Former AOL ad boss Greg Coleman has a story in the Huffington Post — where he works now, as President and chief revenue officer — about what it was like to be fired from AOL only 10 weeks after starting.
It’s about how Greg spent the summer soul searching, bike riding, and watching movies at his beach house on Long Island.
It’s called “Sharpening the Saw,” after a chapter in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People about how it’s important to take time off.
In early February of 2009, I was recruited to run a very large division for AOL. My tenure only lasted 10 weeks. The CEO who had hired me was fired five weeks after I started, and the new boss wanted to bring in his own team. I had a significant contract that AOL fully agreed to honour, and I was out the door and, for the first time in 30 years, without a job. Many executives will tell the story of “loss of identity” when a job is lost, and in my case, I was put in the position of having to throttle down my life after ramping up for 10 weeks in my new role. I was immediately thrust into “the twilight zone.”
When I was let go, it was late April. Many of my friends who were trying to cheer me up reminded me that I had the whole spring and summer ahead of me. I was fortunate in that I did not have to worry about getting a new job immediately. I had real free time for the first time in my life.
As nice as all of that sounded, I still felt that I needed to tell everyone that I wasn’t a loser and that “every new manager needs to bring in their own team” and blah, blah, blah. It had not hit me then that I was just given a gift of a lifetime. But I would soon find out that I did get very lucky indeed.