I quit my job as a software engineer (again)
Date: 2023-03-27 | create | career | hamy-labs
I quit my job... Again.
In November, I left my job as a Software Engineer at Instagram. I was searching for the freedom / experience to build towards my Endless Game as a Technologist / Tinypreneur (at Staff and Portfolio levels).
But then I received a dream offer as a Senior Software Engineer at Reddit - a startup building a product I use and love. I figured this would be a great way to learn about startups / entrepreneurship from the inside at a company really doing the thing - and with a lot less risk - a steady paycheck / health insurance / etc.
But after a few months I realized that Reddit wasn't really a startup - it was a scaleup targeting further globalization and modernization. This made sense for the company as it targets its next phase of growth and capitalization but it didn't really make sense for me.
When I projected out the experience and learnings I would get from working another 12 months at Reddit, I realized I wouldn't get closer to my Endless Game - the life / career I'd like to spend every day for the rest of my life on. All the while time keeps flowing, so those 12 months are another 12 months not working towards my Endless Game (opportunity cost).
My vision for 2023 is to get closer to my Endless Game. I felt continuing on the path I was on would miss those goals which in turn would bring me further from my life / career plans. Ultimately I decided it was time for another change.
The truth is I'm still figuring it out. But the guiding principles are similar to what I had in November - now enhanced with new #knowledge. I have a directional strategy with which to guide my upcoming Creation Cycles.
The first is a label to efficiently explain to everyone what I'm pursuing this year. This serves both both as an honest, descriptive look at what I hope to accomplish as well as a recognizable and acceptable explanation for the use of years of life and $10ks for little monetary return - the IRLMBA/CS:
My main goal while pursuing my IRLMBA/CS is to approach Ramen Profitability which would unlock my Endless Games. Ramen Profitability is crucial for any endless game as without it you are broke and can no longer play. #wasted
Ramen Profitability = Profit > Minimum Living Expenses
Professionally I'll be updating my Linkedin title to Founder + CTO of HAMY LABS. That seems more professionally acceptable / understandable than my real title of Technologist / Tinypreneur and my resume needs all the help it can get.
In the coming year I'm giving myself three mandates to thoroughly explore:
- Build - Businesses and CTECH. The only way this works is if I really try to live my Endless Game. My Endless Game is predicated on building things so build I must.
- Learn - Deep dives into research areas / domains I've been interested in and that I feel will strengthen my Asset Stack. I'll be taking a few courses as well as doing a lot of self-led Research. My goal / hope is that I can achieve 20-50% improvements in many of my core skillsets by simply applying them to many different cycles within the domains I aim to play.
- Explore - Figure out what I want to do next. It's becoming more and more clear to me that the experiences / values I looked for in my professional Create domains up to this point no longer fit. I hope to test out different areas / hypotheses to help figure out what my new values are and what I may want to do next:
- Q: Is my Endless Game truly what I want to do for the rest of my life?
- Q: If this fails, how can I support myself in a way that still unblocks my Endless Game?
- Q: What would I be happy spending the next 5-10 years on?
Support / Follow
If you want to support / follow along - firstly I appreciate you! I have no idea what I"m doing so I really need all the help / guidance I can get. It's a journey and I'm honestly not sure where I'll end up in 8 months.
The best / easiest way to support my journey is to simply follow along for updates:
If you want to support further:
- Provide feedback on my projects: All projects from the past 10+ years
- Become a HAMINION: Get exclusive discounts, code access, and help me succeed =)))
I expect I'll get a lot of questions around this decision. I'll explore some of them in this section both as a way to efficiently distribute answers and to reflect and make sure I've really thought through this whole thing.
My time at Reddit was far shorter than I'd typically like. Generally I think you should try a company for at least 6-12 months to really get a feel for it (ramp up often takes 6 months) and to keep your resume red-flag free (<12 months is often considered a regrettable hire because the company probably didn't profit off the engagement). But a few factors combined to make the benefits of switching early far outweigh the potential downsides of short tenure.
- Closing window of zero dependent responsibilities. I turn 30 and get married this year. This signals to me that my time with basically zero dependent responsibilities is closing. As such this is probably the best time to be risky for the rest of my life.
- Lack of passion. For the past 1.5 years I've been building some of the best software of my career but there's been little passion behind it. We can see this pretty clearly in the style/quality/quantity of projects I released in 2022 compared to previous years. I believe that a fulfilling life follows the Hedge Hog principle (make money, doing things you're good at, and that you're passionate about). As long as I was missing the passion part I was missing out on living my best life and building my best Creations.
- There's no right time, just better times than others. The truth is there is no right time to do things. There will always be reasons why waiting another quarter / half / year might make sense. The problem with this thinking is that it can quickly lead to procrastination / starvation of the next thing - where you never actually make the jump. I don't know if right now is the best time. But I do know that what I was doing didn't seem like the right thing and that there's honestly little downside to going now. So without hard evidence that a better future time is coming near-term - I must work off the limited data I have and hypothesize that now is as good a time as any upcoming time.
I'm not gonna lie, there are a lot of risks involved with going out on your own. So here I'm listing known risks and how I plan to handle them.
- Money. I will likely lose a significant amount of money this year as I pay for myself to live without any incoming revenue.
- BUT I'm young with high earning potential (assuming AI doesn't take all the jobs) and have been very careful with my finances throughout most of my professional career. Together this leaves me with high confidence that even in the worst case, I will be financially sound in the coming years.
- Worst case - I'm time-boxing this experiment to the end of 2023. If I'm not approaching ramen profitability then I'll go seek funding / a job somewhere. Limited downside.
- Career. Leaving with less than 6 months at a company doesn't look great. Having less time at top-rated companies and more time at a no-name startup (HAMY LABS) doesn't necessarily improve my earning potential as a software engineer.
- BUT I think my past corporate experiences and reasonings (in Shares like this one) can smooth a lot of these wrinkles. Plus I'm hopeful HAMY LABS will be successful or at least get me closer to my Endless Game which is more important to my life / career than climbing the corporate ladder.
- Worst case - I join back up to corporate and start the ladder back where I was, but average case is that I'll probably be a much more appealing candidate for startups / small companies where I hypothesize I may want to go if this fails (Big Tech Eng are notoriously bad at smaller companies lul)