Pandemic Job Hunting
TL;DR: I'm leaving Facebook and joining Plaid! I'll be working on the Developer Experience team, alongside some awesome folks, and backing a mission I support dearly.
In January of 2021, I decided that it was time to move on from Facebook. The culture wasn't the same as it was during my internship, and I felt myself being constrained by the process of a large company. So I went job hunting!
My primary requirements, inspired by Facebook's shortcomings, were:
- A remote role: Facebook refuses to allow employees to continue working remotely unless they are IC5+ (Senior+). Because I've been working remote since well before I joined Facebook, I had more remote-work experience than my team, but was denied from transitioning to a remote role because of my level. We had all been working remotely since the start of the pandemic, so why would we split remote work by level?
- A smaller company... much smaller: Large companies, and FAANG in particular, have processes in place to help safeguard their systems from technical accidents. But at Facebook's scale, this leads to constant reviews by different XFN teams, an exponential amount of weekly "alignment" meetings, and a culture of fear around shipping even well-tested features. At a smaller company, I hoped to have more ownership over my projects, where I could be the one deciding when a project was ready for production and be trusted to deliver it reliably.
- A mission I can back: It's no surprise that working at Facebook has it's ethical challenges. However, it's incredibly difficult to say no to $300k for your first year out of college. (Especially when it's your only offer.) As time went on, I realized just how vehemently I disagreed with Facebook's ethics and just how little influence I and other ICs had on the decisions the company made. This was a huge, huge, motivator for me to look externally versus just switching to a more silo'd team.
While I interviewed at several companies (from 50B+ to <10M market caps), I can't go into details for all of them without making this post suuuuper long.
After all my interviews, and examining my offers, I decided on Plaid. Let's dive into that list from earlier to see why!
- A remote role: The role was fully remote, Plaid didn't even have an office in Seattle! What I particularly liked about Plaid's approach to remote work was that entire teams were remote. I've worked in an environment where teams can be partially remote, and there is always a disconnect between the team members in the office vs. those that are remote. Water-cooler talk is a real phenomenon, and is a strong force against remote employees.
- A smaller company: Plaid has ~500 employees. That's a couple of magnitudes down from Facebook's 50,000 employees. Plaid's size is at that tipping point where we can still act like a startup with high ownership, and I can contribute the lessons I've learned working at a large company as we grow over time.
- A mission-based goal: Plaid's goal is to democratize access to financial infrastructure for the next generation of fintech companies. By building a "discrete tool" to interface with the technical behemoth of the financial system, Plaid is opening up the industry to more innovation, ultimately giving people the power to shape their own financial future.
- A time of growth: Visa recently made a bid to acquire Plaid for ~5B. Unfortunately, anti-monopoly laws foresaw a long legal battle ahead of that acquisition. I'll be transparent: I saw the opportunity to join before Plaid's next raise and potential IPO. I could end up in some fortunate "golden handcuffs" at a company that I loved working at.
I don't want this to be a "sell" for Plaid, but I can't not mention some pretty cool perks:
- A Workstation Set-Up Bonus: It's critical for remote teams to feel confident with their workstations at home, and this helped a lot towards that!
- Unlimited PTO (that people actually take!): Nearly everyone I talked to made sure that they didn't let "unlimited" PTO intimidate them into not taking PTO. Some people I chatted with comfortably took ~8-10 weeks a year! Pair this with our 21 company-paid holidays, and I could tell that Plaid wanted us to be well-rested and invested in our work-life balance.
- A Learning Stipend: The first time I've had a learning stipend, I'm excited to use this to up-level my skills and support the community of course creators I follow on Twitter.
- A Generous Wellness Stipend: I have this ambitious goal to live to 2100. Investing in my health is going to be the #1 contributor to getting there.
Overall, I'm incredibly excited to start working at Plaid, and can't wait to start enabling next 🌊 of fintech companies! I'll be blogging throughout my time here, as I continue to learn more. Follow me on Twitter for updates!