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Photo by Mwangi Gatheca from Unsplash


I was laid off on Aug. 10, 2023. I feel like I was a good employee, but due to the vicissitudes of trade, my services were no longer needed. I wasn’t disappointed, I was honestly pretty excited.

During my sabbatical from employment, I want to produce work that I will be proud of 10 years from now. Reading, browsing Twitter or getting nerd-sniped are okay, and they feel like work. They definitely are intellectual work. But they are not legible. They do not let me signal what type of person I am and what I can do.

I have benefited for a long time from being perceived as a young, ambitious person. I lost that sheen for a bit when I was at Accenture. I regained it at Searchspring. Greatness comes from slack. The slack I had at Searchspring gave me time to become a better engineer and the confidence that I could be a great engineer. I want to build on that over the next couple of months.

I invested for a future decades away. But I worked for my stand-up hours away. That is no longer true. I am now constrained by money. But I can work on projects that can take years to pay off.

But I can’t waste time. I can invest time for a far future, but my limited money buys me limited freedom from the social contract of employment. I don’t want to impose a totalitarian discipline on myself, but failure is not acceptable. I have run away from the prison, which employment is. But the guards are out searching for me. I must find a new home or build a new one. I will not die in the wilderness. I will not go back. I will not spend years plotting another escape.

I have lived a charmed life. I have had one or more part-time jobs or a full-time job since the month after my 18th birthday. I have had less money in the past, but I have not really been constrained by money. Ever since I started working full-time, I have readily traded money for more time, reduced hassle or psychic benefits. But now that money directly buys freedom, I need to be more conservative with my spending.

I am a little afraid, very excited, but also overwhelmed. In the past, when I am overwhelmed, I have delayed or taken no action. Sometimes, no action is the right move, but often, it allows me to procrastinate on make hard decisions. I need to rapidly develop a bias for action.

For the last several years, my life has gotten better almost automatically. I passed my courses and went to the next grade. I matured as I gained more life experience just by waking up every day. But after I graduated, that is no longer true. I need to take action to improve my life. In 2020, I graduated and joined Accenture. In 2021, I took action, and I left my consulting job at Accenture and got a better job as a software engineer at Searchspring. I was concerned this year would break the trend. Whether or not it does, it certainly won’t be boring.

Goals:

  • Base:
    • I want to stop selling commodity engineering services to generic tech companies
  • High
    • Exit the social contract of employment
  • Low
    • Get another software engineering job

Fail:

  • Lose control of my sleep cycle. Allowing it to invert and me to be nocturnal
  • Become unemployable before reaching sustainability
  • Not being able to get another job
  • Taking a sabbatical, working on side projects, “Building in public”, etc., is a luxury belief
  • I become overwhelmed and procrastinating on everything
  • I have implicit and explicit responsibilities to others that I don’t want to abandon