The worst career choice I ever made was walking away from a six figure salary software development job with benefits to focus on the small startup I co-founded just a few years earlier. My wife and I had two small children at the time and my wife was also nearly 8 months pregnant with our third. It resulted in an approximate 70% reduction in income, prematurely cashed out 401k and loss of existing health insurance.

To be fair, it was also simultaneously the best career choice I ever made. Three years later I make more now than I originally walked away from. The raw roads of stress, anger, fear and complete uncertainty have aged both me and my wife at an accelerated rate but we have grown closer to each other than we would otherwise be. We have relied on each other, and she has been unbelievably supportive with all the late nights and required traveling. We discovered what we are capable of. In one day it will be October. In one day it will be the month that we finally pay off our last batch of credit card debt that resulted from that career choice.

I cannot recommend following in our footsteps as from where I’m sitting there are much better, more calculated ways of going about it. Logically, what we did was beyond stupid. Luckily for us, we were still young enough to not grasp the full magnitude of stupidity and we also refused to fail. It’s also crucial to have stellar business partners who are just as crazy and just as determined. We have all labored tremendously and we have each played critical roles in our success. The hard times of fear and uncertainty aren’t over. I don’t think they will ever be, to be honest. But, it sure has been one hell of a ride. I wouldn’t change a thing.

  • 33
    Congratulations! I'd never have the courage to walk away from a permanent job until I'd already built up a reasonably profitable side business, so props to you - that takes committment! :-)
  • 15
    Out of curiosity, what on earth sort of dev job were you doing to net 6 figures?!
  • 5
    @Brolls The question we all are thinking
  • 6
    You won't recommend the path. But anyone who takes the path, even with n times better planning, will still learn things only the hard way.

    Life is a bitch.
  • 1
    Out of interest, are you now working at your startup?

    What was it?
  • 1
    @AlmondSauce thanks. It was a terrifying leap for sure.
  • 2
    @Brolls @monkeyname

    Probably payments/banking.

    I work for a pretty big payments company and do 6 figures, but thats in AUD. So /shrug
  • 4
    @Brolls I was a software engineer for a company making litigation/data discovery software. Lots of rich law firm clients.
  • 2
    @gymmerDeveloper I'm sure you are right, the same lessons will end up being learned and usually learned the hard way. If people want to try to break the mold and do their own thing, all power to them, I definitely encourage the pursuit of a dream. I just don't necessarily encourage *my* exact path.
  • 2
    @rusty-hacker yes, I'm now working full time for our startup. It's pretty great. Still crazy amounts of work, but there are also days like today. Today, I played 18 holes of golf with existing clients and prospective clients. It's awesome.
  • 0
    Which area did you work in?
  • 0
    Thats what i write.
  • 0
    @busybeemel it was a full-stack gig. Database down to UI.
  • 0

    Have you showed this post to your colleges and wife?
  • 0
    what company?
  • 0
    @Brolls working at one of the big companies MS, Google and such have those salaries.
    I have six figures salary also. I also walked away from my self employment to work for such a company. In 2 month I'm self employed again.

    Worked 2 years for one of those big companies and was great. Hard to get in, but once that hurdle is done. It's really good on the CV and such.
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