Last week was my first week working in the small tech startup world again. If you read my last post, you know that I left my corporate cubicle job at a large and prominent web company for a job at a small tech startup. I had so many colleagues tell me I was crazy for leaving an operations job where I was responsible for 10,000+ servers and hundreds of millions of users for a job with less than 20 servers and less than a 100,000 users, but my friends knew that I was ready for a change and where very supportive.
I will admit that I was a bit freaked out at first, but by the end of the week, there is no doubt in my mind that I made the right decision. The reasons are almost endless but I think the top reason is that I feel like a human again. I no longer feel like a resource or a number. I feel like a person with a voice and an opinion that’s heard and respected. Now, this isn’t a stab at my former boss or team or anything. Actually, the only reason why I stayed as long as I did was because of the people that I directly worked with. Its more about the large corporate feel. The large corporate machine lead by committee, policies, and edicts. I was burning out on the politics and posturing and needed a change and my friends could tell.
All and all, the first week was awesome to say the least. I’m still getting used to being responsible for all of infrastructure and not having to get approval (in writing) (from a committee) for everything that I do. I’m slowly shaking the habit of over documenting and over commenting my code. I’m also still trying to get comfortable with being a decision maker again. I don’t have to justify tools that I want to use or fight for a service that will save us all time. I feel healthier because I’m sleeping better and feeling more fulfilled. And most of all, I’m loving being home with my wife and working with a team that really understands how to do remote engineering right.
It’s not all sunshine and daisies (yet) though… There are some things I really need to work on too. The biggest being that I need to stop freaking out about not working. I get small panic attacks when my day is over because I’m not used to my day being “over”. I’m so used to working 12-14 hour days that when my day ends at 8 or 9 hours, I start to freak out a little. I also need to shake the feeling that I need to be the “hero” all the time. Its not healthy for me or my personal relationships and its actually bad in the longterm for the company and product too.
(If you haven’t seen it, you should watch the talk by Jennifer Davis about it: “Hero to Zero”)
Just to wrap things up, I couldn’t be happier about the job change. I love the team and the work and I have confidence in the product. We are shaping the future of a new industry and making a difference in peoples’ lives. What more could anyone ask for? How about working from home and more time for a personal life? Yea, I got that too. I feel like I won the lottery and I’m not looking back.
IT related burnout resources: Burnout.io