His job lasted one day, and he made $700 grand. Also, 7 other things worth knowing today.
Today, I am going to examine a story you might have seen, about the experience of the new chief financial officer at Moderna during his first day on the job.
But first, a visit to my personal archives.
Some of you might know that I consider my 15 minutes of fame (so far; who knows what the future holds) to be the time that I revealed publicly that I had once quit a six-figure job after a single day.
I went a bit viral and wound up on national TV as a result. You can go back and check it all out of course, but the short of what happened was:
I was a lawyer who then became a journalist and an author and wrote a couple of books.
After the financial crisis of 2009, I was a bit less secure, so I started to think about leveraging the ol' law degree.
I applied for a job at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs headquarters in Washington, which was only a few miles from where I lived at the time.
Nine months passed: interviews, negotiations, long stretches. By the time my first day of work approached, my situation had improved. Still, the job was a bird in the hand.
I showed up for Day 1, sat through a depressing orientation (in a running joke, the speakers all started their remarks by sharing, to the day, how much time they had left until retirement), and returned to my new, windowless office to find an enormous pile of files stacked on the desk.
I couldn’t do it. The next morning, I got to work early, told my boss I realized the whole thing had been a mistake, and asked if I could get a mulligan, like in golf.
He was pretty cool about it. Some other lawyer, who had probably been bummed to have come in second when I had landed the job, got a very welcome phone call as a result.
Anyway, I wrote the article and a million or so people read it. For a while, I got tons of emails and LinkedIn messages from people telling me they were thinking about quitting their jobs, too, and asking for advice.
Then, I got a message from CBS Sunday Morning, saying that Tony Dokoupil was doing a story on people who had quit their jobs, and wanting to know if I'd be on it.
That sounded like a happy ending, so I did the bit. Little did I know they'd largely planned to make the entire show about me. (If you’re curious to see what I looked like pre-pandemic—basically, no beard and about 10 pounds lighter—you can check it out here.)
Anyway, you might recall I said at the outset that I was going to write today about the CFO of Moderna. It turns out he had a somewhat similar experience recently, but he’s going viral for an entirely different reason.
In my case, the "mulligan" meant I went back in time as if I hadn't ever been hired, so I didn't even get paid for the single day I spent on the job.
But in the case of Moderna's new CFO, who also only lasted one day, he walked away with his full salary for the year. I'll let CNBC pick up the story:
Moderna said on Wednesday its Chief Financial Officer Jorge Gomez departed within a day of taking charge after his former employer Dentsply Sirona disclosed an internal probe related to financial reporting.
Gomez’s appointment was announced in April and came into effect on Monday. Moderna said he left on Tuesday after Dentsply Sirona said it will not file its quarterly report with U.S. securities regulators on time due to the investigation.
Gomez will receive 12 months’ salary, totaling $700,000, and forfeit his signing bonus and bonus eligibility, the vaccine maker said.
Mr. Gomez, I salute you. It never occurred to me to become involved an in alleged scandal at my former employer first, so that I could land a new job, get fired on Day 1, and take home the full salary for a single day’s work.
About 100 years ago, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a phrase that’s become a footnote to an era—something I’ll bet a lot of people quote without realizing who wrote it or where it’s from:
“Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.”
I have a feeling—call it that, just a feeling. Our current era will one day be bygone. All the memories of the longest bull market in history and wealth disparity will be as relevant as the Panic of 1837.
But the guy who made the better part of a million for working a day and getting fired?
Congratulations Mr. Gomez. You’re now a footnote to history!
Kate Sullivan, who has been helping me out on Understandably, will be stepping back, moving on, or whatever euphemism you’d prefer for "no longer working on the day-to-day newsletter" (but, I hope, remaining part of the Understandably family).
As you may know, Kate is an assistant professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland. She’ll be devoting her time to teaching and research, plus on her Ph.D. dissertation, which is due next year. (No pressure!)
I know some of you will want to know how her health is, given that we wrote about her surgery to address Cushing syndrome last year. As Kate put it to me yesterday:
"The Cushing appears to be clearing up nicely, but brings with it new repercussions. Bottom line, I often really need a nap. I think I’ll write a book about it all."
I know everyone will join me in thanking Kate for everything she's done for us, and wishing her well.
This means ... I'll be hiring a new assistant editor soon. Also, I've decided to bring on a summer intern. I will share the official job descriptions once they're set.
(In a perfect world I would have had them done today, but paradoxically: Cut me some slack, I just lost my deputy!).
Stay tuned for more on that, in case you know anyone who might like to apply to come aboard and help out.
7 other things worth knowing today
Speaking of footnotes to an era: Oil giant Saudi Aramco on Wednesday surpassed Apple as the world’s most valuable firm. Aramco’s market valuation was just under $2.43 trillion on Wednesday; Apple, fell to $2.37 trillion. (CNBC)
Oh, and also—Coinbase, a $12.5 billion publicly traded crypto exchange that has lost more than 80 percent of its value since November (it used to be a $75 billion publicly traded crypto exchange) is warning its users that if the company goes bankrupt, they'll risk losing all of their crypto. (Fortune)
The Senate failed to advance a Democratic-led bill Wednesday that would have enshrined broad protections for legal abortion nationwide. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. joined all 50 Republicans in voting no, so it was 49-51. (NBC News)
Related: Women are deleting period-tracker apps from their smartphones, out of concern that in a post-Roe v. Wade world, law enforcement or private citizens could try to get ahold of the data . "If I lived in a state where abortion was actively being criminalized, I would not use a period tracker—that's for sure," one expert said. (NPR)
It’s a tough time to be in the mob in Las Vegas: Stories about long-departed organized crime figures are surfacing after two sets of unidentified human remains have revealed, as the water level falls on drought-stricken Lake Mead. “There’s no telling what we’ll find,” former Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman said Monday. “It’s not a bad place to dump a body.” (Globe & Mail. Is it odd to cite the Globe & Mail for a story about Las Vegas? They were nice enough not to have a paywall.)
Looking for a place to live in San Francisco, where rents for a studio apartment run $2,400? How about one of these $800-a-month "pods?" (Personally, I'd prefer an old-school group house, which is how I managed to live in Washington D.C. on my initial tiny salary. At least I got my own bedroom.) (SF Gate)
A passenger who told air traffic control he had an emergency and "no idea how to fly" a plane landed a Cessna at Florida airport, after the pilot suffered an apparent medical emergency. (CBS News, WPBF on Twitter)