2023 Update: I wrote this blog post when I left my first (and only) full-time job in 2019. I whined about the things I didn’t like about my job (of which there were lot). After spending time hiring people, leading dev teams, distributing work to people, being responsible for lot of things at the same time, I realise how hard it is to get those things in place and ensure smooth functioning. Of course this is no excuse for not having the right work-environment and culture, but it now makes me have a deep appreciation for companies who have figured out how to do it. Anyways, back to the original post :)
It’s been almost eight months since my last post (which seems kind of egoistic now on reflecting back). A lot has actually changed in last 2 months, so I felt an urge to pen down how I feel.
Early 2019 was smooth, I became comfortable with my job, started watching a TV suites regularly (finally!), did some guest-blogging, did some cooking (also became vegan for two weeks, lol) a couple of road trips, a couple of family events (fortunate and unfortunate ones) and a wonderful Langkawi-Singapore trip (my first completely unsponsored trip in fact :p). No hackathons, no application to conferences to talk (I became so lazy I even declined an invitation to speak at one of the popular Indian tech conf). In short, I stopped buying into self-improvement story for a while, and just wanted to enjoy life as is with “let the life flow” like attitude.
However, at the back of my mind, I always felt that there’s a possibility of something much better that I shouldn’t be restricting myself to. The problem was, despite giving enough time to my job, I couldn’t get myself to like it. There were a lot of things that weren’t making sense. People followed (and even believed in) a bunch of generalized principles which they’d always justify by saying “that’s how things are.” For instance, it’s so ironic that there’s very less correlation between the effort you put in and the progress you’ll make. I realized that “No matter how hard I work, there’s no chance I’d get promoted before 2-3 years.” It was all about time. Your
opinion age matters; it was annoying how every person’s thought (opinion) is evaluated with the lens of “For how much time have you been doing the job?” and not with “What do you know and how much effort you’ve put in?”. I’d see worthy suggestions simply shrugged off due to “too many open mouths, too many closed ears.” In short, people would bend the rules wherever possible and give justifications like “over-engineering,” “there’s no need,” “that’s okay, but we don’t have time/resources,” “what’s the business incentive here” and so on. The metric that most individuals tried to optimize was “how to put in less effort into the work and still earn the same or more,” and that resulted in bureaucracy, people escaping responsibilities, blame-games, pretending to work, and stuff like that. The feeling that can learn so much more elsewhere never allowed me to work on my job passionately and made me whine about it to everyone I talked to (if I did that to you too, sorry for the negativity).
Despite all of this, I just wanted to “stick” to it in a wish my opinions might change. So I decided to put my job on autopilot and meanwhile, I had to come up with a plan in case things didn’t approve.
I don’t like to plan things more than a year ahead (because that’s just too much uncertainty, and a lot can change). And after considering all of my past experiences and how I felt about them, going in the direction of entrepreneurship seemed like an option. I have experienced the early-stage startup stints during my college days, developed a bunch of PoCs in hackathons, had a lot of ideas which I felt were cool (like everyone), and I loved fiddling around with cutting-edge technologies in general. So it all felt logical to give entrepreneurship a shot! The only concern was the logistics of it. I knew that if I’m about to get on to this path, I should have enough savings to survive for a year and smart connections (friends, colleagues or long acquaintances) who are willing to go through the grinding journey of a startup with me. For the savings path, I tried to pull-off some passive income stuff (t-shirt design selling, video courses, reselling of products or even domain, and whatnot), but I realized it was all too distracting and somewhat not possible in a little free time I get during the job. The only option was to wait for a few months more and save money and give myself a hard deadline to make the shift.
That’s exactly what happened, and l also got to know about EF (Entrepreneur First) during that time, which I felt can solve that co-founder problem to some extent. They have a slightly contrarian approach to entreprenuership, which I feel has its pros and sets them apart. And luckily, I got selected (:tada:), and all dots seemed to connect. My full-time job stint ended this Friday, and all negatives aside, I did meet a few amazing people there who made my journey smooth. I wish we stay in touch, and I’d get a chance to work with them again.
Few things that I realized in last eight months,
- That not just your heart, even your mind knows what’s best for you. And if you give it enough time and data-points of experiences, it becomes good at judging when to go by the guts and when to let things flow as is (which I feel is necessary as well for the stability of your lifestyle).
- The dots connect in unimaginable ways and give lessons that you couldn’t have learned otherwise. You never know what activity you will influence your career. I started out writing just for fun and curiosity. One thing led to another, and over time, I got exposed to a lot of cool opportunities due to it. It feels so good when people say my posts helped the platforms to provide more value to their users and improve their user metrics.
- On similar lines, almost everytime, things won’t turn out how you expect them to be. I anticipated this moment of leaving my job for doing something independently from the very moment I joined it. I might have spent hundreds of hours playing these scenarios in mind, but the reality took an entirely differnt path.
- I realized that having a degree is almost certainly not a mandatory thing to have for excelling in tech. Three professors reached out to me if they can use my material for teaching their students. And I learned all that stuff by crawling my way through the internet (documentation, blogs, StackExchange threads, Reddit, youtube, and what not). Of course, you can fast-pace the learning process in a well-designed course in a good environment, but not being able to access/afford that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. I can relate this thing EF as well, I see it as an opportunity to fast-pace some of the aspects of entrepreneurship (finding co-founders, getting pre-seed investment, mentoring, etc.), but I’m also prepared for the hard(est) way as well.
- A lot of focus on entrepreneurship; I started working on some PoCs in stealth mode. Also, need to catch up with all the jargon that’s being used out there, and understand the bigger picture (in other words understanding the rules of the game, what kind of players are winning, unfair advantages, and stuff like that).
- Focus on health and diet; I had been too complacent with my health and diet recently, there’s no way I can make it through EF without correcting my unhealthy lifestyle. This means changes like proper sleep routines (which wasn’t possible with my job earlier), healthy vegan food, physical activities (planning to start regular running and badminton again), and some meditation 🧘♂️ .
- Better time management; I have abstained from social media and news for a long time now so that I could focus on a few things. I want to continue that. And I do realize that time’s the thing I have to optimize my work for in the coming days. So not expecting any more blog posts during the EF (next three months).
- Also, work sporadically on next wtfpython iteration (coming with a big surprise).
Well, that’s about all. In short, I’ve temporarily burned all the bridges (job, guest-blogging, freelancing, mentoring) to just focus on EF. Let’s see how it goes. Until next time…