Hi friends! Or really, hi super close (anonymous) friend of mine, ❤️

It'd been a few weeks since we last properly caught up, so when we FaceTimed yesterday and I asked you how you were, I was surprised you started crying. I had no idea you were undergoing so much turmoil about your job, career, and life in general. I get it though, I really do.

Being in your 30s and suddenly feeling like you don't know who you are or wtf you're doing is terrifying. It feels like so much of your life is already behind you and it's deflating to think that all of the hard work you've put into your current career is leading you toward a dead end. First off, we're still young and have far more years ahead of us! And secondly, while you might be feeling overwhelmed, scared, and hopeless right now, I'm actually... really happy for you. Because this all means that you're on the cusp of something really big and exciting!

Some thoughts I wanted to share with you:

Don't fall prey to the sunk cost fallacy. People tend to follow through on an endeavor if they've already invested time, effort, and/or money into it, regardless of whether the current costs outweigh the benefits. Just because you've spent the last X number of years working toward something doesn't mean you can't walk away from it. People make this mistake with careers, marriages, and even day-to-day things like forcing yourself to finish a book you purchased and started even though it's complete trash and bringing you zero joy. Don't do that. Don't be shackled by the decisions of your past!

Find stories and examples of people who've done it before. Once you start looking for them, you'll start noticing how common it actually is for people to make big career changes. Kim Malek was in marketing for 10+ years (and had never made ice cream) before going on to found the popular and delicious Salt & Straw. 🍦 Reshma Saujani was a lawyer, then worked in finance, and then was the first Indian-American woman to run for Congress (!) before founding Girls Who Code. 👏 Ken Jeong was a literal full-time practicing physician working 90-hour weeks and doing standup sets every few months before he decided to shift entirely into acting and comedy. [*🎤 drop*] (Speaking of comedians, I gushed about other inspiring career pivots in 2019 when Kumail Nanjiani got ripped in his 40s. Good times...)

But just so you know, tons of non-CEOs and non-celebrities pivot careers, too. When the pandemic first started, there was a lot of external momentum almost forcing people to quit and start anew. And over the last two+ years, I can't tell you how many folks have reinvented themselves, sometimes out of necessity. Layoffs, working from home with no childcare, lockdowns –– all of these things pushed people to adapt, and they did! And you can 1000% do it, too. 

Closing doors is just as valuable as opening them. I remember when I was dropping out of grad school and my distraught parents kept referencing some Chinese proverb about riding an ox to find a horse, but not ever getting off to walk. They were basically pleading with me to not drop out without lining up something else first. Obviously, I didn't listen and I'm glad I didn't. Personally, I think you need to quit the thing that's draining you in order to have enough breathing room to even figure out what you might want to do next! It's hard to brainstorm with an open and creative mind when you're miserably going through the motions of your current job. Don't be afraid to close doors before opening new ones. (And don't be afraid to try lots of new things with the sole purpose of ruling them out later on either!)

I have so much more to say, but I'll save it for when we next FaceTime. And maybe, just maybe, this will help someone else who's going through an existential identity crisis, too. It's scary to take a big leap, but anyone can do it! And if you ask me, it is such a blessing to be able to experience that kind of fear, thrill, and transformation at least once in your lifetime. 🦋

Universe (profile) 📍 Remote (US)
Provides relocation support. Can transfer existing visas.
Universe allows anyone with a phone to create a website or open an online store in seconds, no code required. They take a design-driven approach to everything they build, including some of their latest features like custom discount codes. As a distributed team, they offer free museum memberships and stay connected with ‘Q&Chaos’ during all-hands where anything and everything is on the table.

Gordian (profile) 📍 Bellevue, WA or Remote (North and South America)
Does not provide relocation support. Sponsors work authorizations on a case-by-case basis.
Gordian builds software to make air travel easier. They believe in extreme ownership, adjust milestones every 3 days (because two-week sprints are too long), and follow a 7+1 model where they work remotely for 7 weeks, then gather in-person for one. They saw 350% revenue growth in the first half of 2022 and raised a $25M Series A this month, which will help them innovate on selling flight add-ons. ✈️

Instacart (profile) 📍 Remote (US, Ontario, or British Columbia)
Provides relocation support. Sponsors work authorizations.
Instacart makes grocery delivery convenient, affordable, and accessible. Not only have they expanded to more stores in the U.S. and Canada during the pandemic, but in a year, their machine learning platform tripled ML applications and their data science team has more than doubled. 😮 They love generalists, working cross-functionally, and match candidates with teams where they’ll have the most impact.

LaunchDarkly (profile) 📍 Oakland, CA or Remote (US)
Does not provide relocation support. Sponsors work authorizations.
LaunchDarkly is a feature management platform that serves trillions of feature flags daily. They know firsthand how important it is to invest in a high-quality code base, which is why they live by the motto ‘Always Be Flagging.’ In fact, a recent external survey they conducted shows a high-quality code base allows engineers to take risks and improves employer retention – both of which are true internally for them, too.

WorkOS (profile) 📍 Remote (Americas and European time zones)
Does not provide relocation support. Does not sponsor work authorizations.
WorkOS brings enterprise readiness to SaaS apps. Traditionally, it can take months to build features like SSO, but WorkOS is helping devs do so in just a few hours. While they do have specialists on the team, engineers are encouraged to push the boundaries between front- and back-end. Plus, all decisions are made in the open with an emphasis on written documentation, so that everyone can contribute.

ReadMe (profile) 📍 San Francisco, New York City, or Remote (US)
Provides relocation support. Does not sponsor work authorizations.
ReadMe provides tools for companies to easily create and manage beautiful documentation. It’s always a delight working with the ReadMe team (and obvious how passionate they are about what they’re building). But the cherry on top is how some of their engineers share their experiences in their profile. The second cherry 🍒 is how they started their Values podcast! (Interview with Shinae about how here.)

If Julia Child can work in advertising, then as a typist during World War II, only to become an iconic TV personality and best-selling cookbook author at age 50, you can totes quit your job and try something new for a year. Sometimes the No Plan plan is the best one.

To living many lifetimes!
Lynne (@lynnetye and @keyvaluesio)
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