Ellen Huerta on Leaving Google

A raw, honest, beautiful post by Ellen Huerta on what it was like working in a well-paying, cushioned job at Google, and what it was like to bite the bullet and quit:

And then, as my month off came to an end, I decided on a whim to go to Joshua Tree for New Year’s with one of my close college friends, her boyfriend and a collection of their friends who lived in LA. As we were huddled around the campfire before midnight, in 20 degree weather, one of their friends began to ask me about myself. Almost everyone there was an artist of some sort, so I remember feeling shy about the fact I worked at a huge tech company. It was almost like admitting I worked for the IRS. He asked what I did for work and how long I’d been doing it and I told him. His response was, ‘So you must really like it then to be there for so long. What about it? What’s it like?’ It felt like so many questions, so intrusive, but he was just being conversational. I remember saying something nice (most likely I said ‘the people are great’ which is true), but I remember feeling defensive, like I was being tested. In reality, that was all in my head, but that was my light going off…for the first time I was recognizing inauthenticity in myself. I couldn’t stand it.

After that conversation, I wandered away from the campfire for a few minutes to get a better look at the stars. The moon had never looked so big. I could hear old school hip hop from our camp in the distance, but I was surrounded by absolutely nothing and no one, and I felt free in the universe. It was that moment that I realized I was truly free to do whatever I wanted in this world and it was completely up to me to make it happen. It was my life, and I had to stop caring what people thought about it. If I wanted to bake, I should. If I wanted to write, I should. If I wanted to start a company, I should. If I wanted to do nothing, I should. If I wanted to fuck up for once, I should. I was probably only out there for a few minutes before someone tapped my shoulder to go back to the fire (it was so cold that night your pee froze as soon as it hit the ground), but it felt like an eternity. Maybe I would have reached this conclusion had I stayed in San Francisco, but I really believe it was the magic of being nowhere that did it. Being nowhere forced me to stay silent long enough to hear what I hadn’t wanted to admit: I wasn’t living authentically. When I returned to work, I gave my notice immediately.

The key: authenticity.

What kind of leap will you be making this week?

 

Becoming Better Through Practice, Leading to Transformation

This post by @saulofhearts titled “I Was A Pretty Strange Kid: Or, How I Became An Expert in the Things That Scared Me” is timely for me. It’s about becoming better at things through practice, iteration, failing, and persevering. Here’s a passage on improving his dating skills:

Around that same time, I decided to get serious about my dating life. I’d grown up in a pretty repressed environment — thirteen years of Catholic school, a virtually non-existent dating life, and a family who never talked about sex, much less suggested I have it.

In college, I went straight into a long-term relationship. While my college friends were dating casually and having one-night stands, I was happily monogamous.

When my girlfriend and I broke up, I thought it would be just a matter of time before I ended up in another relationship. I’m not a virgin, right? I know what I’m doing….

What I didn’t realize was that my long-term monogamous relationship had covered up the fact that I was terrible with women.

I didn’t know how to ask a girl out, or meet someone new at a party.

So what did I do? I went on a billion dates. I set up an OK Cupid profile, sent out a bunch of messages, and arranged to have dinner with some of the girls that I clicked with.

I was scared as hell, terrible at making small talk — was it OK to mention Burning Man? weed? sex? — and most of the dates were awkward.

But over time, I got better. And I continued to challenge myself.

I went to workshops: tantric yoga, cuddle parties, an S&M club. I grewcomfortable talking about subjects that would have embarrassed my 10-year-old self.

This is the key takeaway that I need to repeat, repeat, repeat:

We’re not defined by the identity that we grew up with. We’re not defined by the expectations other people have of us.

It’s time to start becoming a better human.