corporate tech is not for me...maybe

wanted to see if anyone here has (after 10+ years of work experience) come to the conlusion that a corporate big tech job isn't for them?

when i started in my role i was in a small team on a recently aquired start-up in a public company. now that team has basically been disolved in favor of a larger vision and "mission". with this, my role has evolved into something that does not map to my career aspirations generally, and unfortunately I feel the big shift happened when I got a new manager and my old manager became my skip-level manager. I often wonder if i'd feel the same if my manager stayed the same...but we never know the counterfactuals in life so...onwards...

while i've continued to "do as is needed" at meet and exceed performance expectations, I can feel that my heart is no longer in it. i've started the job search in earnest this year with some good leads, interviews and glowing feedback on my resume from a number of recruiters which has given me confidence not only in my marketability, but also my job preparation; however, i find myself wondering if a move into a smaller tech company or start-up aligns with my long-term desires for the kind of life i want to live. as i get deeper in the process i'm anxious about picking a job that could lead to the same place..a desire for something else.

generally i can do really well in the corporate work enfironmvent from a performance perspective when i'm engaged, motivated, learning and feel that there is a supportive and psychologically safe environment. i'm a Black woman, and that type of environment is HARD / nearly impossible to find for any prologned period of time.

i often dream of owning my own shop, buying and selling things i love from creators i admire, and spending my time growing veggies in my garden, spending more time with my dog and hiking outdoors. I know that i'm really good at leading people with empathy and care, so managing has come relatively easy for me...but I think I fear the plunge it would take to leave the security of benefits, a steady paycheck and that level of predictability, despite feeling that another 9-5 isn't the long-term dream for me. to add to it, my husband and I are ready to start trying for a child soon, so I worry about jepordizing these "golden benefits" that i've worked so hard to get.

anyway, hoping to get some tips, inspiration or words of encouragement about my path, how i could get moving on developing that dream of owning a small buisness and spending more of my days in nature and outside than behind a screen in the throws of capitalism.

thanks for reading!

tutti's profile thumbnail
I had a 22 year career in tech as a design leader is startups, design firms, and large companies. I loved 1. The problem solving and product thinking of design, 2. the ability to mentor teams, and 3. The possible impact of changing the world through better digital products. Even with that, there were bad weeks, months, sometimes years struggling with difficult bosses, wondering if I’m doing enough, wondering if I was in the right or best place for me.I ended up leaving corporate tech in 2019. I’d considered leaving before to create a small design studio with a trusted partner but he backed out. I left out of necessity after a personal hell year and realized that I couldn’t do it anymore.Now, a little over two years later, I run my own business and this career feels absolutely right for me. I spent the six months training as a certified coach. Now I do a mix of coaching, consulting, workshops, teaching, and writing. All within the personal transformation space. I also coach people who want to leave and want to create a plan on how to do so OR if it doesn’t feel financially right, how to pursue your own things without the corporate job. So it is possible!
annamiller's profile thumbnail
Hi there, thanks for sharing your experience on here. This is something I consider a lot for myself as well, how to spend more time in nature and pursue more personal interests. Moving into a smaller-mid sized company can be a good move for finding a better culture and more interesting work. Along those lines, you can start understanding how much money you need to live on, what your expenses are and how much you can save. These numbers can help you figure out a way to live and work so that soon enough you can dedicate more time to nature and less to work at a company, and perhaps focus on building your own business as well. Happy to chat further, feel free to DM to setup a short call.
sliang's profile thumbnail
Yes to getting specific with $$! It can be such a simple way to bring something that feels overwhelming into a more manageable state.
rachelserwetz's profile thumbnail
Hi! Given what you're writing, I'd recommend pursuing career exploration, which is a process that is distinct from and a precursor to the job search, including a series of steps of practical learning and self-reflection in order to compare, contrast, and clarify which career path you are confident in pursuing. THAT is the process whereby you can confidently narrow in on which role, industry and environment is the best fit for you. In fact, I've helped numerous professionals to figure out, clarify, and pursue their ideal career direction. While pivots might seem big and scary, they're often more feasible than you think, but you at least deserve to identify which path would be the best fit for you first, and then determine what your strategy, approach or next steps would be. By the way, I'm Rachel Serwetz, a Career Exploration Coach (iamwoken.com), and I'm happy to chat further if you'd like! (calendly.com/woken/demo )
sliang's profile thumbnail
I hear you Zonia14! And I can feel that the fears are large and looming but I can also sense your heart wanting a seat at the the table. I can sense it through the sweetness of the dream you shared with us, when you flat out said “my heart is no longer in it” and when you noticed the anxiety that came with having to pick a new job.You have wisdom inside of you and I’d encourage you to get in touch with that. Sit with your yearnings and feel into them. Reflect on what your life is asking of you at this point. As for inspirations, @tutti story is pretty great <3As for the how, that will come with uncovering and understanding more of your story. It might be helpful to have someone guide you in that process as our peers have said above :) I’m here for you, if you’d like to connect.