We are packing up our trunk outside of a friend’s house when he approaches the car.
It was late at night. We’d spent all day at a funeral. We were so distracted that we didn’t even see him walking towards us.
We think it is a joke.
We are in a nice quiet neighborhood. This guy couldn’t possibly be mugging us right now.
He tells us to get in the car.
We see the gun.
Everyone is silent.
My friend is sitting in the drivers seat, inches away from this man with a gun. Both of us stare at him in disbelief. I think about our two boys at home. I wonder if I am going to die.
He asks for all of our money.
And here is where the real story starts. The one where we don’t actually have any cash to give him, and we spend twenty minutes frantically trying to find things of value in our car.
We have debit cards and checks and a jar of change in between our seats, but no cash.
He thinks we are lying.
I show him my purse. He calls me a brokeass bitch.
So I just sit there, wondering what happens next.
Because what do you do when a man with a gun asks for all of your money, but you have none? Do you go to the ATM? Do you run away screaming? Do you try some self-defense moves you saw on TV?
I try to think of a solution for getting this man with a gun what he wants. He clearly needs the money or he wouldn’t be mugging us.
I offer him my iPhone, but the screen is cracked. No go. I show him my video camera, suggesting that maybe he could pawn it. He passes on that too.
As I rack my brain to find something of value in my car, it becomes clear to me that this is a business problem. The only way this guy can earn money is by mugging people, except no one in the world carries cash anymore.
He is working in a dying industry.
I have prescriptions in my purse. This guy could make a killing with a bottle of Adderall and a few Xanax. I hand him the bottles.
He doesn’t want them.
I realize this is a new idea for him, so I explain that he could sell these pills for at least $20 each, which means these two bottles are worth a ton of money. I assume if he can mug someone at gun point, he can probably find someone on the street to buy pills.
He doesn’t like that plan, and runs off with my debit card and its 4-digit pin instead. I shut the card off within twenty minutes, with just a phone call using the iPhone he wouldn’t take.
This is why it is so important to know when you need to pivot. Technology is shifting every industry in the world, and yet a lot of us keep trying do our lives in the same old ways.
I know it is nearly impossible to look at your industry objectively, and figure out when you need to make a change. But you have to try: this can be the most important career decision you can make.
Ask for advice. Don’t be afraid to try new things. And know when to make a pivot.
Other guest posts from Cassie: