Smart Lemming Diary: From Laid-Off Worker to Vice President


Being fired in a nice way

“There are no accidents. Everything happens for a reason.” This is my mantra. It had served me well over the past 25 years, especially on April 22, 2005, when I was officially voted off the island. Eliminated from the race.

Due to corporate restructuring, I found out my position as a product manager was being eliminated. After months of feeling out of sync, I knew I was no longer a fit in my product manager job. I was forcing square pegs into round holes, as I gravitated to strategy projects, pitching ideas that only reinforced that I had other interests.

Better career opportunity

While painful, being let go was the best thing that happened to me; it forced me onto a new path, opening up opportunities that I could never have imagined. I became an entrepreneur. I also fulfilled my long-time career goal of becoming a vice president for a healthcare technology company.

Parallel career as an entrepreneur

My lay off coincided with a need for me to become an entrepreneur with my partner, who had been so successful in launching a network of five websites that I had to form a LLC to represent the emerging business. We eventually sold six web properties to MTV Networks in May 2006.

Immediately after being let go, I started development the sixth website for our LLC. By early June 2005, one of my former colleagues contacted me about a marketing position that would allow me finally reach my potential of becoming a VP.

The Smart Lemming Diary

From June 2005 until November 2006, I kept a diary for posterity, documenting my journey from the initial job lead to my final exit from my dream job. I’m sharing my Smart Lemming Diary, so others can learn from my experiences in moving up the ladder from laid off worker, to Director of Marketing, to VP of Marketing, and eventually to VP of Sales Operations and Marketing.

I’ll post my diary entries daily, as I chronicle how I was able to go from laid-off worker to Vice President. I’ll share how I created my department and department functions, navigated meetings, worked with my executive peers, and managed my direct reports.

Happiness at work

Besides being acquired by MTV Networks, my job as a VP of Sales Operations and Marketing remains one of the happiest and best experiences of my career. I hope you’ll find the Smart Lemming Diary helpful as you manage your career.


  1. I wondered how people ascended to the VP level. I’m sure each VP’s path is different.

    I’m also curious what happens behind the curtain in exec meetings. Looking forward to your Smart Lemming Diary posts.

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