Friday, May 9, 2014

Godfather Offers

Earlier this week, as I was preparing for a Corporate Finance final exam, I came across the term "Godfather Offer."  My eyes unglazed, I got ready to do some underlining, and I perked up to learn what this was all about.  (If you really want to know, they're takeover bids that are so good that management can't refuse...otherwise, shareholders might sue).

Anyway, the past few months have been a bit of a blur, to say the least.

Through a connection I made via my start-up (we do online identity/safety awareness...will say LOTS more, but just not right now...other than to say we're funded now and I'm about to become full-time employee #1), I got an unexpected and quite fortuitous teaching offer from BU around Christmastime.  Thinking the time horizon had to be the fall of 2014 at the earliest, my jaw nearly hit the floor when I saw the "Can you start in three weeks?" e-mail.
In my head, I quickly ran through the checklist of things on the plate at the time (finishing the MBA, running the business, tutoring side gig, Army Reserves...and of course family).  Then, I just reflexively blurted out, "Yes."  It was a Godfather Offer and I knew it -- the course material dovetails perfectly with my business, I love teaching, it's another income stream, and it may help open innumerable doors down the road.  The "Yes," I thought, gets my foot in the door, helps get me rolling, and positions me well for the real-world re-entry that would come in June.  A "No" moves my resume somewhere to the back of the stack.

Besides, it's not every day that someone who thinks an Infinite Loop describes traffic at the Bourne Rotary, and who thinks "Ruby on Rails" is an adult film starlet, gets to join the Computer Science faculty.  So "Yes" it was.  And 10 minutes ago, I just submitted final semester grades to the registrar...with three committed courses now lined up for future semesters.  Earlier this morning, I wrapped up a long-running tutoring gig (also the product of a Godfather Offer, and a Time Vampire of hard-to-even-describe proportions).  And on Thursday the 15th, when my pen drops back onto the desk after my "Taxes and Business Strategy" final, I can close the book on the uphill-both-ways-in-the-snow-with-no-shoes commuting-to-a-business-school-where-they-don't-believe-in-Mickey-Mouse-classes.  And goodbye case write-ups.  And Free Cash Flow to Equity valuations.  And having to care about the consequences of really weird stuff, like Compaq buying the shares of a Dutch company, just to resell those shares an hour later at a loss and lower its tax bill.

When I got back from Afghanistan in early 2012, I remember using the phrase "rejoining the world" to describe the feeling of plugging back into something from which I had completely dissociated for 12 months.
This recent process has really drained me at times, but -- at least I'd like to think -- the end of the rainbow and the pot of gold might not be so far off.

For sure, things could be far worse.

The peers of mine who are about to head into the hallowed halls of the McKinseys and the Bains and the Goldmans of the world are now commiserating with each other... "Bro, the party's over, man.  We've gotta go from all this hangin' out and drinking on Beacon Hill on Wednesdays to an endless string of 18-hour days."  Every time I hear that stuff, I'm reminded of how glad I am that I spurned that whole post-MBA path.

Of course I don't actually say it, but I think: "I'm ditching the 18-hour days, save for the occasional exceptions...and if my daughter wants to hang out at the waterfall by the Boott Mill and be simultaneously fascinated by it and terrified of its decibel output, then that's what I'm going to be doing...and what could be better, really?"  

The Gipper used to always say, "I like to throw my golf clubs in the direction I'm heading."  I didn't understand what he meant by that when I heard it as a kid -- and I'm still not 100% sure I get it now -- but if it was a reference to positioning, then I'm on on board all the way with that idea.

And hopefully, we can position ourselves together for a cup of coffee soon, whether it's at Wannalancit, or Brew'd, or Mill No. 5, or wherever.  I'll ask you what I missed, and then remember not to be surprised when you tell me, "Not much, really."  

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