Six years ago, I was a freelance software engineer, with a background in advertising, search engines and high-performance web applications, when an introductory email lead me to help build a new company. I was employee #1; I built a multi-million dollar ad serving platform from scratch and in the process I worked sales, accounting, administration, development, and management. In the end, though, there is something to be said about being your own man, being able to make decisions and see your visions to fruition.
It hasn’t been the smoothest of rides. Something changes inside of you when you have employees and co-workers whose livelihood depends on what you do. I worked crazy ridiculous hours and neglected things that were important to me. In a way, I lost myself and I didn’t particularly care for the compromises I had to make.
I dropped the ball on projects, on people, and that really sucks. I could make excuses about finances, health or circumstance but none of that really matters. Nothing can be done to change the fact that I overcommitted and failed to follow through. The only reparation is my commitment to myself to be better.
As my post-divorce maintenance winded down and I saved enough to pay off the last of my debt, I was able to consider the future and what I wanted to do. If I’m going to work crazy insane hours, I want to do it by choice and not by obligation. I want to write. I want to grow. Most importantly, I want to live and enjoy life with my wife.
Today is my last day working full-time for the company I helped build. Change is scary, but exciting at the same time. There’s software to build, and short stories and novels to write. The world is full of opportunity waiting to be seized and I am a mensch with an entrepreneurial spirit.