Friday, December 2, 2011

PIPE LINE

A pipeline is a transportive four letter word.

Ten years ago today, a huge company that was almost unknown by most Americans just a few months before filed for bankruptcy.  At the time, it was the biggest corporate filing in US history, taking down a company that was one of the top 10 businesses as ranked by Fortune magazine, laying off thousands of employees, and gutting their retirement savings.

I worked for Enron.  I had quit just a couple of years earlier for family reasons, but I moved to Houston in 1996 to be with my fiancĂ© and to work with a group of friends bringing some cool technology to their trading floor.  By the time I left, I had been involved in a number of exciting projects and learned a lot more about the financial industry than I really wanted to.  In a way, I was fortunate.  My retirement funds had to be moved out of Enron's stock when I left, so I wasn't in as bad a situation as many of my former coworkers.  I left with a chunk of new skills which would help me in the future.  I got out of Houston before everything collapsed.  And I had met some of the most brilliant people it would ever be my pleasure to meet - hopefully I learned at least a little from them.  But the collapse still affected me and my family, even thousands of miles away from the center of the storm.

There is no doubt that those few years in Houston changed my life.  For the better in some ways, for the worse in others.  I sometimes reflect on those days and wonder if I would have done things differently.  If I should have done things differently.

Perhaps.

But then I wouldn't be who I am now.
I'm not sure if thats good or bad.