Why I quit my job at Google to start a new adventure
If you think you have free will and choice at your job, try walking in tomorrow with a sledgehammer and smashing the computer monitor in your cubicle, then you’ll really know if you’re a free willed employee or a glorified corporate slave. Of course, this is a huge exaggeration, as most people do not even own a sledgehammer, nor do they have a desire to decimate company hardware—or do they?
The rumors are true, after working at Google for over 20 months, I have decided to leave the company to start a new adventure. My last day was Friday, November 9th, 2012. Oddly enough, it was not because I felt trapped in the traditional sense that might be found with a frustrated employee, but quite the opposite. I’m fairly confident that Google would have applauded the smashing of a computer monitor with a sledgehammer as an amazing release of creative energy—a way to get the juices flowing in an attempt to create something truly amazing and inspiring that the online community could enjoy. The reason I left Google has to do with wanting to live on the bleeding edge of creative thought, which is a very personal place to live, and something that the corporate world—even Google—is not conducive to.
Google was a very secure place to work. Everything that you’ve heard about how employees are treated is true—free food, amazing benefits, generous salaries, and fabulous perks that could go on and on. This is by design. When you treat employees well, they are much more likely to work hard for you. It’s not difficult to come in early, or work a few extra hours each day when there is an onsite breakfast, lunch, and dinner, onsite fitness classes, and free massages. This is the Google trap, though. You love your job so much that other side projects fall by the wayside, because you want to make sure you are doing awesome work in your “job,” thus your “hobbies” sit on the back burner. I’m making broad statements, here, so I’ll say that this was my experience. I wanted to excel in my position at Google, so I let my creative projects—my true passions—sit idly to the side.
Ten years ago, I left corporate America for the first time. Never again, I told myself—unless it’s Google. I spent eight years as a freelancer and self-employed “solopreneur” learning what I thought I would need to succeed in the business world, which just happens to be what it takes to be a great Google employee, and with a little law of attraction twist I was offered a position at Google. Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in!
As I mentioned in my farewell email, I can honestly say that working for Google has been one of the most rewarding opportunities of my career. It has truly been an honor building something of value for the online community as a Googler. But alas, I have a creative tick that keeps gnawing at me, “Write a book! Produce a movie! Compose an album! Sail across the Mediterranean wearing nothing more than your birthday suit!” Yes, I have voices in my head, and as much as I have grown from my time at Google, my intuition tells me that a new adventure awaits. And so I am listening.
I left Google to follow my creative intuition, but that does not necessarily mean that I’m going to go off and start writing bad poetry (I’ve been doing that for years!). It means that I’m looking forward to exploring what real freedom actually looks like. I’m learning to trust myself more, and without a job, or the need for linear time any longer, I can truly follow whatever intuitive urge I might have. If I want to start a business, I will. If I want to write a book, I will. If I want to learn everything there is to know about the future of physics, then I’ll buy a bunch of books and do just that.
For me, having a job felt like a very limiting, stuck energy. Doing the same thing every single day—even if they were amazing things—just didn’t seem right to me. Working a job seemed like a very linear thing to do—you work hard all your life, and then if you’re lucky, you retire when you’re 55-65 years old, which is when your income starts declining because it was always dependent on your working. As an infinite being, something I talk a lot about and very much believe, then I should be looking for opportunities that offer quantum rewards, exponential dividends. Leaving my job was not about not being happy in the work I was doing—I loved it for the most part. Leaving my job was about my desire to have money, systems, and assets work for me.
I want to give ideas legs and then have the ideas take on a life of their own and work hard for me, not the other way around. I’m experiencing a quantum shift in thinking, in that money is no longer something I want to shove into a savings account or safety deposit box and hoard, but rather, I want to give money, ideas, and energy the ability to grow and take on a life of their own. This, for me, is the reason to quit your job. If you believe yourself to be the infinite creator of your reality, which you are whether you acknowledge it or not, then it is this quantum shift in thinking—how can money work for me, rather than how can I work for money—that will allow the opportunity for exponential growth. Worry is one of the biggest reasons for lack of abundance financially, physically, and spiritually. Money is a great source of worry for many. Eliminate the worry, and abundance must follow.
Jobs are old energy. That is changing. Small businesses and entrepreneurs will and are changing the paradigm of what our commerce systems look like. There is a reason for this. We are moving into an age where we will learn to give our ideas legs, infuse them with energy, and have them work for us. Our only “job” will be to daydream new possibilities and set them into motion. I didn’t leave Google because I was unhappy, I left Google because I wanted to give my ideas more room to run. As a mentor of mine once said, “I wanted to take the training wheels off and kick it into high gear.”
I had a great job that I left because I needed a bigger sandbox to play in. How big is the sandbox you’re playing in right now? Have you outgrown it? Are you working because you love the daily work, or are you working because you think you need the paycheck at the end of the week? Whether you’re working a job that you love, a job that you hate, or have taken the leap of entrepreneurial faith waiting for the wind to catch under your wings, here are a few of the main themes I learned while working at Google that I highlighted in my farewell letter, which I’ll be taking with me into my new adventure:
Fail early, Fail often
It was a great pleasure failing alongside the brightest minds in the world at Google, as each failure lead to an even greater understanding and lesson learned. The speed of innovation is the difference between good and great, and working at Google has taught me to aim for the impossible and never settle for less. Learn from your mistakes and they will become your greatest allies.
There can be more than one “right” answer
There’s rarely ever only one good answer. Spend time imagining all of the potentials and possibilities, don’t just settle on the first thing that comes to mind, or worse, the first thing that comes to someone else’s mind. Innovation happens while you’re daydreaming, not amidst the daily grind of busy work.
Fear is never an effective motivator
Early on in my career at Google, I learned that a great team is a team that is fearless. When faced with fear—whether it be fear of a deadline, fear of a new “scary boss, investor, client, etc,” or fear of not reaching perfection—I have come to discover that fear is only a projection of yourself.
If you fear something, take a good hard look and ask yourself why. Often the fear of a deadline is because you weren’t prepared in the first place—ask for assistance or an extension and understand how you can be more prepared next time. The fear of a “scary boss, investor, client, etc,” is often the fear of the unknown—set time to understand who this person is and what they expect from you. The fear of reaching perfection is pointless because greatness is found in the quest for perfection, not in the achieving of it. Perfection, like so many things, is an illusion.
And of course, if your only motivating factor is the fear of not getting a paycheck next week, then you’re working for the wrong reasons. Making money is easy, once you shift your thinking. Find something you love more than money and dive wholeheartedly into it.
Working for Google has been a dream come true. The simple idea that a kid from Austin without a college degree was able to help Google build so many of the amazing projects that I had the pleasure of working on just goes to show that hard work and strong passion will get you anywhere. Imagine the possibilities. There is no work to do other than imagination. That is my new adventure.