Your former boss asks you to come back to work. Is this akin to your ex-boyfriend asking you to give the relationship another shot? You know, the one that didn’t work out, hence the “ex.”
This morning I got a call from my former CEO, asking me if I’d be interested in working at my old company again. A million things were running through my mind, such as: If you let me go then, why do you want me now?
First of all, he had recently taken over before deciding to fold all of the magazines, except one, which I was not the editor-in-chief of, so I only worked for him about three months. He barely even knows me or anything about my work and everything I’ve done for the women’s mag group.
All of the big business guys that took over could only be in the office here and there to chat big business stuff—in between talks of skiing in the Alps, of course. They were always running away, always too busy, always on their cell phones. I was busy too, yet on site all of the time actually making the product, but I guess since they didn’t ask, I didn’t tell.
The best was the ad guy the new suits hired. He must’ve had a small one or something; all he could talk about was this or that sale he did. (Actually, all of these men just liked to talk about themselves and how great they were.) Ad Guy didn’t need to sell himself to me when we were first being introduced. Talk is cheap; I judge on performance. His credibility or his abilities had nothing to do with me; I wasn’t the one buying, nor did I hire him.
Even better was hearing Ad Guy talk on the phone to his contacts trying to sell ads for my magazines, all the while degrading and insulting our readership. That is such great salesmanship! Needless to say, he did not sell one ad. Oh well.
So the main new CEO, the one who called me, I think he made an appearance in the office two days a week, and since there were much bigger financial issues at hand for the big guys, there was absolutely no time to learn about the industry (none of them had any experience with magazine publishing), or to ask those who truly knew what they were doing on creative to give their input when it came to big business. No; these big shots knew it all. So much so that they were confident they could sell the media side in 60 days to avoid bankruptcy. It has been 90. They haven’t sold, stopped printing all but one magazine, and laid off all but the two people needed to get that magazine out.
You didn’t seem to need me then, but you need me now? And more importantly, I couldn’t trust you then, so why should I trust you now? I’m sorry that you’ve only learned how truly invaluable I am now, but that relationship is over.
I’m two months out and what is the worth of going back? I’ve always known my value; I’m sorry you didn’t recognize it sooner and jumped the gun with folding all of the magazines and laying me off—but not my problem now. Yours. I’m sorry you made a mistake. I make none of those before I put something to print. That’s why I am an editor. I will not help you edit your mistakes.
I am a liberated woman. You may not know that—that I don’t need you, that I am even more terrific than before, but that is exactly why you want me back. Just like an ex-boyfriend who can’t take seeing your newly single fabulous self and tries to undo the mistake he made. It’s a little too late. Been there, done that. Not going back.
And so to all ex-boyfriends who’ve tried to get back together, or even ex-lovers—and now, ex-CEOs: If we didn’t work out then, why in the world would we ever work out now? Please stop calling.