Everything that's happened in the last five(!!) months

A Hero's Journey

Friday, July 19, 2024

Hey there Reader,

So this is a little awkward...I just upped and ghosted ya'll for a little over five months (my last issue was on New Year's Eve). But, I have to say, at least I called it:

I can already tell I'll face one critical challenge next year: time and energy bandwidth...So the question remains: will I manage to balance all the things, or will A Hero's Journey be a little quiet next year? -- Me, writing to you on New Year's Eve.

And the truth is, I'm still figuring it out. I don't know what I will do with this newsletter and my writing at large this year yet. Turns out, I was pretty spot-on in my last issue on how my renewed focus on personal growth and getting a new job might sap my bandwidth away from this newsletter and my writing.

I'm not complaining, but let's get into it before I digress too much.

A New Chapter in My Career

Less than a week after I sent my last issue, I got my first official offer from my job search. Three days later, I got my second one. And two days after that, I got my third. Never before in my career have I had multiple offers to choose from, and boy, did it feel (really) good!

What's funny is that this job search wasn't all that long (about two months total, and that was also over the holidays, which meant there was significant downtime in there), yet despite that, it was highly successful.

I attribute this to one thing: clarity.

I was clear with what I wanted (type of company, type of work, and compensation), and because of that, I filtered out opportunities that weren't a good fit and honed in on the ones that were. So despite the short time frame (and holiday downtime), this search worked out where my four-five months of searching in the Spring/Summer of 2022 were unsuccessful.

In the end, I took my third offer. At the end of January, I started a new job as a Founding Software Engineer at a seed-stage cloud security tech startup that is technically still in stealth mode (we're soft-launching in June, so I can tell ya'll about it more then). Here are some of the highlights so far:

  1. I'm getting to make meaningful product and engineering decisions in my day-to-day work (i.e., I feel empowered for the first time in my career).
  2. I'm treated like an expert in my field (front-end engineering) and leaned on for expertise/perspective a lot.
  3. I work with a talented team with a high bar for execution.
  4. My company's co-founders (aka my bosses) genuinely want to see me succeed at my company and beyond.
  5. I'm working harder than ever before (significantly so), but because my work feels more impactful, I'm enjoying it so much more. Also, because our product is so new, it's relatively easier to build new features compared to working on a 4 to 5-year-old codebase.
  6. I'm making way better money than ever (I was definitely under-employed as a Software Engineer before).

Of course, no job is perfect. I don't always agree with my team on how to go about some of our projects, and not all the work I need to do is enjoyable, but overall, the pros far outweigh the cons. Plus, I feel empowered to speak up and encourage adjustments if something isn't sitting right with me.

I'm also learning enough lessons to write a running blog series on working at a small startup. More on this towards the end of this issue, though.

A Personal Renaissance

Outside the new job, I've also had a great year so far, personally, from exploring new relationships to preparing for a move to NYC later this year to embracing two new hobbies.

Towards the end of last year, I decided to take up salsa dancing again and took a couple of 1:1 lessons before I left for NYC for the holidays. Well, when I got back home, I continued taking 1:1 lessons and started going to group classes too. Now, I go to the studio to take a class at least once a week, usually twice!

It's hard to understate how big of a deal that was for me and how much nervousness I needed to overcome to get here. Still an amateur, by the way, but I'm getting better.

And in March, I also decided to try yoga and boy, did I find a winner. Yoga makes me feel good, both physically and mentally. And while I only go once or twice a week right now, I may be looking to up my frequency soon.

Moving to NYC

In my last issue, I didn't quite outright say it, but I plan on moving to Manhattan in September of this year. And it's getting more and more real the closer we get. This summer, I'll be apartment-hunting! I almost can't believe it.

This move means a few things to me:

  1. It's a signal that I'm betting on myself and taking action to make affirmative changes in my life based on my desires/needs. Agency and self-efficacy are something else, let me tell you.
  2. It's a chance to live in an actual city—surrounded by tall buildings, no more car commutes, and interactions with far more people every day. A chance to both feel incredibly small and like there's limitless potential simultaneously.
  3. It's going to push me to new heights. Something about the buzz of the city and the rush of relocating, I feel is going to really spur a brand new chapter of my life into fruition.
  4. It will expose me to a whole new array of interesting people. I feel that I will not only make a whole new set of friends in NYC, but I will also meet a lot of well-matched bachelorettes (and maybe even my future wife, one can dream). I feel like NYC has way more people like me (or who would like me) than Phoenix does.

What's Next?

In my last issue, I mentioned that 2023 would be even better than 2022 (itself the best year of my life so far), and that has already proven to be true. Not even halfway through the year, 2023 is the best year of my life so far, again, beating 2022. And with so much time left in the year and so many plans still unresolved (like moving), 2023 is poised to leave me with many great memories.

So what's next?

  1. I will continue trying to excel in my day job.
  2. I will continue to dedicate time to learning and developing my salsa dancing skills.
  3. I will find/grow more ways to keep my body active—I want to be well-aligned with my physicality this year. Whether this leads to further weight loss is not as important as just the good vibes from doing it.
  4. I want to make money in my business this year (even if it's barely more than breaking even), whether from writing, consulting, or something else entirely.
  5. I want to launch a software product (I'm already well down the path of a project I'm calling PushBrand, which I will tell ya'll about more soon).

That's a lot, but it's achievable because these goals are extensions of things I'm already doing, i.e., I don't have to start anything from scratch to accomplish them.

Keep Me Accountable

So if you've made it this far, chances are you're at least a little invested in my journey (feels good to be seen). I want to start writing content again, so I will make two promises to you to keep myself accountable.

  1. I will write another issue of this newsletter two weeks from now (Thursday, May 25th).
  2. I will publish a story on Medium about working at a startup, kicking off that series I mentioned earlier.

If I fail to do either of those things, you're invited to (politely) reprimand me by replying to this email (or emailing me (at) millansingh.com directly).

That's all for this week's issue. Thanks for reading, and you'll see me in your inbox again next week!

If I can ask you to do just one thing, consider sharing this newsletter with a friend or family member. Here's the link so you can pass it along: https://aherosjourney.co/.


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Millan Singh

I'm writing about my journey to build, learn, and grow as a Creative Entrepreneur and Software Engineer. Stories about my job (I'm employee #2 at a seed-stage startup), entrepreneurial work, investing (a personal passion), and personal growth—a blend of professional and personal content.

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