Not too long ago I was approached by and offered a Product Lead position at Facebook Seattle on the core application (Timeline and Profile to be specific). I took the time to hear them out, listen to all of the fancy perks they were offering; things like a sizable bump in salary, relocation, and the "once in a lifetime opportunity" they claim to offer.
But that's not what I'm after, and I don't think it will ever be what I'm after. If you wait for life to hand you an opportunity, you're not really trying to be your best self in my opinion. I don't ever want to be anything but my best self.
I gave myself a week in-between the final interview and the last conversation I had with them to put my head down and think about what I want out of my career. Here's what I came up with:
I want to be part of a passionate and talented team that has room to grow. But most importantly, I never want to feel like my voice and my skills are being lost in the mix of everyday business or buried in a sea of similarity.
I knew pretty quickly that I would never find that in a giant tech company like Facebook, and the more I pondered, the more I realized Very is already achieving that. I know my voice is heard here, I know that my teammates are the best at what they do from time spent with them in and out of the office, and I've experienced a tremendous amount of personal and team growth first hand in less than two years as a member of this team. It may have been one of those career changing opportunities, but so is working here at Very.
So why did I turn them down? Well, it really came down to the potential to innovate. I think we can all agree on some level that large organizations like Facebook can’t innovate to their heart's desire strictly due to their massive user base and sheer size as a company. I believe that in any company the size of Facebook that it's possible for talent to get buried under piles of red tape, and oodles and oodles of autonomous teams. I never want to be sitting across the room from someone I may never talk to — it is paramount for me to know the people I spend a huge chunk of my life with both professionally and personally.
This was an epiphany moment for me.
We [Very] are not a Facebook by design; we have room to innovate, and we have a collective passion to deliver innovation. Sure there are days when I feel like we could do more, but Very is a self-governed entity that fosters leadership and lets you kind of choose your own adventure. We aren't afraid to fail when failure is needed, and our diligence keeps us on our toes to adapt and grow on a daily basis. The one thing I wish we could do is take more risks more frequently, and that wish is coming to fruition one day at a time.
I turned down a crazy career opportunity because I think we can do much more exciting things here, and I’m happy to lead the charge into crazy land.