I thought I was saddened enough last week when Vincent Wright, arguably the world’s biggest evangelizer of LinkedIn, decided to sever his ties with the service. Now I wake up here in New Zealand to news that he was seriously contemplating suicide and left a note for members (the chilling ‘By the time you read this, I will be dead’ type) of one of the biggest LinkedIn discussion forums.
Vincent says clearly that it was not the LinkedIn treatment that drove him to this decision, but events at Cigna and his allegedly unjustiﬁed dismissal in 1996:
I wanted to be somebody’s husband, somebody’s father, somebody’s supporter, somebody’s champion. I just could not ﬁgure out how to recover from Burkholder’s deception and how he set me up at CIGNA Corporation on October 22, 1996. He lied through and through and tricked CIGNA Corporation into using its power to back him against me. CIGNA’s backing helped to turn October 22, 1996 into my personal September 11th. …
I don’t have time to go into details with you tonight but, I knew I was a dead man as soon as I read Burkholder’s false dismissal notice on October 22, 1996. Burkholder accused me of missing a meeting with a CIGNA Executive whom I considered a personal hero. And Burkholder accused me of offering a woman a job in exchange for sex. Trouble is the woman DIDN’T EXIST! I tried for years to convince anyone who would listen that Burkholder made up that story. And he made it up to cover up how badly he was mismanaging the Stafﬁng Department at CIGNA. For example, he paid an exorbitant amount of money to was of his business colleagues to teach a class on Behavioral Interviewing Skills. Burkholder forced me to go to that class on October 23, 1996. Oddly enough he knew from my resume that I’d taught that class to approximately 60 IT Managers at United HealthCare immediately before he seduced me to leave UHC to come to CIGNA. He then accused me of missing an appointment ON OCTOBER TWENTY THIRD NINETEEN NINETY SIX. In spite of the fact his friend Lynn Nymser signed a certiﬁcate indicating that I was in the all day class with her and other HR Managers, Burkholder used that date to indicate that I had missed a meeting. Folks even as I’m about to commit suicide what Burkholder did to me sickens me more than my imminent death.
I have no way of verifying this information but this was the part of the note that struck me most. One or two negative people can indeed send you on a spiral of greater negativity and self-doubt. This is clearly what happened to Vincent and it’s a lesson to anyone thinking negatively that they can turn things around.
Vincent hung on for decades afterwards, and his championing of LinkedIn, promoting individual members’ causes and leading by example on how to network made him a friend and even an idol to those using social and business networking websites. In fact, he says his worked championing LinkedIn encouraged him to keep on living.
However, this hid the fact that ﬁnancially, he was in terrible trouble.
I can tell you that Vincent is still alive, according to members, who over the last 12 hours have been tracking him down and a donation process is now under way to at least help Vincent temporarily. This is the great thing about the human character: when someone is down, his or her back against the wall, people do rally around. (You can donate, too, by surﬁng to mylinkingpowerforum.ning.com and clicking the button in the top right-hand corner. It’s a PayPal account and all credit cards are accepted.)
I’ve offered my skills in résumés and graphic design to help Vincent get back on his feet when he’s able.
Once things are stabilized and things are looking brighter, there are few who would deny that Vincent Wright has amazing strengths in writing, networking, communication and online media.
Google Vincent Wright (including the Blog Search and News Search) and you will see supporters from all walks of life, all over the world.
If you know Vincent, or you have been a supporter of the work he has been doing, please consider helping in any way possible. He is a brilliant man who deserves it. Posted by Jack Yan, 23:48
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