Maybe I Am the Tiki

For me, the most memorable episodes of The Brady Bunch were the ones in which they took a family vacation to Hawaii. And the most memorable part of those episodes was the tiki necklace that got passed around.

Bobby first found the tiki necklace and shows it to his brothers. They are told that according to an ancient Hawaiian legend, whoever touches the necklace will experience bad luck. They laugh it off and wear the necklace anyway.  

tikiGreg, while wearing the necklace, is nearly killed in a surfing accident.

Bobby, while wearing the necklace, is nearly killed by a falling wall hanging.

Peter, while wearing the necklace, is nearly killed by a tarantula.

At their own peril but for their own safety, they return the tiki to an ancient burial grounds, just in time to enjoy a Hawaiian party with the rest of the family.


I think I may be the tiki.

For the third time in past several years, and for the second time in two years, the business that I am working for is being shut down.

Several years ago, I was hired by a textbook wholesaling company to work in their book club division. Honestly, it was a mess when I got there, and we worked hard to turn things around. Looking back, I can’t believe the progress we made. But it was too little, too late. After only six months in that division, it was shut down. Thankfully, the company wanted to keep me, and I was able to do other work there.

Eventually, I was put in charge of the textbook wholesale company’s primary ecommerce division. It was work I really enjoyed, and we were growing well. One executive leader in the company was fond of saying that our division was the future of the company. But, as it turned out, it wasn’t. Near the end of 2011, the company announced that they would be closing, effectively ending all of the good work we had done.

imagesThree weeks later, I started with a competitor, another textbook fulfillment company with a significant ecommerce division. It was a fantastic scenario. I worked from home, oversaw some great teams, and was really enjoying the ebook work I had been doing for the past nine months.

And then, late last week, I got word that my company will be closing.

Three for three.

Maybe I am the tiki.


Honestly, it would be easy to blame a very volatile book market, dramatic changes in the way students are educated in the classroom, and an uncertain future for this string of closings. It would also not be unreasonable to credit the business models and overall structure of these particular companies with what has transpired.

But all of my friends are thinking it. I might as well say it.

Maybe I am to blame.

Maybe I am the tiki.


By the way, do you know of anyone who is hiring? Let’s face it, I could really use a job. I promise not to kill your company … maybe.


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