Why I quit a $500K job at Amazon to work for myself
I quit my 8-year Amazon job last week. I wasn't motivated to do another year despite promotions, pay, recognition, and praise.
In AWS, I built developer tools. I could have worked in that field forever.
I became an Amazon developer. Within 3.5 years, I was promoted twice to senior engineer and would have been promoted to principal engineer if I stayed. The company said I had great potential.
Over time, I became a reputed expert and leader within the company. I was respected.
First year I made $75K, last year $511K. If I stayed another two years, I could have made $1M.
Despite Amazon's reputation, my work–life balance was good. I no longer needed to prove myself and could do everything in 40 hours a week. My team worked from home once a week, and I rarely opened my laptop nights or weekends.
My coworkers were great. I had three generous, empathetic managers. I’m very grateful to everyone I worked with.
Everything was going well and getting better. My motivation to go to work each morning was declining despite my career and income growth.
Another promotion, pay raise, or big project wouldn't have boosted my motivation. Motivation was also waning. It was my freedom.
My motivation was high in the beginning. I worked with someone on an internal tool with little scrutiny. I had more freedom to choose how and what to work on than in recent years. Me and another person improved it, talked to users, released updates, and tested it. Whatever we wanted, we did. We did our best and were mostly self-directed.
In recent years, things have changed. My department's most important project had many stakeholders and complex goals. What I could do depended on my ability to convince others it was the best way to achieve our goals.
Amazon was always someone else's terms. The terms started out simple (keep fixing it), but became more complex over time (maximize all goals; satisfy all stakeholders). Working in a large organization imposed restrictions on how to do the work, what to do, what goals to set, and what business to pursue. This situation forced me to do things I didn't want to do.
Finding New Motivation
What would I do forever? Not something I did until I reached a milestone (an exit), but something I'd do until I'm 80. What could I do for the next 45 years that would make me excited to wake up and pay my bills? Is that too unambitious? Nope. Because I'm motivated by two things.
One is an external carrot or stick. I'm not forced to file my taxes every April, but I do because I don't want to go to jail. Or I may not like something but do it anyway because I need to pay the bills or want a nice car. Extrinsic motivation
One is internal. When there's no carrot or stick, this motivates me. This fuels hobbies. I wanted a job that was intrinsically motivated.
Is this too low-key? Extrinsic motivation isn't sustainable. Getting promoted felt good for a week, then it was over. When I hit $100K, I admired my W2 for a few days, but then it wore off. Same thing happened at $200K, $300K, $400K, and $500K. Earning $1M or $10M wouldn't change anything. I feel the same about every material reward or possession. Getting them feels good at first, but quickly fades.
Things I've done since I was a kid, when no one forced me to, don't wear off. Coding, selling my creations, charting my own path, and being honest. Why not always use my strengths and motivation? I'm lucky to live in a time when I can work independently in my field without large investments. So that’s what I’m doing.
I'm going all-in on independence and will make a living from scratch. I won't do only what I like, but on my terms. My goal is to cover my family's expenses before my savings run out while doing something I enjoy. What more could I want from my work?
You can now follow me on Twitter as I continue to document my journey.
This post is a summary. Read full article here
More on Personal Growth
1 year ago
How I Stay Fit Despite Eating Fast Food and Drinking Alcohol
Here's me. Perfectionism is unnecessary.
This post isn't for people who gag at the prospect of eating french fries. I've been ridiculed for stating you can lose weight eating carbs and six-pack abs aren't good.
My family eats frozen processed meals and quick food most weeks (sometimes more). Clean eaters may think I'm unqualified to give fitness advice. I get it.
Hear me out, though. I’m a 44-year-old raising two busy kids with a weekly-traveling husband. Tutoring, dance, and guitar classes fill weeknights. I'm also juggling my job and freelancing.
I'm as worried and tired as my clients. I wish I ate only kale smoothies and salads. I can’t. Despite my mistakes, I'm fit. I won't promise you something just because it worked for me. But here’s a look at how I manage.
What I largely get right about eating
I have a flexible diet and track my daily intake. I count protein, fat, and carbs. Only on vacation or exceptional occasions do I not track.
My protein goal is 1 g per lb. I consume a lot of chicken breasts, eggs, turkey, and lean ground beef. I also occasionally drink protein shakes.
I eat 220–240 grams of carbs daily. My carb count depends on training volume and goals. I'm trying to lose weight slowly. If I want to lose weight faster, I cut carbs to 150-180.
My carbs include white rice, Daves Killer Bread, fruit, pasta, and veggies. I don't eat enough vegetables, so I take Athletic Greens. Also, V8.
Fat grams over 50 help me control my hormones. Recently, I've reached 70-80 grams. Cooking with olive oil. I eat daily dark chocolate. Eggs, butter, milk, and cheese contribute to the rest.
Those frozen meals? What can I say? Stouffer’s lasagna is sometimes needed. I order the healthiest fast food I can find (although I can never bring myself to order the salad). That's a chicken sandwich or a kid's hamburger. I rarely order fries. I eat slowly and savor each bite to feel full.
Potato chips and sugary cereals are in the pantry, but I'm not tempted. My kids eat them because I'd rather teach them moderation than total avoidance. If I eat them, I only eat one portion.
If you're not hungry and eating enough protein and fat, you won't want to eat everything in sight.
I drink once or twice a week. As a result, I rarely overdo it.
Food tracking is tedious and frustrating for many. Taking breaks and using estimates when eating out help. Not perfect, but realistic.
I practice a prolonged fast to enhance metabolic adaptability
Metabolic flexibility is the ability to switch between fuel sources (fat and carbs) based on activity intensity and time since eating. At rest or during low to moderate exertion, your body burns fat. Your body burns carbs after eating and during intense exercise.
Our metabolic flexibility can be hampered by lack of exercise, overeating, and stress. Our bodies become lousy fat burners, making weight loss difficult.
Once a week, I skip dinner (usually around 24 hours). Long-term fasting teaches my body to burn fat. It provides me one low-calorie day a week (I break the fast with a normal-sized dinner).
Fasting day helps me maintain my weight on weekends, when I typically overeat and drink.
Try an extended fast slowly. Delay breakfast by two hours. Next week, add two hours, etc. It takes practice to go that long without biting off your arm. I also suggest consulting your doctor.
I stay active.
I've always been active. As a child, I danced many nights a week, was on the high school dance team, and ran marathons in my 20s.
Often, I feel driven by an internal engine. Working from home makes it easy to exercise. If that’s not you, I get it. Everyone can benefit from raising their baseline.
After taking the kids to school, I walk two miles around the neighborhood. When I need to think, I switch off podcasts. First thing in the morning, I go for a walk.
I lift weights Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. 45 minutes is typical. I run 45-90 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday. I'm slow but reliable. On Saturdays and Sundays, I walk and add a short spin class if I'm not too tired.
I almost never forgo sleep.
I rarely stay up past 10 p.m., much to my night-owl husband's dismay. My 7-8-hour nights help me recover from workouts and handle stress. Without it, I'm grumpy.
I suppose sleep duration matters more than bedtime. Some people just can't fall asleep early. Internal clock and genetics determine sleep and wake hours.
Fitness and diet advice is often useless. Some of the advice is inaccurate, dangerous, or difficult to follow if you have a life. I want to throw a shoe at my screen when I see headlines promising to speed up my metabolism or help me lose fat.
I studied exercise physiology for years. No shortcuts exist. No medications or cleanses reset metabolism. I play the hand I'm dealt. I realize that just because something works for me, it won't for you.
If I wanted 15% body fat and ripped abs, I'd have to be stricter. I occasionally think I’d like to get there. But then I remember I’m happy with my life. I like fast food and beer. Pizza and margaritas are favorites (not every day).
You can get it mostly right and live a healthy life.
9 months ago
The best life advice I've ever heard could very well come from 50 Cent.
He built a $40M hip-hop empire from street drug dealing.
50 Cent was nearly killed by 9mm bullets.
Before 50 Cent, Curtis Jackson sold drugs.
He sold coke to worried addicts after being orphaned at 8.
Pursuing police. Murderous hustlers and gangs. Unwitting informers.
Despite his hard life, his hip-hop career was a success.
An assassination attempt ended his career at the start.
What sane producer would want to deal with a man entrenched in crime?
Most would have drowned in self-pity and drank themselves to death.
But 50 Cent isn't most people. Life on the streets had given him fearlessness.
“Having a brush with death, or being reminded in a dramatic way of the shortness of our lives, can have a positive, therapeutic effect. So it is best to make every moment count, to have a sense of urgency about life.” ― 50 Cent, The 50th Law
50 released a series of mixtapes that caught Eminem's attention and earned him a $50 million deal!
50 Cents turned death into life.
Things happen; that is life.
We want problems solved.
Every human has problems, whether it's Jeff Bezos swimming in his billions, Obama in his comfortable retirement home, or Dan Bilzerian with his hired bikini models.
Problems churn through life. solve one, another appears.
It's harsh. Life's unfair. We can face reality or run from it.
The latter will worsen your issues.
“The firmer your grasp on reality, the more power you will have to alter it for your purposes.” — 50 Cent, The 50th Law
In a fantasy-obsessed world, 50 Cent loves reality.
Wish for better problem-solving skills rather than problem-free living.
Don't wish, work.
We All Have the True Power of Alchemy
Humans are arrogant enough to think the universe cares about them.
That things happen as if the universe notices our nanosecond existences.
Things simply happen. Period.
By changing our perspective, we can turn good things bad.
The alchemists' search for the philosopher's stone may have symbolized the ability to turn our lead-like perceptions into gold.
Negativity bias tints our perceptions.
Normal sparring broke your elbow? Rest and rethink your training. Fired? You can improve your skills and get a better job.
Consider Curtis if he had fallen into despair.
The legend we call 50 Cent wouldn’t have existed.
The Best Lesson in Life Ever?
Neither avoid nor fear your reality.
That simple sentence contains every self-help tip and life lesson on Earth.
When reality is all there is, why fear it? avoidance?
Or worse, fleeing?
To accept reality, we must eliminate the words should be, could be, wish it were, and hope it will be.
It is. Period.
Only by accepting reality's chaos can you shape your life.
“Behind me is infinite power. Before me is endless possibility, around me is boundless opportunity. My strength is mental, physical and spiritual.” — 50 Cent
1 year ago
Ten words and phrases to avoid in presentations
Don't say this in public!
Want to wow your audience? Want to deliver a successful presentation? Do you want practical takeaways from your presentation?
Then avoid these phrases.
Public speaking is difficult. People fear public speaking, according to research.
"Public speaking is people's biggest fear, according to studies. Number two is death. "Sounds right?" — Comedian Jerry Seinfeld
Yes, public speaking is scary. These words and phrases will make your presentation harder.
Using unnecessary words can weaken your message.
You may have prepared well for your presentation and feel confident. During your presentation, you may freeze up. You may blank or forget.
Effective delivery is even more important than skillful public speaking.
Here are 10 presentation pitfalls.
1. I or Me
Presentations are about the audience, not you. Replace "I or me" with "you, we, or us." Focus on your audience. Reward them with expertise and intriguing views about your issue.
Serve your audience actionable items during your presentation, and you'll do well. Your audience will have a harder time listening and engaging if you're self-centered.
2. Sorry if/for
Your presentation is fine. These phrases make you sound insecure and unprepared. Don't pressure the audience to tell you not to apologize. Your audience should focus on your presentation and essential messages.
3. Excuse the Eye Chart, or This slide's busy
Why add this slide if you're utilizing these phrases? If you don't like this slide, change it before presenting. After the presentation, extra data can be provided.
Don't apologize for unclear slides. Hide or delete a broken PowerPoint slide. If so, divide your message into multiple slides or remove the "business" slide.
4. Sorry I'm Nervous
Some think expressing yourself will win over the audience. Nerves are horrible. Even public speakers are nervous.
Nerves aren't noticeable. What's the point? Let the audience judge your nervousness. Please don't make this obvious.
5. I'm not a speaker or I've never done this before.
These phrases destroy credibility. People won't listen and will check their phones or computers.
Why present if you use these phrases?
Good speakers aren't necessarily public speakers. Be confident in what you say. When you're confident, many people will like your presentation.
6. Our Key Differentiators Are
Overused term. It's widely utilized. This seems "salesy," and your "important differentiators" are probably like a competitor's.
This statement has been diluted; say, "what makes us different is..."
7. Next Slide
Many slides or stories? Your presentation needs transitions. They help your viewers understand your argument.
You didn't transition well when you said "next slide." Think about organic transitions.
8. I Didn’t Have Enough Time, or I’m Running Out of Time
The phrase "I didn't have enough time" implies that you didn't care about your presentation. This shows the viewers you rushed and didn't care.
Saying "I'm out of time" shows poor time management. It means you didn't rehearse enough and plan your time well.
9. I've been asked to speak on
This phrase is used to emphasize your importance. This phrase conveys conceit.
When you say this sentence, you tell others you're intelligent, skilled, and appealing. Don't utilize this term; focus on your topic.
10. Moving On, or All I Have
These phrases don't consider your transitions or presentation's end. People recall a presentation's beginning and end.
How you end your discussion affects how people remember it. You must end your presentation strongly and use natural transitions.
10 phrases to avoid in a presentation. I or me, sorry if or sorry for, pardon the Eye Chart or this busy slide, forgive me if I appear worried, or I'm really nervous, and I'm not good at public speaking, I'm not a speaker, or I've never done this before.
Please don't use these phrases: next slide, I didn't have enough time, I've been asked to speak about, or that's all I have.
We shouldn't make public speaking more difficult than it is. We shouldn't exacerbate a difficult issue. Better public speakers avoid these words and phrases.
“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” — Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father
This is a summary. See the original post here.
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7 months ago
The world will be changed by this molten salt battery.
Four times the energy density and a fraction of lithium-cost ion's
As the globe abandons fossil fuels, batteries become more important. EVs, solar, wind, tidal, wave, and even local energy grids will use them. We need a battery revolution since our present batteries are big, expensive, and detrimental to the environment. A recent publication describes a battery that solves these problems. But will it be enough?
Sodium-sulfur molten salt battery. It has existed for a long time and uses molten salt as an electrolyte (read more about molten salt batteries here). These batteries are cheaper, safer, and more environmentally friendly because they use less eco-damaging materials, are non-toxic, and are non-flammable.
Previous molten salt batteries used aluminium-sulphur chemistries, which had a low energy density and required high temperatures to keep the salt liquid. This one uses a revolutionary sodium-sulphur chemistry and a room-temperature-melting salt, making it more useful, affordable, and eco-friendly. To investigate this, researchers constructed a button-cell prototype and tested it.
First, the battery was 1,017 mAh/g. This battery is four times as energy dense as high-density lithium-ion batteries (250 mAh/g).
No one knows how much this battery would cost. A more expensive molten-salt battery costs $15 per kWh. Current lithium-ion batteries cost $132/kWh. If this new molten salt battery costs the same as present cells, it will be 90% cheaper.
This room-temperature molten salt battery could be utilized in an EV. Cold-weather heaters just need a modest backup battery.
The ultimate EV battery? If used in a Tesla Model S, you could install four times the capacity with no weight gain, offering a 1,620-mile range. This huge battery pack would cost less than Tesla's. This battery would nearly perfect EVs.
Or would it?
The battery's capacity declined by 50% after 1,000 charge cycles. This means that our hypothetical Model S would suffer this decline after 1.6 million miles, but for more cheap vehicles that use smaller packs, this would be too short. This test cell wasn't supposed to last long, so this is shocking. Future versions of this cell could be modified to live longer.
This affordable and eco-friendly cell is best employed as a grid-storage battery for renewable energy. Its safety and affordable price outweigh its short lifespan. Because this battery is made of easily accessible materials, it may be utilized to boost grid-storage capacity without causing supply chain concerns or EV battery prices to skyrocket.
Researchers are designing a bigger pouch cell (like those in phones and laptops) for this purpose. The battery revolution we need could be near. Let’s just hope it isn’t too late.
1 year ago
Your Ideal Position As a Part-Time Creator
Inspired by someone I never met
Inspiration is good and bad.
Paul Jarvis inspires me. He's a web person and writer who created his own category by being himself.
Paul said no thank you when everyone else was developing, building, and assuming greater responsibilities. This isn't success. He rewrote the rules. Working for himself, expanding at his own speed, and doing what he loves were his definitions of success.
Play with a problem that you have
The biggest problem can be not recognizing a problem.
Acceptance without question is deception. When you don't push limits, you forget how. You start thinking everything must be as it is.
For example: working. Paul worked a 9-5 agency work with little autonomy. He questioned whether the 9-5 was a way to live, not the way.
Another option existed. So he chipped away at how to live in this new environment.
Don't simply jump
Internet writers tell people considering quitting 9-5 to just quit. To throw in the towel. To do what you like.
The advice is harmful, despite the good intentions. People think quitting is hard. Like courage is the issue. Like handing your boss a resignation letter.
Nope. The tough part comes after. It’s easy to jump. Landing is difficult.
Paul didn't quit. Intelligent individuals don't. Smart folks focus on landing. They imagine life after 9-5.
Paul had been a web developer for a long time, had solid clients, and was respected. Hence if he pushed the limits and discovered another route, he had the potential to execute.
Working on the side
Society loves polarization. It’s left or right. Either way. Or chaos. It's 9-5 or entrepreneurship.
But like Paul, you can stretch polarization's limits. In-between exists.
You can work a 9-5 and side jobs (as I do). A mix of your favorites. The 9-5's stability and creativity. Fire and routine.
Remember you can't have everything but anything. You can create and work part-time.
My hybrid lifestyle
Not selling books doesn't destroy my world. My globe keeps spinning if my new business fails or if people don't like my Tweets. Unhappy algorithm? Cool. I'm not bothered (okay maybe a little).
The mix gives me the best of both worlds. To create, hone my skill, and grasp big-business basics. I like routine, but I also appreciate spending 4 hours on Saturdays writing.
Some days I adore leaving work at 5 pm and disconnecting. Other days, I adore having a place to write if inspiration strikes during a run or a discussion.
I’m a part-time creator
I’m a part-time creator. No, I'm not trying to quit. I don't work 5 pm - 2 am on the side. No, I'm not at $10,000 MRR.
I work part-time but enjoy my 9-5. My 9-5 has goodies. My side job as well.
It combines both to meet my lifestyle. I'm satisfied.
Join the Part-time Creators Club for free here. I’ll send you tips to enhance your creative game.
1 year ago
Giving customers what they want or betraying the values of the brand?
A J.Crew collaboration for fashion label Eveliina Vintage is not a paradox; it is a solution.
Eveliina Vintage's capsule collection debuted yesterday at J.Crew. This J.Crew partnership stopped me in my tracks.
Eveliina Vintage sells vintage goods. Eeva Musacchia founded the shop in Finland in the 1970s. It's recognized for its one-of-a-kind slip dresses from the 1930s and 1940s.
I wondered why a vintage brand would partner with a mass shop. Fast fashion against vintage shopping? Will Eveliina Vintages customers be turned off?
But Eveliina Vintages customers don't care about sustainability. They want Eveliina's Instagram look. Eveliina Vintage collaborated with J.Crew to give customers what they wanted: more Eveliina at a lower price.
Vintage: A Fashion Option That Is Eco-Conscious
Secondhand shopping is a trendy response to quick fashion. J.Crew releases hundreds of styles annually. Waste and environmental damage have been criticized. A pair of jeans requires 1,800 gallons of water. J.Crew's limited-time deals promote more purchases. J.Crew items are likely among those Americans wear 7 times before discarding.
Consumers and designers have emphasized sustainability in recent years. Stella McCartney and Eileen Fisher are popular eco-friendly brands. They've also flocked to ThredUp and similar sites.
Gap, Levis, and Allbirds have listened to consumer requests. They promote recycling, ethical sourcing, and secondhand shopping.
Secondhand shoppers feel good about reusing and recycling clothing that might have ended up in a landfill.
Eco-conscious fashionistas shop vintage. These shoppers enjoy the thrill of the hunt (that limited-edition Chanel bag!) and showing off a unique piece (nobody will have my look!). They also reduce their environmental impact.
Is Eveliina Vintage capitalizing on an aesthetic or is it a sustainable brand?
Eveliina Vintage emphasizes environmental responsibility. Vogue's Amanda Musacchia emphasized sustainability. Amanda, founder Eeva's daughter, is a company leader.
But Eveliina's press message doesn't address sustainability, unlike Instagram. Scarcity and fame rule.
Eveliina Vintages Instagram has see-through dresses and lace-trimmed slip dresses. Celebrities and influencers are often photographed in Eveliina's apparel, which has 53,000+ followers. Vogue appreciates Eveliina's style. Multiple publications discuss Alexa Chung's Eveliina dress.
Eveliina Vintage markets its one-of-a-kind goods. It teases future content, encouraging visitors to return. Scarcity drives demand and raises clothing prices. One dress is $1,600+, but most are $500-$1,000.
The catch: Eveliina can't monetize its expanding popularity due to exorbitant prices and limited quantity. Why?
Most people struggle to pay for their clothing. But Eveliina Vintage lacks those more affordable entry-level products, in contrast to other luxury labels that sell accessories or perfume.
Many people have trouble fitting into their clothing. The bodies of most women in the past were different from those for which vintage clothing was designed. Each Eveliina dress's specific measurements are mentioned alongside it. Be careful, you can fall in love with an ill-fitting dress.
No matter how many people can afford it and fit into it, there is only one item to sell. To get the item before someone else does, those people must be on the Eveliina Vintage website as soon as it becomes available.
A Way for Eveliina Vintage to Make Money (and Expand) with J.Crew Its following
Eveliina Vintages' cooperation with J.Crew makes commercial sense.
This partnership spreads Eveliina's style. Slightly better pricing The $390 outfits have multicolored slips and gauzy cotton gowns. Sizes range from 00 to 24, which is wider than vintage racks.
Eveliina Vintage customers like the combination. Excited comments flood the brand's Instagram launch post. Nobody is mocking the 50-year-old vintage brand's fast-fashion partnership.
Vintage may be a sustainable fashion trend, but that's not why Eveliina's clients love the brand. They only care about the old look.
And that is a tale as old as fashion.