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I remember my first “real day” on the job of my first WFH position. I had just taken a consulting position for a hot pre-IPO software company and I really felt like I had taken my career up a notch. My pay was up 75% over my previous job and everyone I knew that worked for this company was poised and scary smart. As a result, I felt immense pressure for my first days and weeks to be performed at my best.
It was primarily a travel job – I worked from home and flew to customer sites on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, my very first customer visit in the new position didn’t transpire as I would have liked.
I traveled on Sunday night for a Monday early start. It was probably a large insurance company having issues with their software implementation and I was to parachute in and save the day. Those were some of my favorite engagements: the customer could be losing millions of dollars a day with a non-performing system and you had hours to turn around major improvements. I was always rather good at it.
My flight in was uneventful and I made it to the hotel without issue and proceeded to find a restaurant to grab some dinner. I located a major-chain Italian restaurant (small town options were limited) and ordered the seafood pasta dish. Dinner went fine and I went home to bed early so that I could be on top of my game for my first-ever customer.
I began throwing up around 3:00 AM and continued to do so for about 4 hours. I cursed the chain restaurant all night and vowed never to return to any of their locations as long as I lived (10 years later, I haven’t returned).
Nonetheless, I cleaned myself up and left sleep-deprived and dehydrated for the customer site with my suit and tie properly applied. I remember that the day went remarkably normal and nothing really came of my weakened state and I completed the engagement successfully.
It was just one of those times in life where you wonder to yourself if someone is pulling the strings, controlling your fate and trying to mess with you. I have this image of me as a marionette with an ethereal figure above me directing me to eat bad seafood and laughing an evil laugh: “Ha, ha, ha, let’s see how he handles this curve ball”. What are the odds that the only time I get food poisoning is the night before one of the most important professional days of my career at the time?