Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

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mrspock
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by mrspock » Fri Oct 04, 2019 1:38 am

Two words: part-time or better yet... remote part-time .

Yes it exists in tech if you look. Try 3-4 days per week and see how that goes. With your 3-4 day weekends... red eye it to someplace nice and chill (yes every weekend if you want), build the war chest a bit more. Then... one day as you are drinking that tasty cocktail on the beach Sunday morning getting ready to get back on the plane to your “part-time gig”..... and you just don’t want to.....don’t.

And yes... I have a few coworkers who could retire tomorrow (seasoned vets) who “stretch” out careers with schemes like this. Some have just “crash pads” (studio condo) in the bay area others crash in hotels — their “actual” homes are in a rather nice place (SO Cal, Hawaii etc). They fly in Sunday night or Monday morning on their own dimes. First I heard of it, I thought it pretty strange .... but I imagine the calculus changes once you are FI, you can afford some unique living arrangements.

My larger point is, get creative... there are a ton of middle ground options.

usagi
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by usagi » Fri Oct 04, 2019 4:29 am

You have no one relying on you, no one you can sink and take down with you. Women come and go, there are billions on the planet, so I would not let that be a factor. Trust me there is more than one "the one" out there. What else is true is: every moment you are one moment closer to death. I guarantee you, even if you are penniless and broke laying on the beach with crabs eating your body you will not regret walking away from that screen.

I have been all over, lived more in 10 years than most will have lived in several lifetimes, and it has been an awesome ride. And with that said, I have selected three quotes for you to contemplate. The first, speaks to your accomplishment(you built the stepping stone and it would be a shame not to use it). The second to your current situation, and the third, hopefully will lead you to your destiny.

Gambatte,

Usagi

Quote #1
R. Lee Sharpe:

"Each is given a list of rules;
a shapeless mass; a bag of tools.
And each must fashion, ere life is flown,
A stumbling block, or a Stepping-Stone.”


Quote #2
Henry David Thoreau:

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation"

Quote #3
Hunter S. Thompson:

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”

HawkeyePierce
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by HawkeyePierce » Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:31 am

I'm 4 months through a 5 month unpaid leave/sabbatical from a big tech company, making about the same amount as you. I needed a break for mental health reasons (my job wasn't stressful, just some other stuff).

I highly recommend the sabbatical approach. Even if you decide not to go back, it gives you a chance to clear your mind. I moved to New Zealand for my sabbatical on a 12 month working holiday visa, extremely easy to get but must be 30 or younger. I've been learning how to carve jade and develop black-and-white film in a darkroom while mountain biking all around the country. Haven't written a line of code since May.

My company doesn't have an official sabbatical policy but when you tell them you want to take a significant amount of time unpaid, they read between the lines: they can grant it and hopefully you come back, or they can say no and you'll just quit. After all, you just told them (implicitly) that you have the resources to float yourself even without any cash flow.

HR gave me some pushback saying it was "extremely rare" for this to be granted and that my request would have to go to the CTO (who has 2000 people under him), but I'm pretty sure that was BS because our CTO signed it the same day no-questions-asked. Of course I already had the support of my manager and director.

michaeljc70
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by michaeljc70 » Fri Oct 04, 2019 8:29 am

ohit1 wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 1:19 am
AerialWombat wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:28 pm
Most Bogleheads despise the FIRE concept.
Really? Why? And are the sources/links available on this?
As I read the OP he is taking time off and not retiring.

EnjoyIt
Posts: 2651
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:06 pm

Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by EnjoyIt » Fri Oct 04, 2019 10:01 am

usagi wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 4:29 am
You have no one relying on you, no one you can sink and take down with you. Women come and go, there are billions on the planet, so I would not let that be a factor. Trust me there is more than one "the one" out there. What else is true is: every moment you are one moment closer to death. I guarantee you, even if you are penniless and broke laying on the beach with crabs eating your body you will not regret walking away from that screen.

I have been all over, lived more in 10 years than most will have lived in several lifetimes, and it has been an awesome ride. And with that said, I have selected three quotes for you to contemplate. The first, speaks to your accomplishment(you built the stepping stone and it would be a shame not to use it). The second to your current situation, and the third, hopefully will lead you to your destiny.

Gambatte,

Usagi

Quote #1
R. Lee Sharpe:

"Each is given a list of rules;
a shapeless mass; a bag of tools.
And each must fashion, ere life is flown,
A stumbling block, or a Stepping-Stone.”


Quote #2
Henry David Thoreau:

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation"

Quote #3
Hunter S. Thompson:

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
I love these quotes. Thanks for sharing

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JoeRetire
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by JoeRetire » Fri Oct 04, 2019 11:58 am

deanmoriarty wrote:
Wed Oct 02, 2019 5:45 pm
JoeRetire wrote:
Wed Oct 02, 2019 5:38 pm
It doesn't take much to go on interviews. Someone lacking "the mental strength" to do so needs help.
Respectfully, "it doesn't take much to go on interviews" is utterly false for tech companies. Technical interviews for lucrative positions are incredibly challenging in Silicon Valley, and often require months to prepare: sadly, what gets asked (puzzles focused on algorithms trivia) is completely unrelated to the actual professional experience of the candidate and more of a way to measure the "level of intellect", and that in itself is one big reason why I am starting to hate tech, decades of professional experience have literally no meaning when you are looking for a new job.

Source: I personally passed (and got offers in the $350-400k range) technical interviews with both Google and Facebook in the past at a senior software engineer level, it was an insane experience, 8 hours of deeply technical onsite interviews (5-6 different interviewers back to back), preceded by 2x1 hour long phone screen technical interviews to determine if you were worthy of being invited onsite, preceded by a 45 minutes technical screening done by a technical recruiter. I had to prepare for 2 months, studying and practicing every evening and almost all weekends. And, keep in mind, I have a BS + MS in computer engineering from a top European university, and graduated with top grades, so I'm not necessarily "too slow".
I guess everyone is different. I didn't need any preparation.

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JoeRetire
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by JoeRetire » Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:01 pm

visualguy wrote:
Wed Oct 02, 2019 6:29 pm
People who are not in this field typically have no idea what these interviews are like, and the amount of preparation needed. I have to say that seeing a "mental health professional" for it is a suggestion that I haven't seen before, though! :oops:
I was in this field for my entire career and know exactly what it takes to land these jobs.

I have to say that I don't know anyone who ever complained about "lacking the mental strength" that had any chance at such a position.

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deanmoriarty
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by deanmoriarty » Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:08 pm

JoeRetire wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:01 pm
visualguy wrote:
Wed Oct 02, 2019 6:29 pm
People who are not in this field typically have no idea what these interviews are like, and the amount of preparation needed. I have to say that seeing a "mental health professional" for it is a suggestion that I haven't seen before, though! :oops:
I was in this field for my entire career and know exactly what it takes to land these jobs.

I have to say that I don't know anyone who ever complained about "lacking the mental strength" that had any chance at such a position.
This is becoming very interesting at this point, and I'd like to get to the bottom of it. Just making sure we're talking about the same thing: are you talking about pure software engineering roles (as opposed to generic tech IT support roles)? If so, what kind of super human you have to be in order to be able to deal with a whiteboard coding interview asking complex algorithms without even preparing?

By all means, big kudos to you if you are such a genius, but in my case Google asked rather complicated questions: for example, one was a graph traversal coding puzzle involving a non-common variation of topological sorting. Normal software engineers never ever use that stuff in their career, so I wouldn't have been able to solve it had I not studied prior to the interview. These are the kind of questions that sadly virtually all employers ask before offering $400k for a senior software engineer, so I'm amazed at how you can say that you didn't have to prepare. And that was just one of the many difficult questions asked on the interview. Nobody ever asked me "tell me about a past project, or about your experience".

Unfortunately these are not the 90s anymore, when employers were testing super basic coding skills like dealing with a linked list or a hash table, these days it is much, much harder (again, not assuming that's what you are referring to, I am just adding further information).

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JoeRetire
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by JoeRetire » Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:12 pm

deanmoriarty wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:08 pm
are you talking about pure software engineering roles (as opposed to generic tech IT support roles)? If so, what kind of super human you have to be in order to be able to deal with a whiteboard coding interview asking complex algorithms without even preparing?
Yes.

It doesn't take anything super human. Or at least it didn't when I interviewed.
Some of us may be more comfortable at a whiteboard than others, I guess.

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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by KyleAAA » Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:13 pm

deanmoriarty wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:08 pm
JoeRetire wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:01 pm
visualguy wrote:
Wed Oct 02, 2019 6:29 pm
People who are not in this field typically have no idea what these interviews are like, and the amount of preparation needed. I have to say that seeing a "mental health professional" for it is a suggestion that I haven't seen before, though! :oops:
I was in this field for my entire career and know exactly what it takes to land these jobs.

I have to say that I don't know anyone who ever complained about "lacking the mental strength" that had any chance at such a position.
This is becoming very interesting at this point, and I'd like to get to the bottom of it. Just making sure we're talking about the same thing: are you talking about pure software engineering roles (as opposed to generic tech IT support roles)? If so, what kind of super human you have to be in order to be able to deal with a whiteboard coding interview asking complex algorithms without even preparing?

By all means, big kudos to you if you are such a genius, but in my case Google asked rather complicated questions: for example, one was a graph traversal coding puzzle involving a non-common variation of topological sorting. Normal software engineers never ever use that stuff in their career, so I wouldn't have been able to solve it had I not studied prior to the interview. These are the kind of questions that sadly virtually all employers ask before offering $400k for a senior software engineer, so I'm amazed at how you can say that you didn't have to prepare.

Unfortunately these are not the 90s anymore, when employers were testing basic coding skills like dealing with a linked list or a hash table, these days it is much, much harder (again, not assuming that's what you are referring to, I am just adding further information).
I have done the 7 interviews-in-7-days thing before. I will never do it again. It is the most draining thing I've ever done. These interviews are no joke.

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deanmoriarty
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by deanmoriarty » Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:20 pm

JoeRetire wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:12 pm
deanmoriarty wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:08 pm
are you talking about pure software engineering roles (as opposed to generic tech IT support roles)? If so, what kind of super human you have to be in order to be able to deal with a whiteboard coding interview asking complex algorithms without even preparing?
Yes.

It doesn't take anything super human. Or at least it didn't when I interviewed.
Some of us may be more comfortable at a whiteboard than others, I guess.
Well then, I will just take your comment at face value and assume you are a much, much better engineer than me. Most of the questions I was asked were very similar to the ones you can find here: https://leetcode.com/problemset/all/?difficulty=Hard. The fact that you would have been able to pass most of those without even studying makes you a super human in my eyes, so you have my most sincere admiration.

ScaledWheel
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by ScaledWheel » Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:26 pm

I empathize with you OP. I failed a FAANG interview from not studying enough. It was a research role, but the level of complexity of the questions took me by surprise. It was frustrating since I knew I could do the job I was applying for very well, but I learned an important lesson about tech interviews that day.

cashboy
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by cashboy » Fri Oct 04, 2019 4:17 pm

JoeRetire wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:12 pm
deanmoriarty wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:08 pm
are you talking about pure software engineering roles (as opposed to generic tech IT support roles)? If so, what kind of super human you have to be in order to be able to deal with a whiteboard coding interview asking complex algorithms without even preparing?
Yes.

It doesn't take anything super human. Or at least it didn't when I interviewed.
Some of us may be more comfortable at a whiteboard than others, I guess.
i know what you mean.

i wrote an artificial intelligence program using punched cards back in the 1980s during lunch breaks, and i didn't even use a whiteboard.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punched_card

of course, observations such as these are not assisting the OP, so to get this thread back on track:

OP, have you made any decision yet about "Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed"?
FSPSX - FXAIX - FXNAX - CD - CASH - canned beans - rice

furnace
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by furnace » Fri Oct 04, 2019 4:35 pm

Go see a doctor. If the doc says you need to take 6 months off to preserve your mental health, then that's what you tell your employer. FMLA exists for this reason.

bhsince87
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by bhsince87 » Fri Oct 04, 2019 4:55 pm

furnace wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 4:35 pm
Go see a doctor. If the doc says you need to take 6 months off to preserve your mental health, then that's what you tell your employer. FMLA exists for this reason.
I was going to mention FMLA too. Although it most places, that's limited to 12 weeks.

Some companies are very lenient with that.

At a previous employer, I was very frustrated because it varied between departments. Some managers required an explanation from a Dr. Others just said, "OK, whatever." I knew one person whose husband had cancer, but was in remission. She took off several weeks every year just so they could travel together.

Bottom line, if you can't get a sabbatical, FMLA is worth a look.
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace." Samuel Adams

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deanmoriarty
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by deanmoriarty » Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:17 pm

Thanks again to everyone who replied.

I shared the situation with my boss (with whom I have a decent informal relationship), quite literally starting with "I can't take it anymore", and he said to please wait about a month or two before having this conversation. He informally said that the company might be in the final stages of a M&A transaction looking to finalize by the end of the year, hinting that I should probably wait and see what kind of financial package would be in for me. Enough money might actually convince me to suck it up a little more, while I try to increase my net worth to 3M (which would be a very solid FIRE number in my mind), and I have some illiquid equity from this business that might become liquid and somewhat valuable on M&A.

I doubt it's a bluff. Despite all the problems that I have at work, my boss has always been a man of his words and always felt that he shares my same hate towards corporate.

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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by gwe67 » Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:52 pm

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cashboy
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by cashboy » Fri Oct 04, 2019 6:50 pm

deanmoriarty wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:17 pm
Thanks again to everyone who replied.

I shared the situation with my boss (with whom I have a decent informal relationship), quite literally starting with "I can't take it anymore", and he said to please wait about a month or two before having this conversation. He informally said that the company might be in the final stages of a M&A transaction looking to finalize by the end of the year, hinting that I should probably wait and see what kind of financial package would be in for me. Enough money might actually convince me to suck it up a little more, while I try to increase my net worth to 3M (which would be a very solid FIRE number in my mind), and I have some illiquid equity from this business that might become liquid and somewhat valuable on M&A.

I doubt it's a bluff. Despite all the problems that I have at work, my boss has always been a man of his words and always felt that he shares my same hate towards corporate.
thanks for sharing!

:sharebeer
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ScaledWheel
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by ScaledWheel » Fri Oct 04, 2019 7:37 pm

deanmoriarty wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:17 pm
I shared the situation with my boss (with whom I have a decent informal relationship), quite literally starting with "I can't take it anymore", and he said to please wait about a month or two before having this conversation. He informally said that the company might be in the final stages of a M&A transaction looking to finalize by the end of the year, hinting that I should probably wait and see what kind of financial package would be in for me. Enough money might actually convince me to suck it up a little more, while I try to increase my net worth to 3M (which would be a very solid FIRE number in my mind), and I have some illiquid equity from this business that might become liquid and somewhat valuable on M&A.
Sounds like a decent plan. Do you have equity in your current role? Would also provide a natural "break" for your resume should you want to go back to work. "I got a buyout in an M&A transaction and took some time off to decide what I want to do next" seems more socially acceptable than "I couldn't take it anymore and needed a mental health break", though it shouldn't make a difference.

shess
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by shess » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:08 pm

deanmoriarty wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:08 pm
JoeRetire wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:01 pm
visualguy wrote:
Wed Oct 02, 2019 6:29 pm
People who are not in this field typically have no idea what these interviews are like, and the amount of preparation needed. I have to say that seeing a "mental health professional" for it is a suggestion that I haven't seen before, though! :oops:
I was in this field for my entire career and know exactly what it takes to land these jobs.

I have to say that I don't know anyone who ever complained about "lacking the mental strength" that had any chance at such a position.
This is becoming very interesting at this point, and I'd like to get to the bottom of it. Just making sure we're talking about the same thing: are you talking about pure software engineering roles (as opposed to generic tech IT support roles)? If so, what kind of super human you have to be in order to be able to deal with a whiteboard coding interview asking complex algorithms without even preparing?

By all means, big kudos to you if you are such a genius, but in my case Google asked rather complicated questions: for example, one was a graph traversal coding puzzle involving a non-common variation of topological sorting. Normal software engineers never ever use that stuff in their career, so I wouldn't have been able to solve it had I not studied prior to the interview. These are the kind of questions that sadly virtually all employers ask before offering $400k for a senior software engineer, so I'm amazed at how you can say that you didn't have to prepare. And that was just one of the many difficult questions asked on the interview. Nobody ever asked me "tell me about a past project, or about your experience".

Unfortunately these are not the 90s anymore, when employers were testing super basic coding skills like dealing with a linked list or a hash table, these days it is much, much harder (again, not assuming that's what you are referring to, I am just adding further information).
Eh, I'm with the respondents who question whether it's worth spending a lot of time preparing. I never specifically prepared for any interviews, but my actual interests have always been well-aligned with the positions I was interviewing for. So ask me a question about distributing data across a cluster, or cache-replacement policies and I'll discuss that until you get bored with me. But ask me some sort of Dijkstra's algorithm question, and I'll need more info, and I'll straight up tell you that. But I'm not going to spend 9 months prepping for that. The one caveat to this is that if you've been a little out of touch, maybe haven't been coding for a bit, or coding very specialized work, it's probably worth spending a few weekends running through some problems from your undergrad algorithms and data structures books, just to refresh and blow the cobwebs out.

Having sat on the other side of the table a few hundred times, IMHO not knowing the esoteric random thing I asked isn't always a killer - everyone can't know every thing, so I always had backup questions for when things didn't click. The problem is often that candidates don't know, and they either don't know they don't know and try to bullshit their way through, or they freeze up and give you no feedback at all so you have to try to salvage their interview for them. If I'm interviewing and you give me a complicated problem which I'm not familiar with, I'll try to run you through the issues that make it a hard problem, I'll throw up a journeyman first-pass solution, tell you the issues with that solution, and where I'd look for additional gains. If you want to pursue that, I'll pursue that. If I don't understand your question at all, I'll try to work with you to break things down in a way I can understand. In other words, I'll work the problem. If you expect me to quote a Wikipedia article or Knuth verbatim, I'll tell you I look that stuff up when I need it, and if you're a jerk about it, I'll ask if we can cut the interview short.

And as an interviewer, my hint for the single biggest positive flag you can provide is: Have some projects in mind which you are enthusiastic about and which you clearly did technical work on and which you can outlast me on. There's nothing worse than having a candidate with N years of experience who can't speak at length about their work, or a college grad who's senior project was on distributed systems who can't speak for 15 minutes about their thesis. I could give you a 15-minute discussion about work I did in college - in fact, I could do that for multiple college projects, let alone going in-depth about work I did later for pay.

In fact, that's why I'm currently retired from software engineering. I still think a lot of the actual concepts are really cool, but I think a lot of what companies are doing is just lame, so I'm waiting until the point where I can go in and not talk you out of hiring me.

shess
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by shess » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:15 pm

deanmoriarty wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:20 pm
JoeRetire wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:12 pm
deanmoriarty wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:08 pm
are you talking about pure software engineering roles (as opposed to generic tech IT support roles)? If so, what kind of super human you have to be in order to be able to deal with a whiteboard coding interview asking complex algorithms without even preparing?
Yes.

It doesn't take anything super human. Or at least it didn't when I interviewed.
Some of us may be more comfortable at a whiteboard than others, I guess.
Well then, I will just take your comment at face value and assume you are a much, much better engineer than me. Most of the questions I was asked were very similar to the ones you can find here: https://leetcode.com/problemset/all/?difficulty=Hard. The fact that you would have been able to pass most of those without even studying makes you a super human in my eyes, so you have my most sincere admiration.
Just to be clear, here ... are you saying you wouldn't immediately know The Answer, or are you saying that you wouldn't really get the question.

Just sampling six or eight of them, yeah, those look like exactly the kind of thing I'd expect to see in a Coursera course on data structure and algorithms. Like I could see asking "Merge k sorted arrays" as a question, or "Trapping rain water". I couldn't write a program to solve them with unit tests and all and ready to check in in a 45-minute interview, but I could certainly whiteboard-arm-wave solve many of them in 15 or 20 minutes.

Topic Author
deanmoriarty
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by deanmoriarty » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:26 pm

shess wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:08 pm

Eh, I'm with the respondents who question whether it's worth spending a lot of time preparing. I never specifically prepared for any interviews, but my actual interests have always been well-aligned with the positions I was interviewing for. So ask me a question about distributing data across a cluster, or cache-replacement policies and I'll discuss that until you get bored with me. But ask me some sort of Dijkstra's algorithm question, and I'll need more info, and I'll straight up tell you that. But I'm not going to spend 9 months prepping for that. The one caveat to this is that if you've been a little out of touch, maybe haven't been coding for a bit, or coding very specialized work, it's probably worth spending a few weekends running through some problems from your undergrad algorithms and data structures books, just to refresh and blow the cobwebs out.
I obviously share your same opinion (and, like you, I happen to be specialized in high-performance cloud distributed systems). Unfortunately, FAANG companies (i.e. the one who can immediately give you a liquid compensation of $400k) still have you go through a technical interview who is completely unrelated to your skills.

Story time: as I said, I interviewed at Google a couple years ago and I did get an offer for senior software engineer. One interviewer came into the room and told me "I took a look at your resume, really impressive, I would love to have a deep chat about X (where X is a fairly successful open-source project that I heavily contributed to, since it's in my domain), but unfortunately I have to keep the interview completely generic so we can fairly evaluate all candidates, and we better start since time is limited", and then proceeded to give me a hard algorithmic-focused puzzle completely irrelevant to my experience.
Last edited by deanmoriarty on Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Topic Author
deanmoriarty
Posts: 274
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by deanmoriarty » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:40 pm

shess wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:15 pm
Just to be clear, here ... are you saying you wouldn't immediately know The Answer, or are you saying that you wouldn't really get the question.

Just sampling six or eight of them, yeah, those look like exactly the kind of thing I'd expect to see in a Coursera course on data structure and algorithms. Like I could see asking "Merge k sorted arrays" as a question, or "Trapping rain water". I couldn't write a program to solve them with unit tests and all and ready to check in in a 45-minute interview, but I could certainly whiteboard-arm-wave solve many of them in 15 or 20 minutes.
From my experience, top-tier companies want you to exactly arrive at the optimal solution, with near-working code.

When I interviewed at Facebook (another FAANG company that got me an offer about a year ago), one of the interviewers brought me to lunch on campus, and I took the chance to pick his brain on the way they evaluate interview performance: he said they give a lot of importance to how precise someone is in the code they are writing. He said it's fairly common for him to give "negative points" to someone who commits a one-off error, or doesn't handle a particular edge case. And, not being able to get to the optimal solution is almost always a deal breaker, since you are compared to how other peers have performed in that question.

For instance, writing a fully working implementation of "merge k sorted arrays" iterating over the current minimum of all the arrays would be considered a deal breaker, because it's O(kn). You would have to implement a logarithmic solution using a heap to store the current tip of all the sorted arrays, so that the complexity is O(log(k)n). Again, far from impossible, but I don't use heap trees every day so I need to study for that before an interview, so I become familiar with the pattern and what are the proper library classes that implement that data structure in my favorite programming language (C++ in my case).

So, to answer your question: I would "get" the question, but I wouldn't be able to sketch an optimal solution in 15-20 minutes without preparation. I probably would for the easy/medium ones, but not for the hard ones I linked. Again, I'm not too worried since I actually was able to clear those interviews, by I know the sweat I put into preparing for them, so I won't pretend I am a CS genius who nonchalantly winged it.
Last edited by deanmoriarty on Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:48 pm, edited 6 times in total.

bhsince87
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by bhsince87 » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:40 pm

ScaledWheel wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 7:37 pm
deanmoriarty wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:17 pm
I shared the situation with my boss (with whom I have a decent informal relationship), quite literally starting with "I can't take it anymore", and he said to please wait about a month or two before having this conversation. He informally said that the company might be in the final stages of a M&A transaction looking to finalize by the end of the year, hinting that I should probably wait and see what kind of financial package would be in for me. Enough money might actually convince me to suck it up a little more, while I try to increase my net worth to 3M (which would be a very solid FIRE number in my mind), and I have some illiquid equity from this business that might become liquid and somewhat valuable on M&A.
Sounds like a decent plan. Do you have equity in your current role? Would also provide a natural "break" for your resume should you want to go back to work. "I got a buyout in an M&A transaction and took some time off to decide what I want to do next" seems more socially acceptable than "I couldn't take it anymore and needed a mental health break", though it shouldn't make a difference.
I agree. This is good news!

Definitely hang in there now, bite your tongue, and see how things play out over the next few months.
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace." Samuel Adams

shess
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by shess » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:48 pm

deanmoriarty wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:26 pm
shess wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:08 pm

Eh, I'm with the respondents who question whether it's worth spending a lot of time preparing. I never specifically prepared for any interviews, but my actual interests have always been well-aligned with the positions I was interviewing for. So ask me a question about distributing data across a cluster, or cache-replacement policies and I'll discuss that until you get bored with me. But ask me some sort of Dijkstra's algorithm question, and I'll need more info, and I'll straight up tell you that. But I'm not going to spend 9 months prepping for that. The one caveat to this is that if you've been a little out of touch, maybe haven't been coding for a bit, or coding very specialized work, it's probably worth spending a few weekends running through some problems from your undergrad algorithms and data structures books, just to refresh and blow the cobwebs out.
I obviously share your same opinion (and, like you, I happen to be specialized in high-performance cloud distributed systems). Unfortunately, FAANG companies (i.e. the one who can immediately give you a liquid compensation of $400k) still have you go through a technical interview who is completely unrelated to your skills.

Story time: as I said, I interviewed at Google a couple years ago and I did get an offer for senior software engineer. One interviewer came into the room and told me "I took a look at your resume, really impressive, I would love to have a deep chat about X (where X is a fairly successful open-source project that I heavily contributed to, since it's in my domain), but unfortunately I have to keep the interview completely generic so we can fairly evaluate all candidates, and we better start since time is limited", and then proceeded to give me a hard algorithmic-focused puzzle.
Well, just so you know, when I was at Google interviewing people, if someone had a really intriguing project on their resume, I'd have pinged the recruiter about whether I could devote some time drilling down on that, or maybe I'd have just ignored the suggested directions and asked whatever I wanted. :-). But, still, other than limbering your brain up, I think spending the effort to audit all of CS for an interview is too big of a project.

Fortunately, one of the things I realized about 9 months after leaving Google was that I probably am not interested in working at such a big place again. So even if I decide to jump back into the workforce, maybe I won't have to find out that my basic interviewing assumptions are totally incorrect :-).

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deanmoriarty
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by deanmoriarty » Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:00 pm

shess wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:48 pm
Well, just so you know, when I was at Google interviewing people, if someone had a really intriguing project on their resume, I'd have pinged the recruiter about whether I could devote some time drilling down on that, or maybe I'd have just ignored the suggested directions and asked whatever I wanted. :-). But, still, other than limbering your brain up, I think spending the effort to audit all of CS for an interview is too big of a project.

Fortunately, one of the things I realized about 9 months after leaving Google was that I probably am not interested in working at such a big place again. So even if I decide to jump back into the workforce, maybe I won't have to find out that my basic interviewing assumptions are totally incorrect :-).
Definitely appreciate you sharing your story. You are right that a smaller company would likely have a different type of interview not requiring auditing all CS theory, even in Silicon Valley. My current employer is a late-stage startup and our interview is much more focused on the specific skills required for the open position (we can't afford to just hire generalists). The problem is that smaller companies don't give offers like Google :-). The only reason why my compensation is in the same range of the Google's offer (and the biggest reason why I didn't take Google's offer) is because of significant startup equity appreciation (and partial liquidity of the illiquid equity), which is of course akin to winning the lottery and not reproducible. After being on the startup ride, I probably don't feel like taking that risk again, if I ever look for another job.

shess
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by shess » Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:08 pm

deanmoriarty wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:40 pm
For instance, writing a fully working implementation of "merge k sorted arrays" iterating over the current minimum of all the arrays would be considered a deal breaker, because it's O(kn). You would have to implement a logarithmic solution using a heap to store the current tip of all the sorted arrays, so that the complexity is O(log(k)n). Again, far from impossible, but I don't use heap trees every day so I need to study for that before an interview, so I become familiar with the pattern and what are the proper library classes that implement that data structure in my favorite programming language (C++ in my case).
Ha, I would probably accept Assertion Sort, which is to say, if the candidate said something like "Here, you could keep the arrays sorted by min element, I believe a heap would work, but my heap knowledge is rusty and you probably don't want to watch me spend time developing that knowledge", then I'd probably quiz them on their understanding of heap characteristics and if they were good to go, provide a stand-in. Certainly if the candidate noted that they'd definitely want to look closer when merging 1000 arrays versus merging 5 arrays, I'd quiz them about their thoughts and move on.

I mean, bully for you for taking the time to refresh that memory. I've been writing C++ fulltime for 15 years to the point where I started answering deep esoteric questions for people (I really hate C++, but the way C++ and the STL are put together are fricking neat), but I still don't think it's worth filling my brain with things I can just use the documentation to answer. Honestly, if someone wants to ding me for not committing priority_queue to memory, maybe there are more interesting places to work.
deanmoriarty wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:40 pm
So, to answer your question: I would "get" the question, but I wouldn't be able to sketch an optimal solution in 15-20 minutes without preparation. I probably would for the easy/medium ones, but not for the hard ones I linked. Again, I'm not too worried since I actually was able to clear those interviews, by I know the sweat I put into preparing for them, so I won't pretend I am a CS genius who nonchalantly winged it.
Again, bully for you! From the sounds of it, you'd have done alright in my interviews, and I was pretty well calibrated. But, unfortunately, you don't get to choose your interviewer. I definitely had cases where I provided feedback on fellow interviewers on the order of "Just because someone's length of experience matches Jeff Dean's length of experience doesn't mean everyone had the opportunity to develop the experience Jeff Dean did". Unfortunately, in the end interviewing is just hard to get right at scale.

{For outlanders, Jeff Dean is like the Chuck Norris of Google coding, you can't be evaluating people against his level of ability.}

MikeG62
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by MikeG62 » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:00 am

deanmoriarty wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:17 pm
Thanks again to everyone who replied.

I shared the situation with my boss (with whom I have a decent informal relationship), quite literally starting with "I can't take it anymore", and he said to please wait about a month or two before having this conversation. He informally said that the company might be in the final stages of a M&A transaction looking to finalize by the end of the year, hinting that I should probably wait and see what kind of financial package would be in for me. Enough money might actually convince me to suck it up a little more, while I try to increase my net worth to 3M (which would be a very solid FIRE number in my mind), and I have some illiquid equity from this business that might become liquid and somewhat valuable on M&A.

I doubt it's a bluff. Despite all the problems that I have at work, my boss has always been a man of his words and always felt that he shares my same hate towards corporate.
Dean, sounds like a potential win/win scenario for you. Good thing you have a great relationship with your boss. Sit tight and see what happens (and continue to collect your paycheck in the meantime). Let us know how it progresses.

Good luck.
Real Knowledge Comes Only From Experience

cableguy
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by cableguy » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:10 am

Take a vacation. Make a pledge to yourself that hen you return, you will have balance in your life. Within 30 days after returning from this vacation, get another vacation on the calendar so you have something to look forward to. Try to take 2 decent vacations every year. Don't quit your job. Just make it your mission in life to strike a balance. Save....save....save.....and when your 50-60 years old....you can retire and do all the crazy stuff you think you should be doing now.

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Watty
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by Watty » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:22 am

cashboy wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 6:50 pm
deanmoriarty wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:17 pm
Thanks again to everyone who replied.

I shared the situation with my boss (with whom I have a decent informal relationship), quite literally starting with "I can't take it anymore", and he said to please wait about a month or two before having this conversation. He informally said that the company might be in the final stages of a M&A transaction looking to finalize by the end of the year, hinting that I should probably wait and see what kind of financial package would be in for me. Enough money might actually convince me to suck it up a little more, while I try to increase my net worth to 3M (which would be a very solid FIRE number in my mind), and I have some illiquid equity from this business that might become liquid and somewhat valuable on M&A.

I doubt it's a bluff. Despite all the problems that I have at work, my boss has always been a man of his words and always felt that he shares my same hate towards corporate.

thanks for sharing!

:sharebeer
+1

In the meantime you should look at how much vacation time you have and still take a normal vacation before the end of the year for as many days as you have accrued. (By vacation I mean that you do not take work calls or even take a work laptop with you.)

You should also try to work with your boss to at least somewhat limit your hours and not be taking on any big new projects.

random_walker_77
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by random_walker_77 » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:16 pm

deanmoriarty wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:17 pm
Thanks again to everyone who replied.

I shared the situation with my boss (with whom I have a decent informal relationship), quite literally starting with "I can't take it anymore", and he said to please wait about a month or two before having this conversation. He informally said that the company might be in the final stages of a M&A transaction looking to finalize by the end of the year, hinting that I should probably wait and see what kind of financial package would be in for me. Enough money might actually convince me to suck it up a little more, while I try to increase my net worth to 3M (which would be a very solid FIRE number in my mind), and I have some illiquid equity from this business that might become liquid and somewhat valuable on M&A.

I doubt it's a bluff. Despite all the problems that I have at work, my boss has always been a man of his words and always felt that he shares my same hate towards corporate.
That's exciting news. Still, can you have your cake and eat it too? How about an extended unpaid vacation?

harvestbook
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by harvestbook » Wed Oct 09, 2019 7:43 am

It's funny, if you posted on a FIRE forum people would be talking about your being crazy for working so long, not being crazy for wanting to quit with "only" $2 million.

You can always make more money, but you can never make more time. And nothing steals time off your life like stress and unhappiness.
I'm not smart enough to know, and I can't afford to guess.

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WWJBDo
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Re: Willingly going from lucrative job to unemployed?

Post by WWJBDo » Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:00 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:11 am
Door #2: Set a limit on your hours. Work 40.00 hours. At the end of 40 hours, don't come back until next week. Don't say you can't do that. I had to do that years ago to avoid being in my office running simulations at 9pm. I set a time and at 5:00, I got up and went home. And you know what? Nobody cared. When you talk about leaving, you are in the position to do this. Set your limits. What are they going to do? Fire you? Who cares, right?
↑ +1
Another way to reduce your time is to change to a 3 or 4 day work week. I did that 10 years ago and it was transformative. You might have to take a pay cut to do it, but most tech companies are very progressive about such things. Before giving up your job, you might give this a try for 4-6 months and see if it changes your perspective. It was a life saver for me.
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." Upton Sinclair

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