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Ask HN: Why did you quit your last job?
79 points by boca 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 96 comments



Money, and the BS "oh we can't pay you more than this"... until I resigned and suddenly it was possible to pay me more. Too late then. Much, much too late.

When someone says "oooh, I can't find qualified people" I don't believe them. If you offer people 2x what they currently make to do a job that isn't bad then you'll get them. If you don't want to offer that then you are offering to underpay them, and that's why they won't come.

You don't have to hire underskilled people and train them[1]. You can just pay. Conversely, if you don't pay them, they'll leave. (well, some will stay to be exploited, sure)

</rant>

[1] E.g. I disagree with https://twitter.com/lizthegrey/status/1021960484738629632 and https://caylent.com/sre-vs-devops/?utm_source=social&utm_med...


Two reasons: 1) Better pay, tired of where I was living, wanted to move to more urban environment 2) Wanted to move closer to girlfriend of over 1.5 years

Then the girlfriend dumped me as I was moving. :-(

At least the job seems to be OK; I can't complain much about things like being overworked, the company doing poorly, bad morale, or anything like that. And luckily, the dating opportunities in my new location are far better than where I was, but it sucks moving to a new place with no friends and suddenly losing someone so close one by text message, without even the courtesy of a face-to-face meeting to talk about it. Between all the weight loss, lack of sleep, and inability to concentrate it's amazing I'm still employed.


It'll get better my dude :)


[deleted, this was a total overshare]


Thank you for sharing. It does help to know we aren't alone.

The bad part is, I would have been sorta-OK with breaking up if we could have talked about it, and maintained some contact. We were having problems before this point, so it wasn't a total surprise. But she suddenly turned ice-cold. I've never had a relationship end so badly. I'm still friends with my ex-wife, for instance, and am Facebook friends and sometimes exchange some messages with the girlfriend I had before that, but this gf had a "personal policy" of basically deleting me from her life if we broke up, and she did exactly that. And the thing that really pushed her over the edge was when I complained that she wasn't helping with my move (which she wasn't).

Edit: deleted the rest in response to parent's deletion; I don't want to violate his privacy.


Management, it's almost always management. It's quite horrifying to watch the rest of that companies software department either leave or be driven out by the single problematic person.


Because they couldn't guarantee they wouldn't call me on my wedding day, which is on Saturday. Hence I've spent the last two months with my wife to be sorting out house out and making it awesome for the wedding reception!


Good on you! Wouldn't guarantee they wouldn't call you on your wedding day? What a bunch of clowns. & More positively forward looking: congratulations


Thank you! It was an awesome day. We're still cleaning up the house 2 days later...


Wow! How did they attempt to justify this?


Other guy quit months earlier. They didn't bother asking me about renewal until a week before my contract finished. Would have loved the money but life is too short and I've been forced to spend time chilling out which doesn't come naturally to me. Actually a good place to work with great people but life is too short. Apologies for brevity, I'm on my mobile in the garden after finishing the decoration for our wedding reception at home!


Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials.

I would be interested to know how it turned out if you went back to them after your honeymoon to see if you could get a new contract then.


Apologies for the delay - I was getting married :D

No I wouldn't go back, certainly not rightaway. It was a contractor role anyway, plus to be fair it forced me to have some time off i've not had in a couple of years, I don't like taking days off, and with the UK being the hottest it's been for ages it's actually turned out quite well. I've worn shorts for the first time in my life :D

I will say the company was awesome to work for, with great people, but the organisation/organisation was... lacking. Most places i've contracted at they've asked me at worst a month before "so, are you renewing?"


My boss has been gradually overdosing his LSD and MDMA, becoming more and more frantic and chaotic. Once he called me on Saturday night, apparently under influence, and demanded a new feature to be done by tomorrow morning. I said no, adviced him to get some sleep and hang up on him. He sent me a message saying that "he knows people who can make my life very hard". I took a screenshot and emailed the message to the whole company (200+), along with my resignation letter. That day I decided I should stop working for other people. The company bankrupted shortly after, auditors discovered massive tax fraud and a bunch of unpaid credits from European banks my boss was hiding from.


Did you think about going to the police as well regarding his threatening message?


He is a son of a well-connected former KGB colonel, so no good would come out of this.


I got tired of executive doublespeak. The company made lots of promises during recruitment that never materialized. It has made me super aware of the importance of culture. I haven't found any full-time positions that fit me yet. In the meantime, I am taking a break from corporate life and freelancing.


They were starting to adopt a cutthroat culture where managers boast about firing people. I remember the point where I knew I was going to quit was when the VP called all the tech leads in a room and essentially told us, "Good riddance to these other folks, but good news! You are the ones we wanted to keep..."


My CEO was proud of his rapid firing skills, and the only people he kept around were the people who built his tech-debt ridden system in the first place, or put in 60h+ a week. For such a young company, the Github contributions were full of ex-people with a few hundred lines of code. Like, if you have to fire so many people you hire, then fire the people who are hiring everyone, or treat your employees better so they actually feel like doing good work for you.


Last time I quit because my girlfriend broke up with me and I was in need of change. So, I went back to school and got a PhD - broke record time getting it because I worked like crazy. Because of school stress, I was working out really intensely and got into best shape of my life. Now life is good, I got fat again...


> Now life is good, I got fat again...

Jesus I can relate. I'm back on the diet/gym train again but it was so much easier when I was running away from life stress.


I applied for a Rails Engineer job. Day 1, my team lead insisted on Grails. After 6 months, team leads stopped Product Development, and the next few months consisted of me being inside datacenters installing Hadoop clusters on baremetal. Funny thing is; I did that to myself, since I never complained and just took it in.

Almost 2 years in, never touched rails code, lots of ansible playbooks, dockerfiles, random ruby scripts, several company trips to Japan/US; it seems that I became the de-facto Big Data engineer on the company. Many would think it was something I liked. But I didn't. Executives, managers and engineers in the company relied on me to solve what was "sold" to current enterprise customers about "Big Data" and "Machine Learning". The pressure sets in. I couldn't in my nature pose myself as an "expert data scientist" and "big data guy" when I have 0 experience with ML, Python, Spark and Statistics.

I resigned. I thought the reason why I felt stressed because I was alone in this Big Data thing. Boy, I was so wrong. They counter-offered and gave me a high position + a 5-person team, 3 statisticians and 2 system administrators. I never should have took that counter-offer. This time, the pressure is higher since I'm officially responsible for the entire Product line. I needed to catch up to a hyped-up ecosystem of frustrated customers whose only chant was 'your company told me my Hadoop platform could do "Big Data + Machine Learning + AI" where is it?'.

After 4 months of trying; getting me and everyone on the team into Datacamp + Python training seminars, while writing an MVP for a ML-product I thought of, while building product roadmaps, being on meetings, handling internal politics and current customer support. I resigned.

I guess the real reason was; I didn't want this in the first place. Even if I tried to embrace the work, the climb was too steep with amount of runway I had. Customers are expecting ML-based products, now. I couldn't live up to the standards of a Big Data Lead when I have 0 experience on anything Big Data, no mentors teaching me about the proper way to write ML products, let alone run a team.


I've just left my job, last week

I left because the place was going downhill and morale was rock bottom. Weak management and funding shortfalls meant that non core departments were being starved of money. Staff were leaving or being made redundant and I was going to be the only one left in my department with little to do. I took the chance to apply elsewhere where they hopefully value the work I do and got in. I am taking a 20% pay cut to do so and I hope it works out. I might have been ok for another year but management turnover meant we have had 3 'staff reorganisations' in 4 years all of which seemed to be cost cutting measures and I can't see that it was going to go on much longer anyway. The latest set of management have come in and shown only slash and burn style; I think they could be aiming to cut back to core and then build from there. Perhaps it will work for them, but I was not optimistic about it.


Honestly, I think you should have stayed and keep working hard. With fewer competition and obvious competency, it was more like an opportunity than an unfortunate situation...


Sometimes when the ship is sinking, you need to jump off


You should read Kazuo Inamori, he was not even being paid on time and still worked hard... really inspiring dude.


Sounds like an idiot to me. How can someone that dumb be inspiring?


I understand what you say, but in truth the rewards available for hard work in this arena would not really have suited me. I do not want the responsibility of a higher position, especially since I see that many well qualified and motivated people are unable to keep up with the pressure. I like my life simple, so I have moved on. Actually, I am well pleased at my new position and although it is the virtually the same job, embedded organisational differences mean that the pressures and frustrations will not be the same.


They closed my offices and moved them from downtown to the far side of the suburbs.

I live near downtown, and specifically chose my job and house to be a nice bike commute. My nice 30 minutes by bike turned into 2 hours by bus and train. So I quit.


Bored. The people I really liked working with weren't there anymore. Development environment was getting more overbearing (emphasizing process just for the sake of it while ignoring its flaws). Finally just got sick of getting up every day and coming to work.


So what did you do, just quit and hang out? Or did you have a backup plan and backup savings?


Got a better job.


Management made demands that exceeded resources available and kept blocking my vacation to try to meet deadlines. I literally left with 100% of my vacation accumulated.


My team lead was the least competent person on the team. This was constantly frustrating. When it finally bugged me enough to look around, much better pay was available. So that pretty much did it.


I am a team lead and my team members are at least my level of competency (which means they're usually better than me). I listen carefully, trust the team and shield them from problems from above.


It sounds like you’re a good team lead.

My current manager, one of the best I’ve ever had, is much the same. Technically not superb. But at least pretty good. Also a great listener, and really keyed in to what the team is up to, struggling with, contributing, etc.

The TL I had the issue with very much behaved like an IC, almost never met with me, seemed to be dialing it in most of the time, and just generally was very hard to explain things to. An absent parent, more than a bad parent.


Sounds like that makes you a pretty good team lead, though. Competence isn't all technical -- you have to be good at what you do. There's no benefit in a team lead that sucks at leading a team but is a total luminary at $TECHNICAL_TOPIC.


Same exact situation. Bad team leads usually come with bad management, as these can't seem to notice how bad a climate they generate around them.

Key points to bad team leadership: bad or no communication at all with your team members, no clear vision/direction, lack of ability to delegate.


Currently dealing with that one myself. Wouldn't be bad if he'd just learn to delegate.

What's a polite way of telling someone "Lead, follow, or get out of the effing way?"


Not sure there is an effective way to tell your boss he sucks at his job.

Saying it during the exit interview would probably have the most impact.


Exact same reason as me. They were the personification of Dunning-Kruger. It's so damn disheartening to go to work everyday when you know what you are working on is absolutely doomed to fail, and you are powerless to stop it thanks to office politics.


You might look around a bit. Alternately, I’ve found that not caring about consequences can be surprisingly liberating. As in: if it’s really that hopeless, you may as well speak your mind and say what’s fucked up. What are they going to do, fire you?


I know the feeling; it's not a good one


Tomorrow will be the end of the requisite one month notice period for me in a job in the humanitarian world. I have no job lined up, as yet.

I just couldn't take it anymore. I can't count the number of times I walked into 2 of my female colleagues sobbing alone in the office. The office is small so it is common to occasionally be the only one in the office. Management knows about the cause of this toxic culture but I just can't stand it anymore. My mental health is more important than whatever they have been paying me.

Now, while I have been teaching myself programming for sometime, I believe I can find my way in a Ruby code base. I also know some Elixir and Python. I am based in East Africa just in case someone here would be kind enough to adopt a 40 year old degree-less man. Just for the experience, I wouldn't mind accepting a non-paying software role. Well, thankfully, I can afford to pay the bills for a few more months.


I thought our product was being used in unethical ways, so I jumped ship to a more neutral industry.


I quit all my previous jobs (maybe one exception) because of a very bad Manager. These managers are extremely hurtful for companies and I believe upper management does not get the same side of the story. Surprisingly, I always get along with senior managers over direct managers. If people want to improve the tech industry in general from an employer perspective, I'd start by cleaning that 1st layer of management pretty hard.


I ran out of money trying to build my startup for just under 3 years. It was sad but a better decision overall. Went back to an old VPs company which was recently acquired as a senior web engineer. 10 months later I took over the web engineering team as our first engineering manager.


Agile (scrum), i.e. micromanagement hell + low salaries and no increase policy.


Most people have a collection of reasons that build up to a tipping point of why they leave. I have left 5 jobs, and had 2 jobs leave me (laid off).

First in Highschool I had 2 jobs in the summer working about 60 hours a week, parents made me drop one. I kept the one where management was nice. Other one just seemed angry all the time.

Second was the other HS job when I started college. But the new management had become a jerk and so I left a month early.

Third was from burn out. Too many long hours that were not appreciated. I wanted to take 2 months off to get my head straight but they thought I would not quite. I did.

<insert layoff #1 - 20% pay cut - glad to have a job>

Forth was at a place that treated me well, but was a bit of a drive, and the pay was slowly going up, but insurance was going up quickly. The kicker was it looked like my future was ADA. So when an offer came, and it came with more money, much shorter drive and Ruby On Rails ... I jumped.

<insert layoff #2>

Fifth was a softer exit. I was working for a contracting firm. Well they were a subcontractor and tended to try and squeeze people. But I nedded to feed the family. When the contract was renewed, they did a 15% pay cut on people. Tough times don't you know. Well the company I was doing the work for offered me a decent job, slightly less money but much better benefits.


I quit for quality of life improvement (shorter commute, remote possibilities, fewer work hours).

Also to work on something that has more impact on people instead of only profiting big corps.


I was way overworked on a way overrun project and since I was one of the most senior ICs, being pushed into leadership due to literal lack of actual managers for a while due to turnover and family leave.

That wasn't great, but it was managable because everyone understood our circumstances. When I went on my own family leave as my daughter was born, and came back to new management, I shouldered a lot of blame for the project because I was the last one left (it was a series of bad technical decisions from before my time) and still overworked despite having a newborn at home.

After finally going live, even when I warned them it would be a bad idea, I was in charge of the horrible production website. I gritted my teeth and left when my daughter was 9 months old, with no job in sight because I just needed a break.

Best decision I ever made. They fired my problematic boss 3 days before I left (he was one of the new managers, not good at managing or doing his technical work) and it took months to get the production site working. No idea if the next phase went through or not.

I had a nice five month sabbatical with my family and educational projects while I interviewed. It ended up with four job offers, and I'm thrilled with the ones I chose.


I was in a very similar situation. Overworked, but got a bit of a break due to family leave. When I came back, I was met with a lot of aggression and blame that I had never experienced at that job before. I was still overworking but not at the same level pre-baby - my wife needed me and my priorities had changed. It soon became clear that I was being managed out of my position and I found another job. Several trusted peers agreed that I was being managed out, but didn't offer any insights into why.

I 100% believe they didn't want me there any more once I had a child. The new job is very family friendly (not overworking), pays more, and so far is very low stress. I'm sure the stress level will go up as I become more integrated in the company, but I couldn't be happier.


Internal politics.

I hate them, refuse to play along, and the moment I can no longer keep the drama at least a meter away from me I start talking to recruiters.


In a move that was later admitted to be a mistake, I was moved into an IC role from one where I managed several high performing teams. This came after a successful acquisition.

I was bored, not challenged, and completely disheartened to watch morale slowly evaporate. Teams were fractured and everyone went from moving fast with a common purpose to "meh" in a matter of months. New management was assigned, though they were 3000 miles away and showed a tremendous lack of experience in anything other than being a medium-sized cog in the big company machine. For example, the solution to being late on a release with no requires was to both rewrite it in a new language and build it for a completely different infrastructure, and with a 5 month deadline. Months later, people are still arguing about requirements.


Had six changes of management in 14 months time, and something like an 80% attrition rate during that time.


Just had my last day today as the CTO.

I quit b/c we got bought by a corporation about a year ago. The purpose of this purchase was to integrate our technology and our customers into the stack of that corporation. So basically we got dumped with requirements to add features only relevant to that corporation. That totally overwhelmed the capacity of the IT team which already was working at a limit. Some days it all felt like a big house of cards just waiting to collapse due to a little inattention on our side. I mean if an IT department is forced to push the envelope all your best practices are being thrown over board. That just took a toll on me. So to protect my health I decided to leave this company I very much enjoyed working for and help building up for three years.


I was assigned a new manager, and they curbed a lot of the unofficial perks I'd been enjoying, like being able to work from home some days.

When it came time to turn in self-evaluations, I turned in a quitting notice. I couldn't bring myself to work through that self-evaluation.


I was working for a medical instruments company. We were FDA regulated, of course, and had fallen afoul of them in an audit. We were having to remediate our system, and to increase the rigor of our procedures. The result was that my job became 90% paperwork. For a software engineer, that's a horrible existence. I put up with it for three years, and finally left.

Note well: I'm not saying the FDA was wrong. The steps they took were probably needed. I just didn't like working in the resulting environment.


My boss was a screamer/yeller/banger. (There's only one person in the world who's allowed to use that tone of voice on me, and I am married to that person.)


Too much travel. I was at ~300 days per year and it was too much.

The conditions were excellent (international first class, best hotels, fantastic restaurants, not much limits) and so was the pay.

But one day I realized that my baby was growing up without me and I quit on the spot (literally : I was in my way home from the office, turned around and resigned (very amicably)).

I moved to a job she I do not travel more at all.


It was a badly transitioned acquisition - I could write up a dozen problems, each of which may have been enough to quit. But the straw that broke it all was when, after giving us all zero bonuses and telling us that nobody gets a raise either, the former owner hit us with: "I got my F-U money, but you guys just need to put up with anything they throw at you."


Complacent attitude, poor communication, chaotic process.

To a much lesser extent, no matter how many times I asked for a new chair I got the same response - "I can ask. But there's nothing I can do about that". I would not have decided to find another job if they made this minimal gesture.

Really the chair thing! I sat in a 15yo hand-me-down desk chair that the leather was peeling off of. I brought in my $100 back support chair from home cause I started having back pain. They were like "huh, ok". I didn't ask for a $3000 herman miller with all the bells and whistles. I asked for some decent back support while spending 8hrs in a chair. If I were my boss I would have bought an amazon gift card for a few hundred bucks and said "pick whatever you like". I would have been forever indented to that guy and probably wouldn't have asked for anything else.

I still don't understand why people don't pick the low hanging fruit when they can.


Was not given any meaningful work and felt I was not growing as a developer.

Been at my current job for 1.5 years, and feel the same way. I'm looking around, but after being a "Software Engineer" for 4 years, employers look for a particular set of skills and experience I simply have not gained during my track record. Feels like a catch-22.


Same here man. What do you think the way out is?

I'm thinking that you study the big picture stuff by reading HackerNews, and get good at the "interview questions." Then you build something on the side with a full modern stack and devops practice. That part is tough.

Then I think you (we'd) have the confidence and the experiences to fall back on during an interview.

What kind of stuff have you done so far?


The way out is as you've said. To fill the gaps, possibly attempt contributing to an open-source project you feel passionate about, just to demonstrate you can collaborate in a team and collectively solve problems.

I've done front-end & back-end on web applications, without ever specializing in either. These days, I mostly write single-page applications with a vdom JS library.


I feel like I'm in the same boat. I'm not learning more valuable skills at my current place but it's hard to find something above junior with my skillset even though I have 4 years experience.


What kind of stuff are they having you do? I'm in the same boat at 3 years.


I got an offer to do the same work for more money elsewhere. But if I'm being honest, the environment at my last job was pretty hectic and I went out looking for a new job in the first place. I describe my last job to people as being like working on a pirate ship.


I thought I wanted to work less, with less stress and fewer hours. After 3 years I found that that is not good for my self wort, health & happiness. Soon I will change back to a more demanding job and compensate my family with more money and less me.


They closed our small, remote office of 20 people. Work going overseas to the (now) main development office in eastern Europe, where salaries are 1/3 of ours (not even SV wages).

Ended up getting paid more at a new company, so it worked out.


The first time it was because I wanted to take six or seven months off and then come back afterwards but not lose my health insurance during the time away. They said that they couldn't do it, so I left anyway but then didn't go back after.

The second time it was because my partner needed to be outside of the country for an extended period and I wanted to stay with her. That time I asked if I could work remotely. They said yes as a contract manager but not as an engineer, so I left because my personal life is always more important to me than someone's business.

Both exits were on good terms.


Bad experience at a nonprofit. For all the "you're doing amazing work!" talk and praise that was heaped on us, there was a lot of fluff and cruft behind the scenes. Almost everything was geared towards marketing how we were changing the sector, when almost none of the projects mattered or would ever be used. And the maniacal focus on getting more money donated when summer time came around.

Joined because I believed in the mission and thought writing code could really help in the initial vision. Then learned the dirty secret that most of it was marketing how great we were.


Also leaving another "we are doing amazing work!" job because they can't make the office be an amazing place for the staff. A non-profit in the humanitarian space. Ironical.


Because it reduced me to little more than an annoying telemarketer, and even though I had a hunch that this would be the sad truth of the role before I started, I had to see for myself.

I decided to try it because money. Because even though my previous job was perfectly fine, I remain emotionally detached from all employers and coworkers, reducing the situation to a paycheck. One paycheck versus another, so I quit two jobs.

One perfectly reasonable job, in exchange for what I suspected might be a demotion to a telemarketer, and when proven right, I quit the second job, despite the better pay.

Wow. Gee. Oh well.


The company didn't want to invest in my department but kept setting higher expectations. It caused the team to be overworked and understaffed. You couldn't focus on a project because you were always needed somewhere else. The people in my department were great but their hands were tied. The pay wasn't great and there were some other less important issues, too. I've seen a number of people leave since me, but turnover was always moderate.


I quit it slowly to work on my current startup. Went down to two days a week then fully quit last year. They're awesome and I've still got a desk in their office!


Currently on my fourth weekday of freedom from the daily grind! I just wanted some quality time to pursue my own projects and goals, and I have more than enough runway to spend a few months figuring out what's next. I actually think I'd like to get into working part-time/consulting to pay the bills and spending the rest of my time bootstrapping other projects. Would love to hear if anyone has any experience or thoughts about doing this!


I landed a remote job, and I've been traveling ever since


My last job was a freelancer, which was fantastic. But then I met three ambitious guys and we built a company with now over 100 employees in just two years.


The last job I had was seasonal, and the season ended. I doubt this is what you were looking for, though. It's OK, as it was an accomplishment in itself - the first job in a country after learning enough language to work somewhere.

The one before that, though, I quit because I was getting married and was moving overseas. I gave a few months notice and trained my replacement. Best life change I've made.


More money, better title, double the vacation, cheaper health care, and better retirement contributions were available elsewhere.


Management. At the C-level were people who got lucky once and were largely inexperienced, unwilling to take input from subordinates, and convinced they knew better than their customers. They were wrong. Within a year of my departure they were out of customers and employees, and ended up sold off for pennies.

Edit: spelling


Got an offer to become a cofounder in a new consulting company (not a startup). It worked out pretty well :)


I was a contractor/consultant and our client decided to buy out my contract and hire me full time.


The product wasn't a money maker for a mega corp. They couldn't justify investing to make the product better and pay well. It was a fun team, but it got really boring since we could only ship once every six months with the OS. I like shipping daily!


tl;dr: Management didn't want remote employees. I didn't want to keep paying for the privilege of living in the Bay Area.

I'm an app developer and I realized that I really want to work remotely.

Being in an office all day was extremely demoralizing for me. I would frequently "work from home" to be able to spend a full day focused and productive. That wasn't a great cycle though, because I'd have crunch days at home a couple times a week to get my work done, then hang out in the office and do very little for the rest of the week to get my paycheck. Management was mostly fine with this, but it was taxing on me because it felt like a stupid way to live.

I talked to my managers and let them know that I wanted to work entirely remotely. They weren't supportive of that, but I still don't understand why, other than a general not believing in remote work. I found a remote gig the following week and things have been great ever since.

Once I saw the remote job was working out, I moved across the country to a much cheaper area (well, what isn't, compared to SF). Now I don't pay state income tax, I pay 1/3rd the cost of living for 3x the space, and I'm happy to do my work for longer each day because I don't have a commute. I'm producing better quality software, with less effort, and I'm happier.

If this job eventually ends, I don't think it'll be difficult to find a new thing to do. But with greatly reduced expenses and no fear of needing a paycheck for SF rent, I'm also free to take risks like starting a company or doing consulting for multiple clients.


Lost interest in the type of work I was doing and left in order to build out something new with a much smaller team on a product that I believe in.


I was doing a full-time PhD and working. One day my advisor asked, `Are you working for me or Lockheed?'

I chose the PhD.


Just curious -- what was your PhD in? I know some experimental researchers who get 4 hours of sleep only doing their PhDs, I can't even imagine being able to do both at once.


Computer science. I worked for Lockheed for fifteen years---long enough to see some programming projects succeed and others fail. I wondered why the difference. I had access to all the project records, and Lockheed was cool with it, so I took copies of all the data and found an advisor willing to let me work on it.

The problem was deep and it ended up taking a lot longer than I expected to solve it, but that's the way of research. I did eventually discover some new things in the data, and got the PhD, and my thesis formed the basis of my new company.

You're right; I didn't get enough sleep. I got into the habit of working 13 to 15 hours a day. But I wasn't making progress on my thesis fast enough for the university's requirements, so I had to choose. I was still working 13--15 hours a day, seven days a week, but exclusively on my thesis. I finished in eight years. Without Lockheed, I would have been done in four.

Ironically, my day job for Lockheed was being the PI (Principal Investigator) for an Air Force research project that was essentially a whole other PhD thesis. [We took the Google Web 1T 5-Gram Corpus and inverted it; essentially we were doing adversarial ML (generators and discriminators) before that term had been invented.] That's why it took me eight years---because I was doing the work of two different full-time PhDs at the same time.

(Only one got me a neat robe to wear at the end, though.)


I quit to start this company :)


Not hard enough. You can't become better if you aren't challenged.


I wasn't being challenged enough.


A really bad project manager


Low pay


Coming from someone who just quit his job (2 days ago): I was tired of false promises by my new employer. I already worked for several years at my current job, ready to quit when a new investor and CEO came in. Based on the promises I stayed. There would be heavy investments made in our Dev team, but in the end my team only shrunk because of the lack of improvements to IT and the missing feeling for IT by the CEO (of an only online selling company). Due to the shrinkage our team was also only doing maintenance instead of creating real new products.

In the last couple of months the company was also bought by a bigger international player. Good for the company, but bad for the IT as this bigger player already has loads of dev teams in several other countries.

This was the final push I needed to quit. Fed up with the false promises and the bad outlook for my team I finally found a much better job. A decision I should have taken earlier.




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