When people ask me about my work history I have a lot of stories I could tell. I could talk about the job where I made some of the best friends I still have. Where I met some of the most unfriendly people in New York who were mean and bad to me. The job where I learned what advertising was, how to get ahead, how not to get ahead, and how systemic racism is in the industry.
I could talk about the job where I saw what good and bad management looked like, learned how to work within product teams, and became a feminist after experiencing significant sexism. I could talk about the job where I lived the closest to a sorority lifestyle I'll ever get, and experienced one of the many cocktails of how a startup can fail.
I could talk about the job where I just wasn't set up to succeed. Where other people's insecurities kept me from doing the things I love and am good at. I could talk about the job where despite how much I spoke out against sexist and racist behaviors they still informed hiring and daily life. The job where I was hired for my extraordinary product skills and yet astounded people when I simply held an efficient meeting.
Instead I laugh off the question of why I left all of that behind.
"I don't make a great employee :)"
My grandfather, an ex-marine, always says he never would have made it in the private sector – he'd get fired too much. After being let go twice and quitting a few jobs just because, I can very much relate.
It's true. I don't make a good employee. I can see what's wrong and I will always try to fix it. In the countless interviews I've done at startups and companies across New York over the past few years I became very good at pointing out what exact details of a situation would lead to my demise. Whether it was how someone treated me in an interview, the company org structure or compensation package. I have plenty of stories about all of those.
But I took some sort of pride in wanting to make it work. Someone once told me they were amazed that despite my ability to critically assess these situations I somehow continued to want to get a job somewhere. Maybe it was just that I really enjoy working on a product, with a team. Whatever it was, I'm also not a believer in starting a company for the sake of it. I believe in solving problems.
It just so happened that in my last, defeated, batch of free time I began to solve a problem. And generated a fantastic opportunity. In the most natural progression of events that could probably have happened, I began starting a company and roped in so many great people to help along the way. We're in the earliest of stages, working on our very first beta. And having raised some angel funding, I am going to focus on making it as wildly successful as it can possibly be.
Today is my last day working for someone else. Hopefully for a very long time.