After a little bit over 5 years, the time has come for me to leave Yahoo!. Making this decision was very difficult, and I am quite sad to leave, but for a number of reasons this step has become inevitable.
The process of leaving your current employer is a lot like breaking up with your long-term girlfriend, it turns out. At first, you try to ignore the various things that are changing the relationship. Then you go through a phase of fatigue and resignation, but since staying in the relationship is so much easier, more comfortable, you do just that and ignore all the things that bugged you. Next, you think you made up your mind, but get nostalgic for the "good old days" and decide to give it another shot, to make things work. Finally, you realize that it's over and you eventually end the relationship. Even though you're the one leaving, you are sad, too.
But you know it's time to move on. "It's not you, it's me." No, it's not even that -- is it ever? -- it's just that the two of you are no longer who you were when you got together, and you no longer are right for each other.
Throughout the last year, I've gone through pretty much this whole process. Yahoo! has been wonderful to me, and leaving this company means a lot of rather significant changes in my lifestyle: I've been working from home for the last 3.5 years, and any new job will require me to adapt to what other people consider a "normal" work day (even if I may eventually end up working significant hours from home again). Yahoo! has an incredible scale, and unless I choose one of but a handful of other obvious companies, wherever I go will be an order of magnitude smaller. Yahoo! -- in spite of whatever is written -- is still a market leader, a known and driving force, a big player, a place that commands recognition, which may make places that fall into another category seem less exciting, perhaps even a "step down".
In other words, yes, change is scary. It changes things, go figure. It'd be really easy to just stick around and keep doing what I'm doing and continue the relationship side by side. But eventually I figured out that I'm not getting out of the relationship what I used to (nor was I able to put in the same energy I used to) -- ultimately, I simply wasn't happy in this relationship anymore.
(It seems to me in bad taste -- or at least somewhat uncomfortable -- to make public the reasons in more detail before I actually have left; I do not wish to create conflict or confrontation during the last couple of days, so I will wait until after my last day before I share them here.)
As I said, I'm sad to be leaving, but found that the last few weeks have at least given me some interesting insights into Yahoo!, the tech industry here in New York, the interview process and a few things about myself. I will share some of them -- including where I'm going -- here in the coming days.
1 I know, I'm probably the umpteenth person to have this epiphany. But clearly this is different, because this is about me.
2 It somehow seems superstitiously common not to announce where one is going to before actually having started there. I don't know why, but just like listing the more detailed reasons of why you're leaving it feels odd to make that public now.
December 14, 2011