Last Day, First Job
I started my work career by doing an Intern at IBM. I definitely learned a lot on that role but that wasn’t really my first job. It was always going to be a short role with a fixed end date, so it always felt incomplete, like I didn’t belong. The first company where I joined for a full time role was Cisco but again that wasn’t really a job. I didn’t do a lot there, neither in terms of work nor in terms of achievement. For me looking back at Cisco brings fond memories of hanging out in a cafeteria, making some good friends and (of course) getting paid. I never talk of Cisco as my first job since I didn’t really work there. I left Cisco after 6-7 months so I didn’t really feel any emotion leaving or had strong bonds with my team etc.
I joined Amazon back in March 2011. How that happened is documented on this blog I wrote in Feb 2011. Both random luck and my skill played equal parts for that to happen. I would probably put it more to chance I guess at that stage. In fact every step I cleared while interviewing at Amazon, surprised me more than last one. The math for me was simple at that time: I wasn’t the highest GPA student during graduation or in the top 20 out of the 50 students in computer science. Amazon was one of the highest paying companies. So I didn’t see how I could get in or belong.
But I did get in. I joined a team called Pricing. When I joined the team I did not really expect to be there for so long. 6 years was a lifetime for me and all I did think of was doing an MBA. Yet, over the last 6 years I continued to stay on with the same team and got an opportunity to work on almost every imaginable piece of pricing, in almost every imaginable role within Pricing. I have been an engineer, a data analyst at times, a TPM at other times and also a manager. But every good story comes to an end. So that another story may begin.
I wrote another post a few months back (link) that documented my decision to take some time off from Pricing to just get in touch with myself and focus on the smaller things in life that I love. That is exactly what I did in the last 4 months I have been away from work. I got a chance to read a lot and some of those books turned out to be life changing in the new perspectives I have gained. Try out Sapiens for thought provoking human history and I am bob for a very different, amazingly written SciFi.
I also spent some time traveling, meditating, getting a little bit of fitness. We also got some family time in, probably the longest family time in years when my parents, my sister, me and Gayatri were all together. Spending that long with your family brings some very interesting perspectives which I will probably need to write in a separate post.
And finally I made a decision. Or more accurately, we made a decision (me and Gayatri). We decided it’s time to leave the familiar, to leave Seattle and Amazon and start a new adventure. It wasn’t easy coming to that decision. Every time I would start pondering over it, my mind would just freeze and start showing me familiar images of Seattle and Amazon and from there link it to destruction scenes from hollywood flicks (to show me the future without Amazon). There was also an argument of rationality in continuing to leverage your strengths and the tricks you learn to continue on same path.
But I think it was the idea of just shaking myself, shocking myself. Of doing something different that I accepted a job offer in Tokyo. Why Tokyo? Well I have to ponder on how to explain that and perhaps write another blog to answer that one.
And so just like that I woke up one morning, went to office and put in my resignation. In some ways it was made easier when the 2 people I have worked with all my 6 years at Pricing also decided to move on and so it didn’t seem very crazy anymore to leave. I might be stupid but I trust those 2 folks quite a bit and (I hope) they are not stupid. One of them was my manager, who hired me into the team 6 years ago and has been my manager on and off. Without them, Pricing would not feel the same and so that almost sealed the decision.
And with that I am officially no longer a part of Amazon family, of pricing family. This was an emotional breakup but one that was necessary. In some ways I can think of it like a kid leaving home for the first time, to go explore the world outside.
And now I will just have to wait to see how this decision turns out to be.
Pro-Tip: If you are on L1 visa and want to quit, make sure your last working day at your company is also the day you leave the country. As per the visa guidelines, you are in the country illegally the next day after your last working day.