Choices, Decisions and Fear: Part 2.

I'm a fan of transparency.  I like to know what people are up to, and I think there are people that like to know what I'm up to as well.  This includes the background and emotions behind major life decisions.  So here's my story. If you're reading this you already know it's been a rough couple months as far as my career path goes.  I knew I needed to move elsewhere, but I didn't know in what capacity.

I didn't know if I was unhappy with the company, unhappy with my role, unhappy with my direction, unhappy with those I worked with... I just didn't know.  What I did know was that I was unhappy and I saw no chance of that changing without a major overhaul in my "professional" life.

So I took a step back and looked at the world around me, specifically those who inhabit it.

I looked at what others do, not particularly career wise.  But what their life consists of.  I looked at the tweets people made and took note when I said "I wish my life could have what they're doing right now."

This consisted of things like "I wish I could go to South By Southwest next year" or "I wish when AIM has breakfasts I could attend" or "I want more time to spend on projects that I care about, personally and professionally."

Having a list of what's important to me right now and in the short term made me realize that in order to pull off a big change, it requires big changes.  None of what I want out of life can happen as long as I'm working for a large corporation where I'm nothing more than a number.  Where taking a day off in order to take part in something much larger than a 8-5 is frowned upon.

So a lot of thought and discussion went into what I did today.  I put in my notice to leave West Corporation.

In the words of Gary Vaynerchuk "Don't come up and say 'I quit my job!!!' and expect me to be happy for you.  Don't you have bills or anything?"  And yeah, I kind of have to not be homeless and keep my car and stuff.  So it turns out working is a requirement.  Details.

In comes multiple discussions with Rahul Gupta's Dispatch This.  He came to me personally saying he wanted to bring me on as a developer for his product.  We met a few times and now I'm hired to work there in a part-time capacity.

It's a huge win to know I have guaranteed income coming in, if only part-time.  But I do have to make up for the rest.  Luckily it turns out there's some really neat people in Omaha who need stuff done and would like me to work on them on it.

This includes joining up with the Contemporary Analysis team to grow their budding IT branch to include web hosting, development, and further expanding their options to clients as a one stop shop for products provided by CA.

All of this is really exciting for me.  It gives me the opportunity to work on a handful of products both on the Dispatch This side, where they have a steady client base, and on the "i have this great idea, work with me on it" type stuff elsewhere in the community.

But to be honest I'm scared shitless.

Do I know what the steps are to make this bohemian technology lifestyle work?  Absolutely not.  Is it possible that I fail?  Absolutely.  Is it worth the risk?  To me, yes.  Others (parents) think i'm an idiot to give up everything I've worked so hard for in cube-land.  But I don't see it as that at all.  I'm happy to give up my cube, my required office hours, my high stress/low productivity environment.  Giving up my lack of pride in return for some real excitement with what I do with my time is a pretty ok tradeoff for me.

In all seriousness I'm giving up a good salary, benefits, and a "you know what you're doing today, how much money you'll get every couple weeks, and the fact you don't have to worry about that."

But I'm in a place where I think the risk is worth it.  I may fall on my face in complete failure.  But a failure story is still a story.  I'm certainly not making any stories where I'm at now.

Thanks for the support everyone.  I never would have done anything like this without all the ass kicking from people like Rahul Gupta, Brian Smith, Dusty Davidson, Steph Monge, Tim Kephart and so many others.

I'm cautiously optimistic that things will work out.  But please wish me the best.

Gabe Kangas

Nov 10, 2009