They laid me off back in February, but I'd been part of the first few at the London office, and I still look back on those early days, when we were building what we hoped would be a consulting organisation out of a single rented room. And for a while it was. Rule Zero applied - never hire assholes - and we built a team of really smart people, all working in cross-disciplinary teams. It was stimulating, and we did some really excellent work. I know I'd never have come up with the work I did on service platforms for 3G operators without the people I was working with out in Lisbon...
We had nearly 200 people in London within a year, some of the biggest names around as clients, and had delivered good solid work, something we hoped we could build on... I'd worked in Hong Kong, in Canada, in France and Portugal.
2000 was a good year. 2001 was a terrible year, as we watched everything we had built being taken apart. I spent frustrating months trying to sell business, only to be pipped at the post every time. We briefly moved into the offices we'd been building out, only to merge with another company and move into their offices. And all the while we were bleeding people, some of the best people I've ever worked with.
My turn came in February, but I still felt some connection for the company that had eaten two years of my life. We worked hard, we played hard, and above all we had fun. And I've made friends and contacts that will last a lifetime.
But it's the end of an era. And I'll raise a glass to that old St James' Place crowd.