Be careful what you wish for: The dream job that wasn't

A tech pro pins his hopes to a new position with a great boss at a great company. What could go wrong?

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Sweet news turns sour

That is, until Friday evening, when the executive search firm I was working with called me at home and told me I wouldn't be going forward with the interview. What happened, I asked. They couldn't say, except that the CIO was no longer with the company and his separation agreement precluded him from talking to me. What?!

I was beyond stunned -- in fact, I was devastated. I was ready to leave the life of a constantly traveling consultant to become the VP of app development in a company where systems were the key business strategy, as well as move from a cold climate to a warmer one. It all disappeared in an instant, and it wasn't because of anything I did or didn't do.

As I licked my wounds and continued to look for another job, I followed news about the company that I had so badly wanted to be a part of. As I watched, I was able to piece together what happened.

From disappointment to relief

Evidently, when the exec returned from vacation he had a showdown with the CEO. The CEO lost the battle and, as a result, had to fire the CIO who had interviewed me. Some months later, the CEO was unseated by this exec, who then became the CEO. He scrapped the whole systems strategy and hired a renowned systems integrator to put in a widely revered software package. That's when the real fun started.

It turns out that the packaged software could only handle 10,000 line items per day versus the hundreds of thousands of line items per day required. Change management was poor, and upset at the threat of losing their jobs to automation, warehouse workers damaged inventory and didn't fill orders. According to reports, inventory amounting to tens of millions of dollars was lost at one warehouse. Workers at several other warehouses walked out at once to protest the automated system.

The business was put in serious jeopardy as orders couldn't be shipped and customers took their business elsewhere. The new CEO was asked to resign. The company, before the implementation, was doing billions in business, but was ultimately forced into Chapter 7 liquidation.

If the interviewing process had progressed faster by even a week, I could have been on board when the turmoil began. Who knows how I would have fared? As the saying goes, everything happens for a reason.

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This story, "Be careful what you wish for: The dream job that wasn't," was originally published at Read more crazy-but-true stories in the anonymous Off the Record blog at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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