Moving Fast, Staying Put

Three movers brought in my stuff. I have a lot of stuff, so three movers were required. It was the same company that took my stuff away, but mostly a different crew of guys. One guy was very confused. “Didn’t we just pack this all up? Is everything ok?” Salient question.

Folks keep asking if I get to keep my apartment. Thankfully, I never let go of it. Go to the property management office, end the lease, turn in the keys, put my car on a truck, and get on a plane. That was to be my “See you later Bay Area” ritual. None of that happened.

“Nothing is for sure, nothing is for certain, nothing lasts forever…” — Andre 3000

When you input different values into an equation, you almost always get a different outcome.

The math behind my decision to move to New York was no different. I’d once lived in New York and all but vowed to never do it again, so I didn’t take the decision to move there lightly. Every value in the equation was significant and the outcome was clear: take the job I’d been offered and move to New York.

In late July, I learned, that some of the values in the equation I used to make my decision changed. As the inputs changed, so too did the output. The result was no longer move to New York. Instead, the result was a pretty resounding: stay put.

I asked friends and trusted advisors to check my math and they came to various forms of the same conclusion: don’t go (though some were more vehement than others). Even those who were previously “high risk, high reward, adventure over all, New York is amazing” oriented were on the fence.

So I made one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made in my life: though they were still excited for me to join, I decided not to take the job I’d been offered at Kickstarter and remain in the Bay Area.


The Past 3 Months in Review

  • 4 Engineering Management job offers
  • 2 offer letters signed
  • 1 job quit
  • 1 job not taken after acceptance
  • 1 job started
  • 1 long term relationship ended
  • 1 roundtrip cross country trip for my household goods
  • 1 dead air mattress
  • Several friends that quietly worked to help me make connections with people who were hiring engineering managers in the Bay Area
  • Many friends who constantly checked in on me
  • 2 friends that forced me to get out of my apartment and take a walk around the lake when I was at my lowest
  • Many great new friends made

They say the top 3 stressors in life are moving, relationship change, and job change. I was in the middle of experiencing the overwhelming stress of having all those happen at once when I learned the circumstances regarding the position I accepted at Kickstarter changed and I had to recalculate. I’m not going to try to mince words here; what followed was one of the most emotionally challenging experiences I’ve ever had in my life.

To have given up so much for something that ultimately didn’t come to fruition caused my already high stress level to redline. One of the most important things I’ve learned in my recent history is that it is ok to say “I’m not ok,” and it is ok to ask for help. So I did, and people stepped forward to say “I can help.” Some friends made sure to consistently check in to ask how I was doing. Other friends rallied to help connect me to companies that were hiring Engineering Managers. The result of this support is that the day after I made my decision to stay, I had intro emails to several different companies in the works thanks to these folks and I was interviewing the next week.

I knew that I was capable of operating under a high level of stress, but the process of interviewing, while unemployed, grieving the loss of a relationship that meant a great deal to me, dealing with an abrupt life change in the wake of several other life changes, plus weeks of living in an empty apartment, save the air mattress I was sleeping on, pushed me to and beyond my limits. I know that many people in the world go through much worse things, but this far exceeded my personal life difficulty level. As a result, the first interview I did was an unmitigated disaster. I didn’t get an offer. However, I learned from that experience, re-calibrated, and kept going. That was the theme of the last three months: keep going. That perseverance resulted in offers after every subsequent interview (thank you to those companies I interviewed with, I wish I could work with all of you). I accepted one of those offers and had my first day today.

This has been a long, hard, humbling experience. I’m not glad I went through it, but I’m glad I landed where I did. Ultimately, if I could do it all over again, I would have just interviewed at places in the Bay Area for an Engineering Leadership position and saved myself a lot of heartbreak, heartache, and grief. Hindsight is 20/20, right? That said, I recognize that this could have gone very differently and I’m very lucky to have and am very grateful for the wonderful people in my life and the options available to me. There isn’t any big lesson here, except that. When the chips are down, ask for help and some people will gladly step up. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Laura, Ashley, Tess, Bethanye, Y-vonne, Leah, Jedidah, Freada, Ellen, Laura, Susan, Tracy, Cate, Ashley, Michelle, Kelly, Jill, Ronnie, Duretti, Megan, Mina, Kate, Katy, Meggy, Grace, Camille, Bons, Marc, Kyle, Chris, Mitch, Marco, Harper, Jesse, LG, Ty, Jack, and others.


FAQ

What the fuck?

#startuplife ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 
One rule of startups is change. Constant, often uncomfortable change. What is true today in a startup might not be true tomorrow. Remember this if you’re considering a role at a startup.

That’s super vague.

Yes, it is.

Are you gonna say more?

Nope.

How are you?

5.5/10 and recovering. If I’m anything, I’m resilient.

Is this why you’ve haven’t been responding to my emails/texts/DMs/etc?

Yes. I didn’t have much free time and had even less mental capacity to do anything but focus on how to move forward. I’m sorry, it wasn’t you, it was me.

Are you glad to be staying in the Bay?

Hella.

What are you going to do now?

Unpack.

I meant what job are you doing?

I’m extremely excited to be a Senior Engineering Manager at Patreon and yes, I’m hiring. 😀

My desk at Patreon HQ. :)
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