It’s true, after nearly two years at Taxi I have decided to leave in pursuit of other ventures. My coworkers showed a number of different reactions after the news broke. Some were shocked to see me go, a few were (jokingly) mad at me, and others were very professional about it. One thing each encounter had in common was that they wished me well, and asked the same two questions: “Where are you heading next?” and “Why are you leaving?”
Where are you heading next?
“I’m not sure, yet.”
That’s the best answer I can give everyone at this point, and that answer shocked people more than me leaving – especially my parents.
I’m talking to a number of companies inside and out of advertising to see what the best fit for my future will be. I’ve been in advertising and have a general sense of what to expect at other agencies. I’ve read a lot about life at start-ups and what it takes to be successful at one. Lots of companies want in-house designers and developers so they don’t have to rely on expensive agencies all the time.
Becoming a full-time freelancer for a few months is another option with the amount of inquiries I get in addition to current projects on the go. This could lead to short-term contract work with ad agencies, development shops, or in-house teams.
Another option is to simply take a short sabbatical. Everyone loves a vacation, but one or two weeks isn’t always enough to refresh your outlook on your creativity, personal life, and/or career. Stefan Sagmeister, a world-renowned graphic designer, gives a powerful TED talk about The power of time off. Every 7 years he closes down his studio and takes a yearlong sabbatical to refresh his creative outlook. His employees get the same perk.
While a yearlong sabbatical is not going to be offered by many companies, there are some that value time-off just as much. The creative powerhouse Carsonified uses a 4-day week to let employees have more free time while still pushing out amazing work. Airbnb provides employees with $2,000 per year to travel anywhere in the world. Countries in Europe give employees a minimum of 20 days paid vacation. Time off is more than a vacation, it’s a human necessity.
Each route has its own positives and negative that I must consider before making any decisions. I really don’t know where I’ll be next month, but I’m excited to find out.
Why are you leaving?
Seeing as I don’t have a job immediately lined up, people were a little confused as to why I decided to leave now.
Quitting your job without job prospects or the desire to go out on your own is not something I’d suggest. I have made numerous connections that may or may not lead to job opportunities, and while talks continue my freelance business is more than capable of supporting me. I am not living paycheck to paycheck so am lucky enough to have some financial freedom to make this decision and not rush it.
Continued education – There is a burning desire in me to keep learning. Taxi (and more specifically its senior developer) helped transform me from a junior front-end developer to a confident, efficient, well-rounded web developer on both the front and back ends. There is no doubt that Taxi encourages learning, but without being submersed in a new environment filled with new languages, technologies, and experiences I believe my learning has come to a bit of a plateau.
Career advancement – My tenure at Taxi lasted nearly two years, a relatively short amount of my future professional life. The traditional sense of career advancement says I’d need to stay at one company for a number of years in order to climb the corporate ladder. On the other hand, I could change jobs every few years in hopes of advancement but risk being considered a ‘job-hopper.’ That’s not my goal, but it’s always an option.
Job-hopping has sometimes been seen as a negative quality in the past, yet a new generation is turning that definition around. Forbes.com documents the way the today’s youth looks at the job market in Job Hopping Is the ‘New Normal’ for Millennials. The author describes this trend as something that can speed career advancement, lead to greater job fulfillment, but also lead to greater financial insecurity – the worst any generation has faced in the last half-century.
Things move faster today then ever before (sorry for the cliché). Playing the waiting game and moving up the ladder isn’t something that a passionate person does anymore. If we want something bad enough, we go take it. If we fail, we try harder next time.
To be clear, moving to a new job does not necessarily mean a promotion or raise, nor should it. Accepting a job you are not qualified for is another risk as you could end up being bad at it – a characteristic nobody wants attached to his or her name.
With that said, I am looking for more responsibilities. Moving to a new position will hopefully bring those with it in a capacity I am ready to handle at this stage of my career. So no, I’m not going to be a CTO just yet.
The time I spent with Taxi was great. The people were fantastic and I’m glad to have worked with all of them. I learnt more than I could have imagined in my time there – and I mean more than just coding. I have no regrets about working there and wish everyone the absolute best. I look forward to seeing the stream of great work continue to come out of Taxi in the future.
I look at the uncertain future as a thrill rather than a treacherous hill to climb. I think it’s burned into our minds that a steady job is one thing we absolutely need, and for some people it is. The security feels good, but where is the fun in that?
I watched an episode of Boston Legal last night and a quote from the Mad Cow-infested senior partner at a law firm, Denny Crane (played by William Shatner), stuck with me. He simply said, “It’s fun being me.”
Life is all about having fun and enjoying it. Rolling the dice with my future is just the way I’ve decided to have some fun.