Overcoming Money Fears

When I left Microsoft, I estimated I could live for 12 months on my savings.  I considered LazyMeter a 1-year experiment, and if things weren’t looking good by October/November, I figured I would reluctantly start job hunting.  It’s now mid-October, 10 months after I started, and something surprising has happened: I still have enough savings to last 10 more months.  In fact, after 10 months my savings has decreased by less than $10,000.

Money was of course the biggest thing holding me back from Microsoft.  What I didn’t consider was how much that I couldn’t plan or imagine would happen in a whole year.  Now I know that with a few months buffer, you can always make change.  I remember when I lived in New York City I met a high-paid woman in finance who had just quit her job because she realized she was not happy.  Likewise, I had a friend who relocated to Seattle to work for a large corporation.  She quit after about 2 weeks because she didn’t like it, despite having to pay back the relocation costs.  I thought they were both crazy and irrational for putting happiness first, but I was completely wrong.  We should be seeking happiness, and the money part always seems to work out – you can always find something to get by, like consulting or temping.

I also expected my quality of life to deteriorate during my one-year experiment.  If I hadn’t succeeded by the end of the year, I didn’t think I’d want to continue.  Yet over the last year, my quality of life has actually increased.  I am finally in control of my own life, choosing when to work and what to work on, and when to travel.  Of course I’ve had to make a few sacrifices – the biggest one giving up being a foodie – but a small price to pay for freedom.  And it’s gotten better over time, as I’ve learned to stop worrying about money and just do what I know is right (as I typed this sentence I realized it’s the same advice my grandfather gave me before he passed away).

I’m fortunate I haven’t run out of time.  I am now using the first working version of LazyMeter, and it has already changed my life.  I love how this story has unfolded so far, especially the resulting product.  Once the product came to life, all my fears subsided.  We’re getting very close to beta, the next chapter in our story.


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