This post has been in the pipeline for a really long time now, but ever since I quit my job (at Google) to work full time on my startup (HackerEarth), its like I have been living in some other time dimension. Each day passes so quickly, yet cumulatively you feel you have been working like this for ages. It’s strange how time, both slows down and accelerates at the same time.
Coming back to the point, what was it like leaving Google?
I have got only one word for it ‘Scary’. Yes, it was scary, not because I did not have enough faith on my startup, not because I am afraid of working my ass off for the next 2 years, with absolutely no guarantee that things would work out, not because I was getting used to the awesome food, easy lifestyle with almost no work, but because it is actually ‘scary’.
You are giving away everything just by signing a piece of paper (in my case by sending an email), what others go at great lengths to achieve. You are happy to throw away one of the highest paying technical jobs in India, when there are people out there without any jobs, somewhere you start feeling guilty. Its the time to be independent, time to start earning instead you are again going to become a dependent on your parents (believe me if you are starting up you need all the financial help you can get from your family, you can’t do it without their support).
But most of all the Indian society is not mature enough that it can accept failures. They are still very strongly tied to the notion of playing it safe, and keeping the options open. You start thinking what will you do if you fail, of which there are frighteningly high chances (almost 80% of the startups fail), you start doubting yourself, what will I do, what will others think, what will happen. Sadly you don’t have answers for that, if everything was fail safe, there would be no fun in life right? But that is the exact moment, when you stand in front of a mirror, look at yourself and say to yourself, listen dude you are champ, don’t worry about all this shit, go get your lazy ass to working, everything will work out.
Although the experience is scary there is an aspect to it which makes the transition really easy. I will take an example, which I am sure you can relate to very easily. When you were small, like me you must also have been scared of dark rooms (if not, bravo dude, believe me you would have been my He-Man), but the point was that you were afraid of the darkness and not the room. You knew where the lights were, you would scramble across the room to switch on the lights and phssss there goes the fear.
The fear is more in your mind than anything else and it was the same with quitting my job. It was not there before the day I resigned, it was not there the day after I had resigned, it there at just that moment when I was scrambling through the dark. Starting out something of your own, is a small step in your life, believe me if it does not work out you can always do something else, but it is a huge leap psychologically.
Now, when I sit back and think, I realize it was a kind of indulgence for me. I have given myself a chance to do what I had always wanted to do. At worst, I will only have a failed venture and not an unfulfilled dream or a nagging regret in life.