2021 was a doozy. After a very sad and quiet 2020, 2021 brought on the vaccines and allowed people to be cautiously optimistic about the future. Two variants and 800k deaths later, we’re still in this weird limbo. Despite this, I had a relatively momentous year, personally. We bought a house, my husband and I both got new jobs, and we’re seriously considering baby #2.
I am switching jobs after 2.5 years at my current company. I have an excellent group of people that I work with that I am very sad to say goodbye to, but I am ready to work on consumer-facing products again. BTW, this is purely a lateral move.
All the projects I worked on were really challenging, fun, and interesting – but after 2.5 years, I am realizing that it has become a giant black hole in my portfolio. Because the nature of my work is highly proprietary and contains sensitive info, I literally can’t show anything.
“Why don’t you want a higher title and have more $$$”??
Pro Tip: In the world of the tech rat race, title doesn’t mean much, it’s all about how much you ask when you negotiate, and how often you move around once you reach a certain professional level.*
*It really depends on the company, TBH.
One of the best pieces of professional advice I’ve ever received was that blind loyalty to your company is one of the most detrimental things you can do yourself, professionally. There are so many statistics out there that have put those who rose up the ranks internally, climbed the company ladder slowly, ultimately made much less, and had less progress in the same span of time than those who moved around more. Especially in the current job labor market. There’s always someone out there willing to pay you more, you just have to go find it.
I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to realize this – as an individual contributor, I don’t need a bigger title to make more money. In fact, I have a lesser title than I did 3 years ago and I am making 2x more. I actually enjoy working as an IC and being in charge of my own work. One of the things I realized very early on once I reached a more senior level of my career was that I hated managing people. I hated dealing with C-suite politics, I felt like every time I had to take time out of my work to deal with other people, it slowed me down and made me less effective at my own work. Even though I was pretty good at managing people part of it, it just wasn’t my passion. I don’t mind doing it as a favor for my colleagues every now and then but once it became a regular thing, I was not a happy camper.
All in all, 2021 has been a very eye-opening year for me professionally. I’ve finally found that balance at this stage in my career where I can still hustle and do the things I want to do, without having some crazy arbitrary goal that doesn’t mean anything to me.
Seriously considering baby #2 after swearing I was one and done
Our first child is this perfect little guy who is just the cutest, happiest kid ever. He gives love and affection freely and is always full of joy (most of the time). To us, he is perfection.
Some really irrational part of me is saying, how on earth are you going to top that? You literally cannot make another perfect baby like him. Just quit while you’re ahead. But I know that voice inside my head is irrational, and maybe I am using that voice as an excuse. What I am truly afraid of is the:
- sleeping 2-3 hour intervals for the first 6 months
- endless pumping and cleaning of pump equipment
- sleep training
- maintaining a feeding schedule, cleaning and measuring everything
- the whole birthing process and recovery
- not being able to sleep on my back for 6 months
- getting huge again
- projectile vomiting (during 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimester)
- hormonal acne
- and the additional inevitable financial burden on myself and my husband for the next 30 years…
If only I was 26 instead of 36…
I’ve flip-flopped a few times on this issue. In my twenties, I was a firm believer that I did not want any children. When my husband and I first met, we agreed that if we don’t have children, it’s quite alright, as long as we can have as many pyrs as we can legally obtain. As soon as I hit 30, that narrative changed. We went from no kids, to maybe. That maybe was a tricky one. See, when I was 32, we decided that we can try for a year, and if we are successful, we will have one. He was game. Well, as soon as we tried, I became pregnant. But my pregnancy did not last, however, and I had a miscarriage. It was a very difficult experience (I truly believe that bereavement should include pregnancy loss but that’s another story for another time), but I was ready to get back on the horse as soon as I was able. As soon as my hormone levels were back to normal again, we tried again. Within two months, I was pregnant again with our current child. The first few weeks were great – but because of my first pregnancy, we didn’t tell anyone for a while. One of the first people that found out was my mom. I am normally a pretty active person and I am always doing something around the house if I wasn’t working on the computer. There were days where I literally had no energy to do anything.
I was just laying on the couch looking like an absolute vege, my mom walked past me and was like
“What on earth is wrong with you?”
“I am exhausted”
“why? you didn’t do anything”
I didn’t say anything for what felt like a minute…
She looked at me pensively, and then suddenly, her eyes rounded and her entire face changed,
“Are you pregnant???”
I continue being silent
Her facial express changed again, this time to that worst happy poker face ever.
“Alright I’ll leave you alone, just lay there and rest up.”
If I was that exhausted 3 years ago, I don’t know how I am going to deal with this one.
We bought a house
It’s STILL a crazy market right now. Some people think it’s going to crash and they’ll be able to afford something cheap again, I say there’s no way in hell that’s going to happen. If anything, it will finally plateau, interest rates will go back up, but the housing market will not go down. Why? Just look at the job sector. If you have a healthy unemployment rate as well as increasing wages in multiple sectors, housing isn’t going to go down. People will just have to move to more affordable places (if they can’t afford certain areas), but the desirable locations will still be popular, and expensive. Our house isn’t quite done yet, but it’ll be interesting when it is.