment well.

When I got over to my mother’s home nearby, for dinner, afterward, I had a message waiting there.  I don’t know why the call went there rather than my own number.  It was from HR at my own employer, regarding my interest in transferring to the company that had acquired us, in Minneapolis.  It was an unusual time for such a message, late on a Friday afternoon.

The timing was perfect.  I needed to report to a different division of the company to avoid a potentially serious conflict, because my book “reported” on the military (about a controversial issue), and the division of the company that I had worked for in northern Virginia focused on sales of insurance to military officers.

Sometimes mergers and acquisitions are actually good for employees.  This one worked out really well for me, even though I remember the tears when the acquisition was announced in the fall of 1994.  Mainframe programmers were not affected because legacy applications were not combined (they would be replicated to a mid-tier and GUI).  But data centers were merged and operators were let go in the early summer of 1995. 

Sometimes in the work world, serendipity really works. 

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