A year in the life of a dot-com employee

And that was it. For weeks—even though I hoped the company might pull out of its nosedive—I had been taking my personal belongings home. It took just 10 minutes to collect the last of my crap, but it seemed longer, more confused—like I'd just been sucker punched at a bar and was trying to regain my bearings. I still couldn't get over the fact that I had just been fired on my one-year anniversary. I drank six apple martinis at Habana that afternoon, fully aware of the irony.

Days after that e-mail, the rumors started up again. There was still a strong bond among ex-employees; trauma will do that. My favorite rumor was that the final firings were a savvy move by management to clean house and start with a new, untainted staff. I believed it, especially because the CEO and Spicy went to see an investor in San Francisco the day after that final e-mail. The fact that the site was still functioning with a "Looking for Freelance Writers" posting added fuel to the rumors.

But they were just that: rumors. A month later, the company's URL no longer brought up Synge's Java-heavy homepage. Dialing the office phone number resulted in a recording of that familiar canned operator's voice saying the number has been disconnected. Those final checks we were promised never came, and they most likely never will. In a recent e-mail, our former CEO said he was liquidating the remains of Synge's offices—any money left over after he paid off the creditors would be used for our final checks.

With everything that happened in those 365 days, that last e-mail still makes me laugh hardest during the ex-Synge employee reunions at Habana. That and the fact that for a moment, I believed it.

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