September 12, 2008
Musings on the Next Few Years
I wrote this in July (!!) as a morning-after continuation on this update on my life.
Since it still accurately reflects my thoughts at this time, and since I keep sucking at connecting with old friends in real life, I’m publishing it.
I have started thinking through my career trajectory for the next 2-5 years.
I’ve been lucky thus far. Yeah, there were some rough patches (many depressing rounds of layoffs at Excite, for example), but I’ve had a number of excellent managers, and been able to observe and learn from many awesome co-workers. Webshots paid off both literally (twice!), and figuratively, in all that I’ve had the opportunity to stumble through.
What I didn’t have before, really, was the ability to choose my path.
In 2000, I thought what I really wanted to was to earn enough money to go back and pursue my PhD. I’d even started discussions with my manager at the time to this effect. Thankfully, the layoffs came, and I discovered that the real geniuses in a company (the PhDs) get let go before the inexperienced idjits (that would be, uh, me). And then they go over to Google and make a ton of money.
Er. What was my point?
When I landed at Webshots, there was one thing I’d wanted to accomplish, and I had many thoughts of leaving. Then I developed my weird health issues, and it was all I could do to get to work (almost) every day. And yet, they stuck with me, and I worked it out, and I accomplished and learned quite a bit, and it worked out remarkably well for me.
Three employers, four job titles, six job responsibilities, and eight teams later, here I am.
That kind of change certainly helped keep me from stagnating.
And now… now, I am having a great time, applying lessons on scaling in a new context, increasing the operational complexity I have to tame, and learning (slowly) how to navigate political waters in a large, established company.
Is this where I’ll be in 2 years? Will this be what will make me happiest for the next 18 months?
Honestly, I don’t know.
What I do know is that I intend to intentionally choose what I do next.