Saturday, May 08, 2004

Always run a background check

At that time, all I knew about Jeremy Tick was that he'd "gone" to a prep school near Boston, then to Skidmore College, had worked for John Hancock right after that, and that he had done work for Dean & Deluca and a model agency called R&L Models in New York. I can't remember if he told me he was laid off or he had quit, but just before coming down to New York in November 2001, I was aware he was working as a waiter up-state at a diner, and he had told me that he was offered a job as a booker with some agency in Chicago, I forget which one, but was supposedly unable to go because of 911. In retrospect, I highly suspect this was all an elaborate lie, shamefully using one of the darkest days in U.S. history as an excuse for his joblessness -- I realize this sounds darkly suspicious, but if you know Jeremy Tick, I doubt you wouldn't have a similar sentiment.

Nevertheless, at the time, it all sounded reasonable enough -- I'd graduated from a prep school in Westchester County, and had gone to (i.e., graduated from) Tufts University, and began my career at IBM/Lotus Development Corporation, then onto several IT/Business consulting with media companies like the Discovery Channel, (blah blah blah...just look at my resume for more in-depth description), etc., so, naturally, I thought I was in the presence simply of a younger colleague.

20/20 hindsight as they say [Lesson Number 2: ALWAYS run a background check on someone whom you'll be working with, no matter how smooth the person is -- the smoother the person, the more I would encourage a background check, also checking personal and professional references], but that's the general backdrop for the events in December. Given (what I thought was) his education and his work experience at John Hancock, I gave a lot more weight than I should have on what he claimed about how much we would be making by the end of 2002. So, the temporary arrangement to let him stay in my apartment was agreed upon, and we had decided to go forward with the agency, renaming it to FUEL new york, thanks to Shawna McBean and Mia Eaton's suggestion.

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