magic starSummarize by Aili

With Nothing to Do

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the author's experience working at a startup that was facing an uncertain future, either being acquired or going bankrupt. During this period, the author found themselves with "nothing to do" as the fate of the company was out of their hands. This led the author to reflect on their need for their work to feel meaningful and impactful, and how this shapes their career preferences.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] With Nothing to Do

1. What was the author's experience working at the startup during the uncertain period?

  • The author was working at a small startup that was facing either acquisition or bankruptcy, with the odds constantly shifting between the two.
  • As the company ran out of funding and the acquisition/bankruptcy decision was out of their hands, the author and the other engineers found themselves with "nothing to do" - there were no new features to build or optimizations to make that would affect the outcome.
  • The author hated this feeling of their work not mattering, of wasting time and money, and constantly questioning "what now?"

2. What did the author learn about themselves during this experience?

  • The author learned that they need their work to feel meaningful and impactful - they want to feel like their efforts and contributions matter.
  • They realized they could never work in a research lab or on greenfield projects where the work might get discarded, as they wouldn't be able to motivate themselves.
  • The author prefers working at companies where the technology and engineering efforts directly contribute to the success or failure of the business.

3. How did this experience shape the author's career preferences going forward?

  • The author became hyper-sensitive to whether their work will feel meaningful and impactful.
  • This influenced the author's preferences for the types of companies and projects they want to work on, favoring those where their engineering efforts directly matter.
  • The author also found more satisfaction in self-publishing a book, where they could see the direct impact of their efforts.

[02] Comparison to the Author's Recent Experience

1. How did the author's recent experience at a new job compare to the startup situation?

  • The author's new job at a different company was described as "almost as bad as it gets" - the work culture was very toxic, with excessive hours and micromanagement.
  • Even after enforcing boundaries and limiting their work to 40 hours per week, the author still felt unsatisfied, realizing that the problem went beyond just the unhealthy work environment.

2. What realization did the author have about their career preferences?

  • The author realized that even in a healthier work environment, they would still be quite miserable if they weren't pursuing work they were truly passionate about.
  • The author is now more interested in working on personal projects, like building a CLI game, that align with their interests in software tools and local applications, rather than generic frontend/backend roles.
  • The author is moving away from startups with "herculean expectations" and is more interested in sustainable growth companies that align with their values.
Shared by Daniel Chen ยท
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