This post was originally published 15-April 2020,
This is the first of two blog posts: “How I Quit My Career and Decided on Data Science”. In this post, I give a brief background on my career and describe the key events that led me to decide to quit my job.
My relatively short 7-year career in the professional world has been, in a word, varied. I’ve held roles in sales, strategy, account management, and operations. I’ve worked at three different companies from financial services to consulting to education technology, ranging in sizes from 15 employees to 50,000+ employees. I’ve also co-founded a company and had 4 entrepreneurial side projects. I’ve lived in 4 different cities.
One could look at that resume and say, wow, that’s one heck of a resume for someone under 30 years old. I look at that resume and see a lack of focus and direction. So, in that respect, I’ve been in my relatively short career, in a word, searching.
More specifically, I’ve been searching for meaning and sustained fulfillment for much of my career. I’ve always been someone with a wide range of interests, a general enthusiasm for new things, an inability to settle for the status quo, and a tendency to immerse myself in whatever it is that’s capturing my attention at that time. As someone of a disposition as such, finding that meaning and sustained fulfillment can be a tall order.
This searching came to a juncture in June 2019. I had just married the love of my life. I was also at a stagnation in my job. During our honeymoon, my wife and I talked a lot about our future together and the lives we wanted to lead. We knew that in order to lead our best lives together we needed to be the best versions of ourselves. One thing that became clear was that the career trajectory I was on at the time was suffocating — it didn’t set me up to be the best version of myself. Despite being a great job, with a great company, it wasn’t for me. I knew it was time for me to get out. I just wasn’t sure how. The seed was planted but it hadn’t yet germinated.
As anyone who has quit or thought about quitting their job knows, it’s not as easy as just doing it. For me, there were two main barriers. Big barriers. First, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Second, I needed to save up some money. So, in September, I put pen to paper (actually, I opened a Google Sheet, but pen to paper sounds better so we’ll stick with that).
The first question was, how was I going to pay the bills if I didn’t have a paycheck coming in? One option was to do odd jobs or ride Uber or something but I wasn’t into that. Instead, I calculated how much I needed to have in savings to give myself a 6-month financial runway. For simple math sake, we’ll call it $1,000 a month, so $6,000 total in savings. I then calculated how much I had in savings at that time, how much I needed to set aside for an emergency fund, and how much I needed to save from each paycheck before I met the $6,000 runway that I needed.
I had my target last day — November 22, 2019.
This completes the first of two blog posts: “How I Quit My Career and Decided on Data Science”. In Part 2, I talk about what it was like quitting my job with no definite plan and how I ultimately decided on a data science bootcamp.