When I started this trip, I earmarked October as a potential end. Back to being gainfully employed. A grown up, once again. Figuring that it will take a couple months or more, the time is now ripe to be looking for what is next.
And the strange thing is, I’m not panicked by this thought. Nope, turns out I’m excited to get back to work. If time off recharges your batteries, mine are pretty much at max capacity.
So the question is: what’s next?
My fantasy at the start of all this was that I would discover a whole new career to follow. I gave myself every opportunity for this: travel to foreign lands. Free time to discover new things. Freedom from any expectations.
So while I’ve traveled I’ve talked to a lot of people and imagined myself in many different roles.
Teach English in Spain? Well, that would be pretty cool. And I could practice my fledgling Spanish. But the pay is pretty poor, and English is a weird language. Spending my day trying to explain why prepositions change in seemingly arbitrary ways sounds a bit sketchy.
Write on a beach in Mexico? Well I do love writing. Love it. One this trip I have finished a novel and started a second one (as well as kept up this blog thingy). I will keep writing regardless of what job I take. But I remember when I was in Mexico, I didn’t make any progress on my novel at all. I think I would too easily fall into the relaxing lull of Mexico and just end up drinking beer and feeling my toes in the sand. Not that there’s much wrong with that.
Sling beer in Dublin? Well, I did see this posted at one of the local pubs:
But I have a total of zero years experience. Plus that sounds like a recipe for a really unhealthy lifestyle overall. Other options: a taxi driver in London. Or a dive instructor in Mexico. Or a haggis maker in Edinburgh.
All excellent options. Well, maybe not the haggis one. Regardless, while looking at all these options, I also discovered that there are things that I absolutely love about the work I left. I love working with a team of people creating something. A healthy, motivated team pushing towards a common and challenging goal is pretty much unbeatable as far as work goes. And to get paid along the way? Bonus!
To put it another way: when I was working on Forza, there were massive challenges to simultaneously build a world-class game while changing all the production methods for the studio. I got to work with some of the finest people in the business solving these problems, and the end result was fantastic. It was exhausting and amazing and rewarding.
When I was working on Project Spark, again we had crazy challenges: build a game where an average person with no training can create anything they want: games, movies, playgrounds. In addition we had to build a team from scratch. Kind of like building a house and foundation at the same time. It was scary, hard, and exhilarating. Arguments and debates were frequent, the direction changed almost daily as we tried to find the “right” thing. Failure loomed around the corner every day. Here again I got to work with some of the finest humans I’ve had the pleasure to interact with, and that experience is irreplaceable.
Now as I consider what is next, I would love to have more of what I enjoyed in past work experiences, and less of the (for lack of a better word) bullshit. Corporate layers of bureaucracy. Inefficient and inflexible structures. Power struggles.
So what does that look like? Well, I’m going to take some time to investigate. Culture matters in a huge way for me now. A good team in a fun environment working on something that will make people and the world better is the ideal.
I began my investigations about two weeks ago. Just sent out a few tentative feelers to see what might be out there through people I know. I didn’t feel ready to really start the job search in earnest, still being in the throes of traveling, but I could see October peeking at me on the horizon, and know that these things take time.
I was also rather hesitant how I might be received in the hiring world now. A middle-aged dude who just dropped everything to go traveling for months on end? Really? You wanna hire this guy?
The reception was far warmer than I could have possibly expected. My last boss at Amazon contacted me immediately. A friend at Nike pulled me in for a quick chat about a potential awesome position there while I was in Portland for the wedding. A company in Cambridge wants to fly me out for interviews. And it continues.
It’s all rather sudden. And exciting.
I realize now I’m in the perfect position for job hunting. I can take a job anywhere in the world, so my hiring pool is vastly expanded. I am not in dire straights financially so I can take my time to find something that excites me. I can even take a temporary gig if I want, as I have no fear of unemployment now.
Bring it on, world. Let’s see what’s out there.
Inspiration to do amazing things with your life
In looking for inspiration about what I can and should do with my life, the “Remarkable Misfit’s Manifesto” is ridiculously inspiring. While I don’t feel the urge to follow him and set up a company in Africa, everything he writes shakes up my view of what I’m doing with my life.
Hopefully it can do the same for you.