The recession has taught me many valuable lessons, and last week reminded me of one that matters most:

Appreciate what you have.

Because you never know when it’s all going to change.

I rarely talk about my professional life on this blog, but I have been running a small marketing business since 2000. During this dot com bust, I left my position as VP of Marketing to move onto entreprenuerial life. Since that time, I haven’t looked back, despite bumps in the road.

For the last six months, I have enjoyed a consulting engagement with the Palm division of HP in Sunnyvale, California. Even though I’d recently received a year-long contract extension, all was null and void after the company’s big news last week. HP announced they were discontinuing operations of all webOS products. Said another way – bye bye Palm division. Contractors like myself, of course, are among the first to go.

After purchasing Palm last year for $1.2 billion, the new CEO has decided to pursue an alternative strategic direction. And though I do appreciate HP’s focus and comittment to shareholders, it feels so wrong to throw in the towel on a division so soon after an acquisition. With its PC division on the chopping block as well, the company risks losing a consumer brand that has been successfully built for over forty years.

What’s more important, in my eyes, is the impact the decision will have on people’s lives. In my almost twelve years of consulting, there have been few people I have enjoyed working with more. This carrier marketing team was a close-knit group and a well-oiled machine, and it saddens me that they will no longer be a ‘family.’ Not to mention the other 2,000 people that work in the division.

I really appreciated the six month engagement with Palm and am truly sad I will no longer be working with this team. Sure, I’ll miss the income and the work, but mostly I will miss the people.

After two years of economic ups and downs, most of which were in the downward direction for me, I was truly grateful for the experience I had with this group. I’m sad that it’s over, but appreciative that it ever happened in the first place.

I wish the best to all the talented and kind people I met along the way.

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