Job change, lessons learned

07 Feb 2015

Last October I did one of the hardest decision of my life, I left my job.

It was my first experience, I joined that company for an internship and then I continued as a full-time engineer. They tought me what means beeing an engineer. I had a 9to5 job with a permanent position, some people may say they have arrived, what do you want more?

But after two years working there I started to be very stressed, every day I was losing the fun of what I was doing. I did a lot of amazing things, I have played a key role on a lot of core components of company platform. At a certain point, they gave me a task that made me very bored. I know that a job is not full of fun every day, you have to do things you love but also things you don’t like at all. So I said to myself: Luca, complete this task, the next will be more interesting. This was the motivation I used in past and worked well.

The task assigned went very bad, it was supposed to be a revolution for the platform but this time I failed, it didn’t work well. Then it was the time for holidays. Coming back home I was hoping that something changed, that I could go back to work with a good spirit and complete the task. But it was the same, as I have never been three weeks away. So I decided to to quit, starting full-time looking for something new.

A very hard decision, but I felt inside myself that it was the correct one.

Some people did not understand my decision but I received a lot of congratulations for my choice by a lot of friends and my family. I was happy for having their support and I felt that everything would go well anyway.

So I started looking around, I spent my first day off sending CVs to all the world. The day after I received a lot of responses. Very great, it was a satisfaction. I took some time to work on my side projects, it was very amazing time.

I finally accepted an offer from a startup in Silicon Valley. Starting a new job isn’t easy. After you get acquainted in a job you feel very productive, I had a lot of knowledge and I was completing a lot of tasks everyday. When you start a new job you have to start again from scratch. Anything you say, it is wrong. And it’s very frustrating. Also I changed from a work shift of 8 hours from 9 to 6, to a job with free working hours. I can work whenever I like, from wherever I want, they didn’t care. Seems easy but it’s not. I suffered a lot staying at home all day too. It’s very difficult.

After some months I started to feel better and now I can say: yes, it was definitely the correct decision to make. Now I can make a summary of what I’ve learnt:

Learning is important

On my previous job I was unhappy because I stopped learning. If you stop learning you start to get stressed. Doing new things, learn new things is one of the most important achievements that let you be happy of what you are doing.

Don’t fall in love

I enjoyed so much working with Redis, one of the smartest database I know. I felt that everything could be solved with it. It’s wrong, if you do this mistake you are biased and you cannot do a good job. Different problems need different solutions. If you are not neutral, you may not do the right choice.

Focus on tasks, not on time

Having free working hours is fantastic. It changes how you do your job, it’s more important what you do and not when. I suggest to keep a more or less 8 hours workday but split it however you want. For example I split a day in 15 pomodoros and my goal is to complete them more or less. During the morning I go to the swimming pool or spend lunch time with my girlfriend, anything; then I go back and work till I finish my day.

Break your shift

I think that working everyday from office can be stressfull, daily commute can be very expensive in terms of money or time. But it’s important for team building. Working from home it’s very great, you have more time for you and more time to work. I think the best is to mix office work with home work, to have the best of both worlds.

Working for a startup is amazing

There are different tradeoff between working for a big company or a startup. The former gives you bigger salary and a lot of benefits but you are just a pawn on a big game. The latter gives you more risk, less salary but more potential fame. On a startup you have a chance to play a key role for the success, and it’s very amazing.

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