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From The Other Side

Posted on December 29th, 2014

Well, I did it.

A mere few days after my last post, I started on an exploration for new job opportunities. In that post, I didn’t shy away with the stress I felt working at a high-risk, sales-driven company, and I felt that I could only reasonably sustain that for so long. The same mentor about whom I wrote pointed me in the direction of a very cool tech company and I felt so drawn to it that I followed up immediately.

At the time, Bloomberg Sports was going through a transaction, which culminated in the purchase of the company. If there was ever a responsible time to leave a senior leadership position, doing so with some acquisition activity sure was it. I’m glad that I stuck around for that process; I learned a lot, and it quieted my concerns about leaving the engineering staff in a critical, vulnerable position. By waiting around until the deal closed, I felt more assured that, if they wanted to stick around, the team had a foundation on which to stand.

During the acquisition’s due diligence process, however, I was conducting some due diligence of my own; I was going through the oft-frustrating interviewing experience. I was being very intentional with where I wanted to work, so I had a (very) short list of companies whom I would engage. (I do not take for granted how fortunate I am to be in the tech industry, where there is a catastrophic lack of supply. With such high demand, I had the luxury of being a little pickier, and I know not everyone is so fortunate.) In a very short amount of time, I knew where I wanted to go.

Palantir is a mission-focused company bent on solving hard problems for some of the world’s most important organizations. (Excuse me while I wipe the Kool-aid from my lips.) But, seriously, we are. We want to protect consumers from fraud, to help law enforcement crack down on crime, and to help respond to natural disasters. And so much more. Engineering is core to how business is done. Everything about this company resonates with me. I wanted in and, as it turned out, Palantir wanted me in, too.

Some can argue that this was not a risky move at all; I was looking for a new job while still employed and I tendered my resignation after all of the necessary paperwork was done. From that perspective, I’d agree. But switching to a new job was a pretty scary thing for me, despite the full amount of support that I received from Palantir. Here’s why:

  • I had an established network. I knew a lot of people (and who to call when I needed something), and people knew who I was.
  • I had known expectations. I knew what people expected of me and what I needed to do to do a great job. My role was pretty well defined and I knew how all of the staff fit in the picture.
  • I had subject matter expertise. I knew the system, and how things worked. I could solve problems and fight fires.

Moving to a new job changed all of those things; I was starting over and I moved from a place of familiarity to a place full of unknowns. Of course, most people who make that sort of change goes through the same thing, but this was the first time I ever quit a job, so it was all brand new to me. In time, however, I certainly expect that all of the things that I “lost” to be found at Palantir.

While this was a very big move, I am not defined by my job. As I look back on what has transpired over the past year, there are other great things to briefly note (owing mostly to the length of this post already):

  • I joined the Forefront Leadership Team. This is a group of volunteers who are immersed in the community, charged with providing support and guidance for the church.
  • I am connecting with Generation Harvest, a fantastic organization that solves two problems at once in New York: preventing food waste and hunger. I am hoping to get more involved with this group next year since food and service are near and dear to my heart.
  • I traveled a lot! With work, I had the privilege of traveling to Japan (twice!), and I took a fairly epic cycling trip to Italy and France with friends from university.

So, clearly, 2014 has been a pretty big year for me. I’m so grateful for my family and friends, all of whom have been so supportive and encouraging in my life. As the last days of the year wind down, I find myself thinking of how, next year, I can do a better job providing support and encouragement to all of those around me; I’ve spent a good chunk of time/energy on me this year, setting myself up to focus elsewhere next year. I hope we all have fantastic 2015s together!

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