A New Path Forward

Some updates: I was laid off on November 13th. Something they call a "garden leave", so I technically remain employed until December 31st. On January 1st, I'll be unemployed. Am I bummed? A little, but to be honest I haven't exactly been thrilled to be working for Newsela for a while. I was a victim of the company's third round of layoffs this year, so I had to say goodbye to many friends the past few months. And with the Founder/CEO departure in January, and many other executives leaving, I must say the culture has fallen apart. It's a different workplace than the one I joined in January 2022.

With that said, I'm taking the layoff as a blessing in disguise. I've been telling myself it was time for a change, and this is the kick in the butt I needed to make it happen. Now it's a matter of deciding what's next. Here are some factors I'm thinking about:

1. I want a more social work-life balance.

Remote work kinda sucks for me. I'm 25, live alone, and want to meet people. I'm the rare extroverted engineer, so I want a role that helps me meet people, talk to people, an move around during the day. I want to build meaningful connections. 8 hours in front of a laptop won't cut it.

2. Doing what?

I'm a little confused about what I want to do. Yes, I'm a software engineer, and yes I can build big complex things very fast. However, I'm not excited to look for another software engineering role. Similar to point one, I don't feel like I fit the software engineer mold. I'm social, I like design and considering UX, I like participating with customers, and I don't like receiving work through a ticket. I want to be involved. I don't have a computer science degree, and I couldn't say I'm a deep specialist in any software space besides frontend (and even then, I feel the occasional imposter syndrome).

So what does that role look like? I'm not sure. I've also considered trying to get seed funding for my new project, Deco (all of the AI stuff I've been writing about). Although I'm of the opinion that funding is an accelerant, so we should probably be making money before raising. I think the best way forward is to make money in a full-time gig, work on Deco on the side, and consider venture if we start generating revenue.

3. Where?

I'm torn about where I should end up. I currently live in Hoboken across from New York City. I love being close to the city; I love the ambition, the energy, and the potential for great food and a lot of fun. The only issue is it's prohibitively expensive. Without a full-time income, I can't afford to live up here. I have a really great group of friends in Philadelphia and the cost of living is very affordable, but I've lived in Philly for college, and I don't know if that's where I want to be again. The crime and lack of opportunity is a huge turnoff for me.

So now I've got a clean slate to build off of. I really want to be decisive and intentional; I think the worst thing to do is float along until something happens to me. Yet, I'm open to opportunities, waiting for that next door to open.