More Muc Than You Can Handle

Leaving a Dream Job and Going on an Adventure

On January 4th 2010 I joined ThoughtWorks and it has been an amazing journey. I’ve seen more systems, worked with more people, and seen more countries than the entire 30 years that preceded that date. I still can’t believe how lucky I’ve been to have such a wonderful opportunity. That’s why it took me a long time to decide to leave it, and go on a bit of an adventure.

Why Leave Such a Good Thing?

For some reason I’ve had every job I’ve had for 4 years since I was 12 years old, so I’m just keeping to my routine! To be honest though, there were a few things that instigated this change.

  • Consulting Fatigue - It’s hard work always coming in as an outsider and trying to convince people to change their ways. You never know if what you suggest is correct, and there’s always so much context to process. One thing that I’ve gotten out of this though is becoming much more of a critical thinker. I’ve learned to hold off on knee-jerk reactions and to actively listen to the problem at hand. This has been something I apply on a day-to-day basis.
  • Product Complacency - Though, I’ve worked on some interesting projects (the latest being very cool), I can’t shake the satisfaction I got from working at CBC Radio 3 where I got to essentially build the product I wanted to build on my own anyways. This may have been mitigated but the following reason adds to this one.
  • Miss Small Teams - For some reason people thought I was great at working on large programs of work. While I thought the challenges were interesting, I’m more a small business person at heart. Some may be surprised by this because I’ve been on small teams, but they were in these large programs of work. I’ve learned that I’m more of a system thinker than I thought and I find myself getting lost in the system thinking and see myself as this tiny insignificant cog just wanting to make some impactful change.

Though I’m listing things related to ThoughtWorks, a lot of my weariness is more from IT in general. It could be an age thing, but I’ve been around long enough to see a lot of terrible things going on in this industry. No one seems to care about security, and the innovation that is making billions in the stock market are consumer products that mean almost nothing to me. It’s hard to be optimistic after Edward Snowden revealed the NSA privacy issues.

In the last few years I’ve managed to save some money, and given that I’m still relatively young and healthy, I thought now is the time to take a break before I get too cynical.

What am I Going to do?

The plan right now is pretty loose, but I have made a rough 6 month itinerary:

  • Head back to North America. This will involve crashing at my brother’s places and spend some time with family and friends.
  • Do some roadtrips in Canada and the USA.
  • Taking a cargo ship across the Atlantic.
  • July is the month of Formula 1! I have tickets for the British GP and the German GP.
  • Visit Eastern Europe.
  • Hang out in India for a couple months.

Along with the travels, I will be taking some mental journeys

  • I want to study economics and capitalism. If we’re in this prison of a system, I want to be an educated prisoner.
  • Get back to the basics of software development and attempt to unlearn all this “Enterprise” cruft I’ve picked up. Hoping to to this by learning a few new languages, doing code katas daily and releasing tiny side projects.
  • It’s a stretch, but I would like to do some athletic training (mainly running).

Like most things, I’m probably thinking about it too much, but in this case it’s the planning that’s been valuable and not the plan itself.

Sounds Awesome, but That Cannot Last Forever

During this time I’m attempting to figure out future career ideas. At the end I’ll figure out a place to live and what on my list of interesting domains to pursue:

  • Formula 1
  • Health care
  • Beer / Cocktails
  • Golf
  • Energy
  • Public Transportation
  • Music Distribution
  • Billiards
  • Space Exploration
  • City Planning
  • Software Delivery

Heck, I haven’t ruled out re-applying to ThoughtWorks.

ThoughtWorks Made Me Do This

The irony is that that ThoughtWorks has opened up my mind in such a way that it’s empowered me to make this decision. The ingress of information, concerns, cultures, opinions and experience is a storm brewing in my head trying it’s best to synthesize itself the best it can. If you’re thinking about applying at ThoughtWorks, please ping me. It’s an awesome place to work, and full of great people. During this sabbitcal I plan on visiting as many ThoughtWorkers as I can!

I’m looking forward to reading this post a year from now.