In February, I walked out of the Amazon offices and into unemployment. It was uneventful for a last day: I’d turned in my badge, saved off documentation for the people taking over my role, and since most everyone I worked with was in California, I just kind of walked out the building and into the wet, gray Seattle evening.
I was about to jettison everything in exchange for a backpack and a plane ticket. I would give away most of what I owned so I wouldn’t feel shackled to coming back. I would be free to choose any opportunity that came my way in my travels.
Homeless and unemployed. And that would be my life for the next many months.
Fast forward to July: I felt I’d extracted what I needed from my traveling, and the urge to be part of creating something was growing again. So I looked around the world at potential jobs. If I took a broad left turn, I could do anything. Serve beer in Amsterdam. Write articles for web sites from a beach in Mexico. Make modern art out of pigeon poop and sell it at street fairs.
However, if I wanted to again have full health benefits and build back some of the money I’d been spending for the past many months, perhaps it would behoove me to look for jobs that would make use of the past couple decades of experience I had built up. The quandary: can I find a job that aligns well with my interests and passions?
It’s amazing how many more possibilities there are when you aren’t limited by geography.
In relatively short order, I had a collection of juicy alternatives: I could dive back into the video game business in a number of places: most of them Seattle, a couple of them in the UK, one even in California. Or I could dive back into Amazon, this time down in the Bay Area, working with their hardware teams. Then there were some rather unexpected opportunities: News Corp in London. Nike in Portland. Skype in the UK.
From July through September, I narrowed things down. Video games are still a super exciting, competitive and creative industry, but at the moment I’m craving a new challenge. News Corp would be a new industry, but seemed to be ultimately a rather unsavory company in some ways. Skype was interesting, but then that would be returning to Microsoft, which is again a known quantity.
And so it came down to two: I had a job offer from a small game company in Cambridge, UK which would be interesting and a new challenge in that it was such a small company, betting the farm on a new game. But most important: I would get to live and work in the UK and experience all the challenges and learning experiences that would come with that. Long weekends would see me hopping a flight to wherever seemed interesting.
Secondly, I had a job interview at Nike, which was super interesting due to my burgeoning interest in fitness (now that my foot has healed, I’m finally back to exercising. Yay!)
As of last week I was all set to take the job in the UK. I could continue my adventuring while earning a paycheck and having full health benefits, which would be good when I invariably damaged myself again.
So, after much deliberation, the next stage of my adventure will be at Nike, where a culture of fitness and a dedication to getting people active, moving, and healthy is part of the daily job. Where making better athletes is what people think about in their daily work.
So I won’t be taking up residence in the foreign lands of the UK.
There is some symmetry to the fact that I’ll be landing in the town that was the first stop on my trip.
So if you ever want to come visit Portland, I’ll be sure to get familiar with all the local customs so I can show you around properly. And if you need a hook up for some good shoes, I think I know a guy.
Bring on the next challenge: