I wanted to visit Alice last week, because she is on her own with Keila on vacation. She has an intern which is a help but with a start-up you need all hands on deck. He’s a good kid. His family is from Thailand. He is a really hard worker, and Alice is very happy with his performance.
She texts me to see when I’m going to arrive. I’m running a little late, but tell her I’m on my way. She seems like there is some urgency that I get there. I’m thinking she’s swamped and really needs my help. I have some time so I hurry up and get over there. I text her when I reach her building on Broad Street. I get into the elevator and go to her floor. I see her intern and he lets me into their workspace. I walk down the hallway to their little glass office. I open the door and go inside. It’s a tight space. There are a couple of desks and chairs and some other work related things around the room. I even see that the Siamese fighting fish that they named after me is swimming in his bowl. There is a cardboard box on the floor in front of me. But I don’t see Alice. The intern said she was back here.
Suddenly, the box on the floor bursts open and out jumps Alice! She scared the crap out of me. She shot video of the whole thing while it happened. You know, when you go to visit the CEO of an IT recruiting company you never expect them to jump out of a box. Alice is tickled to death as I begin to feel my heart returning to normal. She shows me the video that she shot before I arrived with her in the box, and then the one of me being terrified by this little Jill-In-A-Box!
She tells me she loves pulling pranks on people. How have I not known this in the last four years of knowing her?
We have a laugh and then she walks me downstairs to get a bagel. When we come back up to the kitchen she begins to explain to me the stress she’s been under. It’s been this way for a while now, but with the pressure from the investors it’s become worse. They have been making some placements, and they are paid handsomely on them, but it’s not enough. They have to pull in a lot of revenue by the end of the year. If they don’t, they could be in some serious trouble. I know Alice will dig in with everything she has to be successful, because she’s driven.
But she is concerned with Keila. I told Alice that she shouldn’t hire Keila but she did. Keila met her current boyfriend through their company. He was a client. Alice’s number one rule was not to date the clients. Keila lives with him now and they are in love, so with both incomes, things are easier for Keila financially. He’s a pretty successful IT guy so I think she’s getting pretty comfortable with the lifestyle.
Keila is being paid a great salary. Too good. She even gets paid bonus when she fills a position. I don’t think it’s out of the company’s coffers either. I believe Alice is paying her out of her own savings account.
Keila has asked for a raise and an equity share in the company. If you’re not at goal at year-end, you don’t get a raise! Let alone even ask for one! And equity? What? Take a cut in salary and maybe Alice will think about it.
Keila asked if she could take a vacation. Alice said no because they had about five weeks to raise a ton of revenue by year-end. Keila just went and booked it anyway. She told her a week or a so before. Who does that?
I think Keila has gotten comfortable with her new life with her boyfriend who she says could be the one. I think she has lost her edge. If the investors pull the funding for this start-up, they’ll both be looking for jobs in 2017.
I adore Alice and I know she will be successful. But maybe some changes need to be made and some conversations need to happen, before they lose all of the great things they’ve worked so hard to build.
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