Not Bill Gates


I…am NOT Bill Gates.

billgatesWestern Governors’ University had their semi-annual graduation ceremony today. Ethel, who is the #3 employee there (although numbers 1 and 2 left and came back, so she is actually the longest-term employee) mentioned that they got another endowment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

She remembers when the university was new, before they had a faculty or any students (the first Christmas party was at #2’s house, at his kitchen table – 1998) and they were very strapped financially. They got a letter in the mail, with a check from the (brand new) Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation.

The check was hand-written, signed by Melinda, and the envelope was covered in 1 and 2 cent stamps, as though she didn’t have any full-postage stamps, but she had been carrying these around in her purse for a while…

B&M are still supporting WGU – they sent another endowment recently. Kim said they “they must really like us”. So I did the math.

Let’s assume that the recent check was five million. That’s a reasonable number – now that WGU has about 50,000 students, those are the sort of endowments they get these days. I did the math.

Based on Bill’s current net worth, and a 6% return on those investments, it takes Bill almost ten hours to get five million in income.

That means that, if he does some nighttime reading and then gets a good night’s sleep, Bill earns enough to make such an endowment while he is in bed.

Well, when we take a look at how affordable personal computing has changed the world, I reckon that nobody can say that he didn’t earn it. The world is a WHOLE lot more than 5 mil/night better off because of what he did. (And I’m not a MicroSoft fan)

(If you are younger than I am, then you may have no idea whatsoever what the word “computer” used to mean. In the old days (and even in the old science fiction stories) a “better computer” meant one that took up more rooms in the university).

Go Daddy has done an awful lot to change the world, as well. Because of their products, GD has made it easy and cheap for anybody to have their own website, much as BG’s work made it easy and cheap for anybody to have a computer.

But now they are doing that work without me.

As of yesterday, I am no longer employed at Go Daddy.

There’s no reason to speculate as to why. All parties don’t get to share this forum for debate, so it wouldn’t be right for me to crank up such a discussion. And I am not the first Go Daddy Granddaddy to leave, for whatever reason, since Bob sold the place a year and a half ago.

Let’s just say that, for the last twenty-one months, I’ve been in a job in which I did not fit, and in which I was not very productive, and thus was not very happy.

So I shouldn’t be there any longer. Mayhap the Big Boss (and I mean to use capital letters to indicate the divine rather than the corporate) was aware that, as long as I was getting the renumeration that I was getting at GD, and had the potential “someday” payoff that I had, that I was not going to leave easily to make much less money elsewhere, even though I had started looking.

(I was overpaid where I was, because my salary kept increasing when I was a load tester, and when I went back into development, they had to restructure the budget to accommodate me.)

So, when I went to bed last night, unlike Bill,  I didn’t earn any money at all. The stock market actually went down yesterday, and my salary had stopped, so at that point, I started eating into my capital : )

Of course, there is plenty of capital there (see above re: overpaid) for me to draw on. There’s no crisis as of yet. I have a reasonably large final check coming (a LOT of back vacation in that puppy) and currently we have two out of three homes for sale (at prices that our realtors assure us are saleable) and, if everything else falls through and I’m left with nothing, I still have a paid-for condo two miles from the ski hill.

There are worse endgames than “unemployed, with a savings account,  living at the ski hill” : )

The immediate consequence is that last week, I could tell prospective employers that I was a long-term employee at a famous fast-growing company who was making salary $X. Now I’m a bum who’s been shown the door and I have my hat in my hand.

But it’s gonna be all right. In fact, it’s all right now.

And last night, although I did NOT make five million while I slept – I could have. Because last night was the longest night’s sleep that I believe that I’ve had in months.


  1. chris said:

    a good night’s sleep is worth a lot!

  2. Donna M Rode said:

    I always remind myself of the “when one door closes, a window opens somewhere” homily(?) when I’ve been in-between jobs. But if you are already getting a good night’s sleep, then it sure sounds like the right thing is happening. Hugs!

    • It surprised me; I told Ethel that I didn’t want to go to bed, because when I closed my eyes, all of my personal demons would be waiting to whisper helpful comments in my ears.

      Strangely, they had nothing to say : )

  3. Kevin said:

    I don’t get it; What’s the connection between Bill Gates and Cap’n Crunch?

  4. Nangel said:

    Things always happen for a reason. That’s what my grandfather always said. Hugs, Santi

    • Tu abuelo tuvo razon.

      Completamente creo que todos será bien, o mejor que bien. El Señor tiene mi vida en su manos, y sabe mejor que me para mi.

      Hablarémos más más tarde.

      Abrazos a inifinite,
      santi p.

  5. Peg said:

    When we were skiing, my Dad would say, “If you never fall down, you aren’t trying hard enough”. I think work’s that way too.
    You have not sounded happy about the work part of your life for a while. Good luck in your search – I’m confident that you will find something better for you than where you were.

    • Warren Miller says that if you aren’t falling, you aren’t getting better.

      I sorta thought of this last twenty months more along the lines of “if you don’t fail a few times, you aren’t trying enough new things”. I think it means the same thing, though ; 0

  6. Paul Aucoin said:

    Jim, I remember thou from when we both qualified for Boston with similar times. You are already better for what has transpired recently. You will soon be downhilling the slopes of life again soon.

    – Paul

  7. I hate job hunting, so I sympathize with that part.
    I guess your job now is to find a job.
    Which involves marketing and sales of you as a product.

    Try not to be too modest. Lying is bad either way, either too big or too small.
    Don’t have to tell you that, you’re probably the most self-examined person I know.

    I’m thinking I’d like to do something else, but my wife says keep plugging along
    while they pay me. As I slowly get older and dumber. Maybe truck driving.

    If I had any money I would hire you. No I wouldn’t, I would spend the money
    in wanton pleasure and riotous living. That’s why I don’t have any money.
    (My wanton pleasures are pretty small, but big enough. It’s the thought
    that counts.)

    I think you would make a good Googler.

    • Chris –

      That comment about being self-examined is very interesting.

      I am self-examined enough to say that, while that’s a nice thing to say about ME, it actually says much more about YOU that you would be aware enough to say such a thing : )

      And it is much appreciated…..

    • : )

      I have a new attitude re: Bob Marley after watching Will Smith’s “Legend”. And this song I have been singing recently – sometimes as a whistling-in-the-dark affirmation, and sometimes of a celebration of a certainty .

      Tonight, I’m afraid that it’s more of the former : )

      thanks for the note,
      jim p.

  8. MarkO said:

    I’ll be losing my job of 25+ years end of the year. Hope to be able to find another while I’m a long time employee of a great company as opposed to an out of work person whose been shown the door. Good luck.

    • Mark –
      It’s the end of the year. So, what’s up with the job situation?

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