R. T. Rybak

Mayor of Minneapolis
R. T. Rybak

In 1998, I was vice president of Internet Broadcasting Systems. Like most Internet start-ups, one day we were set to get a huge amount of funding and the next day we weren’t sure where the money was going to come from. At one particular low point, they had to axe somebody in a management position. And that was me.

The moment I was told that I’d lost my job and was unemployed, I was really crushed. But I was scared enough that I took every bit of energy, every bit of anxiety I had, and focused it on getting work. The next morning, I sat down at the dining room table, made a list of everybody I knew, and began to map out who I should start calling.

Over the next few weeks, I realized that my hands-on experience in the emerging field of the Internet would allow me to build a really good consulting business. Before long, with clients like Minnesota Public Radio, Target, and Edina Realty, I had built a practice that was more lucrative and more interesting than anything I’d ever done.

Had I not lost my job at that Internet start-up, I might still be working there today, because I never could have run for mayor having a full-time job. Having a consulting business allowed me to take on a lot of work to stockpile some money, which allowed me to spend more time campaigning over the year I ran.

So ultimately, losing my job was one of the best things that ever happened to me. And it’s why I’ve got the job I have now.