This was written in March 2020 when I left my then-job as a Product Manager at Lyft to start an indefinite career hiatus.
Despite the incredible community and source of personal growth I found there, I had been yearning for a while to revisit being primarily a student, explore what in life brings me the most fulfillment, and decide what fundamental cause(s) I want to focus the next chapter of my career on.
I have several goals for this hiatus, and am excited to have the time and mental bandwidth to explore them earnestly!
This is not to be taken for granted, and is worth putting explicitly as the top priority. I don’t believe I’ll be an effective thinker, creator, nor source of support for my community if I’m not feeling in my prime. First order of business is to sleep eight hours, floss, meditate, stretch, exercise, and cook healthy food every day.
Locking in better habits will compound over time not just in good health but in better discipline as I pursue higher levels of productivity in other areas.
Despite taking pride in how I approach organizing my teams’ workstreams at work, I have a long way to go to feel comparably confident in how I organize my personal life. I want to develop better habits around reading and learning about new subjects and have a great system, optimized for posterity, for converting all that I learn into personal notes and public writings.
Besides discipline around good habits, the two most important things here are systems and tools:
The systems (ie: frameworks) that best set me up to increase reading throughput and retain what I learn
The tools (ie: products) that best accommodate the systems I want to use. I don’t think the tools for thought I’m currently using are the most effective ones for my goals, and I want to explore what else is out there (have any recommendations? Please reach out!)
The main outcome I’m focused on is returning from this hiatus with conviction about what to spend my career on next. I want to know which problem(s) in the world I feel most compelled to work on, and what specific solution am I passionate about spending my time furthering.
Some areas I’ll be focusing on:
Starting with: fundamental knowledge in the areas of philosophy, politics, economics, and history
Then, with a solid foundation to lean on: Healthcare, education, sustainability / energy, food, financial inclusion, and urban planning / mobility
I'm making as much time as I can to read about these, and intend to write about them as a mechanism to (1) fully internalize what I'm learning, (2) share with others and refine my thinking, and (3) hopefully help others learn too.
I've spent 9 years working as a Product Manager and want to now help others benefit from what I've learned throughout that time.
I'm doing interview prep mentoring and career coaching for individuals, and product consulting for startups.
Always happy to chat and help however I can, just reach out!
Not so much a goal, but as I pursue all of the above I plan to spend time living in various countries around the world. I love immersing in other cultures and getting to know the mores, cuisine, music and art, etc.
I'm currently in Buenos Aires, but intend to go elsewhere soon. Of course, coronavirus has drastically impacted how I'm thinking about this (eg: only go to places with rigorous mass testing and contact tracing)
With more time
I also want to learn how to produce and mix music, and make my own songs and eventually an album!
And there are also many side projects that I've been considering taking on for a while, ranging from writing a book to starting a nonprofit to starting a podcast. I'm hoping this will be a good opportunity to play with some of these ideas.