On Departure

This is a personal update.

What’s going on?

On May 11, 2023, I unexpectedly left my job at AWS. I didn’t have a say in the matter; I have negative feelings about the event and will leave it at that. This post will run a bit long - it’s a way to get my feelings out and clarify where I am right now.

Leaving AWS felt like a bad, unexpected breakup, where your partner/s says, “Look - it’s not working out. You have to leave. And we’re keeping the couch.” I stayed with Amazon for almost 11 years and built a significant fraction of my identity around my job - I was proud to tell people about my work in AWS’s Security Outreach team, work with some of the best security researchers in the world, and build New Shinies to help my team be excellent. That part of me has been yanked away without warning, and filling the gap has been challenging. I’m now without income and work authorization in the USA, and the last three weeks have been the most anxiety-provoking of my life.

I learned much from the last three weeks and have started rebuilding my identity. Doing so has required asking some hard questions that never presented themselves before. Questions like “Who are you, actually?”, “What do you want out of life?”, “What do you value?” and “What do you want people to remember?”

I loved my job and am missing my team of engineers terribly, but life has carried on without pause since departing. AWS is renowned for its speed (sometimes bordering on haste) when addressing customer issues, and I let myself get caught up in the (organized) chaos to the point where I started forgetting who I was. Three weeks later, I’m figuring out who I am for what feels like the first time.

I’ve also learned that I have an incredible support network. My phone hasn’t stopped buzzing since I announced that I’d left AWS, and I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who supported (and continues to support) me while I figure out what’s next. Without you all, I’d be elsewhere by now.

What’s next?

I’m looking for a new gig. Priority one, however, is relaxing with my family and reconnecting with life. I’m taking a break from anything involving teaching silicon to think so I can focus on myself.

Lessons Learned

  1. Companies aren’t people. They don’t know what “loyalty” means. Don’t trust them to acknowledge loyalty from others.
  2. Work is a means to an end, not the total of existence. Work starts and stops at the beginning and end of the work day. Anything extra is your gift to give.
  3. Family and friends come first, always. Work provides for the family, but family is only family once it’s whole - and it will only be complete if members avoid spending their entire lives at work.
  4. Above all, be true to yourself. If you feel like something’s wrong in a situation, it almost certainly is.
  5. And “wrongness” is subjective. You could have strong feelings about a comment passed by someone else, or you might be upset by an upcoming event. If you do, express them (see point 4)

If you’ve read this far, thank you for sticking with me. I’m grateful for how life has gone thus far and am excited to see what’s next.

#amazon #life-update #ramblings