Carbon Copy

How corporate life used to be


When I left my job at Amazon, I was ready to put everything into my podcast business. I had $15k in a bank account, and I figured that would be enough to sustain me to my first podcast ad sales for Software Engineering Daily.

Fast forward three years, and my podcast was making enough money to keep me alive. I was proud to be establishing myself with a self-sustaining business owner. It seemed like I had made the right decision to leave my job and strike out on my own. I wrote this song “Carbon Copy” about an alternate version of myself that stayed at the job and continued to work for a stable income.

At Amazon, I found there to be something chilling about driving to work every day, clocking into one of the numerous gigantic offices in South Lake Union, taking the elevators up to my cubicle, and sitting down to work on a backend service that nobody had heard of. I felt indignant about a job that had seemed so thrilling from the outside.

It was always raining in Seattle, and the drive to the office always filled me with a dreary feeling that I was headed for a life of corporate mediocrity. I needed to taste the sweet victory of being an entrepreneur.

Today, after a total of six years of podcasting and four failed software products, I can see how the grass can always become greener on the other side. If I would have stayed at Amazon, I probably would have moved through a variety of engineering jobs, surrounded by interesting co-workers. I might have started my own project within Amazon, and found satisfaction in building on the titanic Amazonian platform that has changed the world.

Instead, I chose to do my own thing, and that meant living without very many co-workers. When the pandemic hit, I still had not figured out how to foster a good social circle outside of my small circle of remote co-workers.

If you work a corporate job, you may be dissatisfied. But there are many hidden benefits of working for a company. I chose a solo path and today I reap both the rewards and the consequences.

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