DJ1.0 is a contributing editor of TechDarkSide.com. We don’t know much about DJ1.0, since he participates in the dark side anonymously. We suspect DJ1.0 is a “he” since he refers to a wife in an early post, but then again, maybe they’re from Massachusetts… Either way, you can reach DJ1.0 at email@example.com.
You see in a former life, I was a technologist at a big five management consulting firm. This was back when there still was a big five, during the hustle and bustle of the dot com boom. Even though I was new to consulting, I knew enough to watch my step. It was a high pay, high pressure, cutthroat, up or out kind of place. I was very successful before this so it seemed like just another mountain for me to conquer. I was positive making partner was just around the corner.
One day, my partner (as in my boss – not life mate) told me to get on the phone to New York and get some information from a partner there. No problem. What a sign of trust! They can put me in front of high powered partners with complete confidence – I am so smooth!
I put on my best show. “So after you leverage the best practices and generate synergy we can expect bandwidth on core competencies….blah blah blah” I don’t really remember that part. After 20 minutes of spectacular consultant speak, I end with a flourish – which I still remember – word for word – to this day…
My end of the conversation sounded like this: “Great. That gives us the runway we need. I’ll call you on Tuesday if anything changes. Ok. That sounds great. I love you.”
Now I don’t remember falling in love during this conversation. I’m pretty sure I just made a huge mistake. You see I had just spoken to my wife before this call. Out of habit, reflex, or turrets syndrome – I just declared my love accidentally to him – instead of my wife (who, unfortunately for me, was not on the call). I quickly had to clear this up…
“No. No wait, I don’t love you…”
This is going well. I thought I was supposed to be a little smoother. Instead I was desperately shouting into the phone that, despite what I had just said, I do not love him. I’m sure it sounded like I was arguing with myself over the phone about rather or not I really loved him. If I was actually in love, HR is going to walk me out the door. If I wasn’t, I was just a lunatic and HR is going to walk me out the door. Either way, I’m going to need those two-for-one coupons for a while.
So at this point, both shoes had poo poo on them and I was still walking. My heart was racing and I was breathing very heavy – literally. I was breathing into the phone. Great, not only do I love him, this is turning into some late night 900 phone call. I hope my wife didn’t buy that new car yet. I finally got control of my breathing and I calmed down enough to say “There’s been a misunderstanding. You have to let me explain.”
There was a long pause of silence. A silence long enough where you start to play out scenarios in your head. Perhaps, he would say “I love you too” – which comes with its own set of problems. Perhaps HR would storm into my office with what I assume would be a very small severance package. Perhaps, most likely, he would simply hang up. It felt like the pause lasted longer than the job I was about to lose.
All he said in response was “Oooooookkkkkk.” He said it just like that, real nervous and drawn out. He certainly did not want to say too much. Wonder why?
I explained that I had just spoken to my wife and I always say, “I love you” at the end. It was simple reflex and does not reflect my feelings for him. I’m sure someone loves you, just not me. (When in hole – quit digging) It went on like this for a few minutes. I’m sure it felt longer to him.
In the end, I escaped with only minor humiliation and bruising. My friends and coworkers were supportive. And by supportive I mean mercilessly cruel without end. That night, when I told my wife the story – she didn’t laugh. “So when you say you love me – its only reflex.”