Andrea Arena was 24 in 1991 and says she had no idea that the economy was bad: “I was too young to notice it or maybe too naive.” At the time, Arena worked at a restaurant and lived in a drafty apartment in Atlanta with a roommate. “I dated a lot -- to eat,” she says. When friends who slaved away in cubes for large consulting firms told her how overworked they were, a light bulb went on. She went to the HR departments at Andersen Consulting and Ernst & Young and told them that she would pick up their employees’ dry cleaning and walk their dogs. Workers would be less stressed out, she explained, which would boost retention. Arena also suggested that if the consulting firms would pay her in full before the start of the next fiscal year, she would happily give them a 1 percent discount. Both companies signed on as clients, and Arena’s company, 2 Places At 1 Time, was on its way.
May 1, 2008