I could talk about the growing pressures of playing a tactical role in a startup that is skyrocketing at a meteoric pace. I could relay the stresses of answering to investors who have placed over $50 Million worth of trust in us. I could bring up the growing internal politics, silos, egos, and other challenges of a company about to pass three hundred employees. I am not leaving for any of these reasons. I happen to enjoy the people I work with. I tend to thrive under pressure and surf the wave to get shit done. Early on I recognized that I am not a strategic player, I am a tactical one. I love what I did at work so these are not the reasons I left.
To get a better sense of the reasons I left I think we need some context. Let’s take a look at what my work days were like. Mornings are an important part of my day. I force myself up in the darkness of 5 AM in a discipline to achieve the daily goal: to get better. I am alone in these early hours. I mindfully write out (in cursive) the things I am grateful for. I sit quietly in peaceful meditation. This is followed by lifting weights for about an hour or on some days go for a run. After my elaborate morning routine, I hear my daughter’s voice echo through the house. She’s starting to discover the octaves, and volume, of her young voice. She does this with and without her hands in her mouth. When I find her I shout “GOOD MORNINNNNGG!” at which she scans the room triangulating the source of the familiar sound to find my face and upon doing so returns a big smile. The smile invariably melts my heart. I kiss her and sometimes hold her for a few minutes until I have to jump into the shower. Once I’m ready I hit the kitchen where my amazing wife and daughter are. I fix my breakfast and lunch and spend a while longer with them until I jump in my car and continue on to my day at work. Fast forward to the end of the day. I get home and am able to spend on most days less than an hour with my daughter before it is her bedtime.
This is not parenting. This is not what I want her to remember. I want her to look back and think “my dad was always there,” even if she says it with a sigh. I look at it this way. No matter how much more money I would make in the next few years I know I would happily trade that amount for the time I would lose with my family. To be clear this is not a sacrifice. This is an upgrade. I may have less, but I have much, much more. The reason I left had little to do with work and everything to do with life. It was an easy call.
This is why we work hard. This is why we do it. Family. All we have is a collection of seconds. I know where I want to spend mine.