Summer of Yearning (and Learning)
Let me first start by saying that I have a great job. I have an amazing position which affords me a wonderful balance of technical, business, strategy, and communication. I work with great people, some of whom I have known for many years and others which I have the opportunity to forge new relationships with. I work inside the fastest growing division, with the fastest growing product in the industry, contained within the industry's leading company. I have absolutely no reason to complain and every reason to be excited and grateful.
But seven weeks ago, I was uncomfortable. I needed a change. I've been in the same company for almost eleven years (not that this particular number is important, given how much change I've experienced). My father's health had thrown me for a bit of a loop and the summer itch was on.
I explored a few opportunities - and here again I am incredibly fortunate - I have the opportunity to co-found my own startup, to join a company post-seed, post-A, close-to-product, post-product, and so-on. Essentially, any stage of company was open to me, with a variety of roles and a varying degree of pace. But I found none of them exciting enough to quench this uncomfortable feeling inside - they were all missing the mark.
I was honest and open with my boss during this period and he offered to have me go on an extended vacation to figure things out. He did so knowing that not returning was certainly within my set of options, but he encouraged me to go anyway. So for the last seven weeks I have had a lot of time to think about what I want next. I spent 10 days by myself here in Seattle, 10 days in Japan with Eriko's family, 10 days in Pennsylvania with my parents and sister, and now have one last week of vacation here in Seattle.
What did I discover? What did I realize? That isn't my work that I want to change. Don't get me wrong - there are always things to improve and challenges to overcome, but the yearning that I have right now is to focus on making myself a better person:
- How do I cultivate a stronger relationship with my wife and my children?
- What hobbies do I invest myself in? What am I outside of a career?
- How do I become closer to my family? My brother, my sisters, my parents?
- What will it take to live a healthier life, both physically and mentally?
- How can I become more internally motivated to balance out the external motivation?
I'm very grateful for the opportunity I had to turn off the noise and listen to myself. I can't express enough thanks to my boss and my company for giving me this privilege. Now I'm ready to move forward with the next phase of my life - and I feel great.