Last year I wrote one of these and in retrospect, it was too personal. I think at the time, I didn’t expect more than 10 people max to read it. Even though the post makes me feel a bit exposed, it has had a positive effect on me that encouraged me to keep it posted and write another one.
It was around June when I started thinking about where my career was heading and where I was going. I felt like 2010 was such a crazy year, with so much personal and career development, that had I left 2011 as I entered it, I would have wasted a year. I seriously considered what this blog post would say had I stayed where I was. I thought the blog post would be boring and uneventfull, a reflection of what my life would have been. This idea scared me, and made me itch for change.
Coincidentally, a couple of opportunities presented themselves to me at that time, and I considered both heavily. Finally, I decided to join Strobe Inc.. This was my second job out of college, and the freedom that came with working in a startup amazed me, in stark contrast to Apple. On my first day at the job, I was linked to by Gruber (A bucket-list item of mine). Later, five of my blogs posts would make it to the front page of Hacker News (Another bucket-list item), and within 4 months, I released a fewopen source projects. The rush of seeing people use my software and the rush of public-speaking was addictive.
I recommend working at an early-stage startup to any engineer without hesitation. The breadth of knowledge you need to have and the intensity of the work is intoxication. You become a master of your own destiny, your peers become your family. and your work becomes your best friend. Moreover, you end up learning about a topics you wouldn’t otherwise explore: Financing, business developement, operations, etc. – All essential lesson to learn, and all lessons I’m glad I learned.
Fast forward a few months, and I’m now at Facebook. Truth be told, had I been in the open recruiting market, Facebook wouldn’t be the first company I’d reach out to. In hindsight though, I’m etremely grateful for the chance to work here. Regardless of the work itself, I’ve learned a lot about how a large company can operate and how teams can be managed. Again, invaluable life lessons I am grateful to learn.
I now sit in a room with some of the brightest and most accomplished names in Web Development, working on the most popular web destination, on tough problems. My old goal of always being the stupidest person in the room has been handsomely fullfilled.
Shifting gears to big life lessons learnt, I’d say the biggest lesson is to slow down. I’ve been operating under the time pressure of a race. I felt like every day that didn’t mark a notable improvement in my career was a wasted day. I’ve always been a futurist. I dream about the future, I talk about the future, and I build the future. I couldn’t justify a lack of change, so I enduced change. I’ve come to decide that that was a terrible way to live, and the lesson is that building the future takes time, adjustments, perseverence, and hard work.
Another main lesson I learned it: Fixing what’s broken can be as rewarding as starting over. I’ve always beena “grass is greener on the other side” sort of person, and treat obstacles with dread.
As I enter my mid-20s, I think I’m going to slow down. I want to have a few, but deep and impactful outcomes this year, not a lot of smaller ones. It’s time for me to stop being a student and a consumer and start creating my own world and future.
I’ve met most my SF friends for over two-and-a-half years now. These people have been with me through my weight loss, my job transitions, and my growth over the past couple of years, and they’ve handled all my whining and bad jokes, and I love them for it.
I now live with two of my best friends, in an amazing how in an amazing neighborhood in an amazing city with an amazing job, and an amazing life. I’m extremely grateful and take none of it for granted. As I grow, I want what I have to work for me more than I’ve given it a chance to do in the past. This year will have fewer changes, but bigger outcomes.