At the start of this year, I posted about my fresh start. I’d just signed on to turn my consulting position into a full-time role at a startup whose mission I believed in and whose team and potential excited me and made me feel not-so-jaded about the tech world.
It was totally the right choice.
I firmly believe that working at early-stage startups is like living your life in dog years. Everything happens at lightning speed. You build faster, you fail faster, you learn faster, you’re always jibing and tacking. In the time it takes a “normal” company to change some copy in an email, you’ve already launched, iterated about 10 times, maybe even pivoted a few times, and learned a whole ton as a company and as an individual.
Part of the downside of living life in dog years is that major changes also happen more quickly. Two weeks ago, nearly 8 months after I signed on to join this awesome company, I had to say goodbye. Being an agile dog-years-startup also means quickly reacting to the information you’re given. As part of the pivoting process and trying to be as lean of an organization as possible, a few of our roles were no longer necessary. It’s a known risk of joining something so inherently volatile as a startup, and objectively the choice makes complete sense. But it still sucks to be on the wrong end of it.
So here I am. Currently funemployed.
Exactly a year ago, following a consulting position at yet dog-years startup, I sold everything to buy a one-way ticket to Thailand. If I didn’t know any better, I would think this last year didn’t even happen. This is all so eerily familiar. Except for a huge difference: I’m a completely different person than I was a year ago today. Between the travel that changed me in innumerable ways and all the amazing things I learned in the last 7 months as the Director of Product at a company with a huge mission under the mentorship of two amazingly successful women where I got to wear so many different hats outside of product, I’ve had a crash course in life and business. I wouldn’t trade the last year for anything.
Even if I am right back where I started.
Part of me wants to buy a plane ticket somewhere and have my own little Groundhog Year. But the realist in me knows I need to put all of this new-found knowledge into use somewhere. Maybe not a dog-years startup this time. Maybe a normal company. Or maybe something in between. Maybe I’ll go back to consulting for a while. Or maybe I’ll write that travel blog I left to collect dust.
Meanwhile, I’ve been furiously interviewing at tech companies all around NYC. And while I hope I don’t have to write a similar post again a year from now, if living these dog-year cycles means I get to learn and grow and adapt as much as I have in the last year, is that such a bad thing? I’m not sure how sustainable it is. Dogs, after all, don’t generally live as long as humans, but currently I’m pretty thankful for my reset button.
I just have to figure out what’s which direction to take my next step in.
(Let’s work together! I’m open to contract, short-term, or full-time work. More info here.)