I was asked to resign...so I did.

Anyone looking for a jack-of-all-business duties with 7 years of finance and hedge fund experience? Anyone? Anyone?

I have been working in the same office now for 6 years, all of it with the same guy as my boss-then-partner. Being that we are ex-pats our lives also got interwined a bit, moreso than the typical work relationship (I was leaned on to help with his family life, pay his bills and take care of problems because he doesn’t speak Czech worth shit). Truthfully, things haven’t been going well between the two of us for the last few years. It’s almost been like a marriage that you couldn’t get a divorce from…Constant fights and arguments over silly stuff that should never have happened in the first place.

The problems I have had with him are many and detailed. Without boring you overmuch, he is a brilliant man at the forefront of his field who is incapable of managing his life, let alone an office. His ego controlled most everything he did, which had the lovely side-effect of his being able to rationalize everything in his favor. In six years of working with him I heard him say the word ‘sorry’ once. Even when it was 100% clear that he made a mistake, however trivial, he wouldn’t acknowledge it, he would simply leave the room in a huff or go quiet and ignore you. Can we say passive-aggressive blamestorming coward?

If I had had an easy opportunity to leave, I would have done so years ago. However the US economy started its downward spiral, so we couldn’t move back. And then Wifecat got preggers right around the time the idea was floated to start a hedge fund…so I stayed. Possibly not the best decision I have ever made.

The past two-years I have dodged so many bullets it’s amazing. We had one partner get sick of this guy’s shit and leave almost exactly a year ago, we’ve had money promised and then pulled, we’ve limped through horrible markets with our testing funds, dealt with lies, deceit, fraud and a whole slew of other problems associated with start-up businesses. I have worked almost every weekend for the past 3 years and haven’t had a vacation since, well, exactly 2 years ago. Life has sucked and I didn’t know how to change it. Luckily it has changed for me, eh?

We found an investor for the business back in June; it took us 3 months to work things out, but finally we received the first tranche of investment money a few weeks ago, so things got speeded up and I’ve gone on a systems-spending-spree. New computers, new services, etc. Plus we paid for the registration of offshore companies and bank accounts, etc. Basically we’ve spent around $100,000 in the last few weeks and the investor pretty much owns our balls. Then things started to go bad last week and on top of it all I made a trading mistake while covering for the main trader who was in London meeting with the investor (great timing, I know). Let me make this clear: I am NOT a trader, I just did what the computer told me to do, but there were some filters that should have been applied that didn’t get applied. My fault in one sense, but having a system where one can make faults like that in my book screams for correction, y’know? But, damage was done and the investor wanted blood.

This whole past weekend Wifecat and I were talking about our options and what could be done. I thought about resigning because of the BS, but we decided against it. Our plan was that I would start an MBA program here in Prague part-time in January and see how the fund was doing next summer. If things had worked out, fine, find someone to buy me out, if not, well…leave anyways. So when I walked into the office yesterday and was asked to resign, I almost said “Really? Promise? I can go?”

So I’m gone. The problems are still there, but now the investor wants to “Re-do” a bunch of things, so the people remaining will have time to fix all of the problems I’ve been screaming about. Well, they think they will…I’m not so sure. I have been working fairly consistent 60+ hour weeks for a long time. So they need to replace me and THEN work on the problems. Not an easy task to find someone who will fill my shoes plus speak English fluently. I’m not saying that they’ll fail, I’m just saying that it is going to take them a while.

Funny thing happened today as well: not more than 22 hours after I left I got a phone call asking for help. Seems that one of the things that they were questioning my decision on last week (installing better electrical systems because we have so many computers) bit them on the ass as all of the circuit breakers went and fried a cordless phone and screwed up the phone line…I had to walk them through a systems check and tell them to get someone who speaks Czech to phone the telephone company to get it fixed…

To add to the whole mix I happen to own 50% of the Czech company, 15% of the offshore one and I need to be bought out. They think they can just switch the nameplates on the front door, but I was just told by my accountant/lawyer that I have every legal right to walk into the company and padlock the doors. Which I might do, even if it means going to war with an investor who is rich and powerful. He’d have to fight me here, which wouldn’t be easy. So I’m going to play nice, but drop hints about how not nice I could be playing. I want my MBA paid for and some living expenses, let’s hope for the best.

Anywho…send some positive vibes my way. We could use them. The current plan is for me to go get my MBA starting in January (I gotta study for my GMAT! Ugh!). I will go to Colorado Springs in a few weeks (SpringsDope anyone?) to help my friend out at his costume shop Zeezo’s for Halloween (he does 90% of his yearly business in October) and then ??? I will also try to reverse the damage done to my family by my stress and absence in the past few years. I hope I succeed.

Well…I guess that’s my tale for now. Wish us luck.

-Tcat the unemployed

Wow, 'cat! I’m sorry to hear it. All the best of luck with your MBA and your future career. If nothing else, now you’ve got some more time with your family and loved ones, and that time will help you to figure out what your next moves should be.

Good luck to you and the rest of the Tomcat clan!

Good luck, Cat family! It’s an old cliche, I know, but maybe it will work out for the best–it did for my husband when he lost his job. He’s much, much happier at the new one!

Thanks. I know it will work out. I just am a little shocked by it all. It is mainly a personality problem that has gotten out of hand, so this has the added feelings of a bad inter-personal relationship gone horribly wronge.

Oh well.

I just hope that I cna bring everything to a conclusion quickly so I can get on with my life. Waiting for another discussion sucks.

-Tcat

Push for every damn dime you can get. Have no mercy. And do it fast. You own 50% of that firm NOW. If you let them start putting time and money in it after you’re gone your share will start dropping because of their ‘sweat equity’.

Business is for keeps. The rich guy will understand that. He’s not your enemy…he’s just someone you need to find a working arrangement with.

Right on with that advice Jonathan Chance.

Good luck to you, Tomat.

ugghhh, errr I meant Tomcat.

Sorry, it’s terrible to misspell someones name.

You might also want to discuss your prices for providing ad hoc services for when they call for help. I’d be open-ended about that, letting them know that you’re willing to “help out” as long as you are going to be getting paid for your share of the business, but that if you are going to have to be spending money on a lawyer to recover your investment, you’ll need to be compensated for the expenses.

What JC and tom said. Good luck with the life changes!

If you’ve resigned, don’t be a doormat that they can use whenever they want to. If my company asked me to resign, I would, but when they needed my help again, they’d get my contract rate of $130 per hour, four hours min. payable upfront. And the clock starts when I answer the phone, or get in my car. As for anything else you may need, keep a good record of everything that happens. And a MBA is a great idea.

It sounds to me like you are taking this like a real man, good for you! Rather than wallow in self pity (which is what I would do) you are taking this as an opportunity to improve your life, which it really can be. Good luck to you!

Looks like more time to hit the heavy bag, bro!

Stay strong.

And in all seriousness - EVERY SINGLE PERSON I know (who wasn’t a completely worthless shit at their job) who was downsized, laid off, etc., ended up in a far better situation.

You enjoyed the heck out of Cz. Now enjoy aiming towards the life you and your family want for the future.

(And ditto on the recommendations to get quality legal/financial advice/assistance on maximizing what you can get from your old company. And give them nothing free!)

How is the company organized, as a corporation? I.e. are you still a director and on the board? Also, putting aside the heat in the air right now, what’s your guess on the future viability and prospect of success of it?

As you’re a very large (perhaps majority) shareholder, you should really think about those and decide how to go forward and maximize your investment there. It sounds to me like you’re not really gone, but rather still very much a partner/owner/responsible manager there.

Something else to think about: if you’re not careful, the others could effectively make you not an owner, for example by quitting and starting another company, and moving customers, employees and assets to the new company at low costs.

So, if you think there’s a future in this business, you should really watch it, and insist to be privy to the innerworkings, at least on a quarterly basis. You may also want to talk to a lawyer to solidify your position and rights there, and to set up tangible ways you can still participate as an owner.

Best of luck in the future. Often (usually?) these sorts of transitions are very positive growing experiences.

Yes, absolutely. If I were asked to leave a job, and then they called me for help less than a day later, I would have said, “Shouldn’t have asked me to leave, should you?” and hung up on them. Then I would have regretted it, and thought about how much I could have charged. You have this opportunity.

Best of luck. Sounds like a bad situation, but not one where you are without a certain leverage.

Hello-

Thanks for the kind words. I already see this as an improvement, even if I get screwed financially…My whole life was changed for the worst because of this job. I haven’t any vacations or weekends with my family, I NEVER go out with friends, I just go to work and come home. I need this. I just hope to get some financial security out of it if possible.

I did talk to a lawyer today and at the very least the main investor will find it very hard to come after me for any of his investment. The contract we have is full of holes. But trying to convince him to give me more money is another question. The lawyer suggested playing it cool and explaining how much I’ve put into this company for the past few years. He is rich as hell and might recognize the effort I have put into it. Wish me luck.

Take care, and if you are ever in Prague…

-Tcat