Why I am leaving a place I love

At the end of this month, I will be leaving the company where I have spent the past eight amazing years. I am not sure I can adequately explain my motivation (decisions of this nature rarely have a single cause) but I will try.

Not all decisions in life can be data driven. I am leaving because it simply felt like it was time for me to leave. I will use three metaphors to try to convey how I feel. I hope this may help others who are in a similar position.

A picture of me looking out over Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.
A picture of me looking out over Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.

Booking.com’s mission is to make it easier for everyone to experience the world. Our jobs are part of our own experience of that world. We could spend our entire lives sitting in one place, but most of us don’t. Many of us crave travel. We want to see new places. We want to experience new things.

We leave our homes not because we don’t like it there; we leave because we want to see what else is out there. I am leaving because I want to see what is outside my current company, and I chose my new job because it is different.

Most of us get up before Sunday noon (on most weeks, anyway). We could stay in bed longer and into the afternoon. We could lie in and enjoy the warmth just a little bit more. But if we stay too long, the day will be gone, and with it many opportunities to experience the world.

I am not leaving now because of something that is happening now; I am leaving now because I fear I will regret not leaving now later. FOMO made me do it.

I was a student once. I stayed up late. Meeting new people and constantly reinventing myself trying to figure out who I was. Making plenty of mistakes, but constantly learning. I collected memories which I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I think back to those times often and fondly. I also know that I would not go back to that life now even if I could.

In some sense, I have been missing my first few years at this company already during my last few years at the very same company. Things are different now. I am different now. This is as it should be. Time is a funny thing, and change is the only constant. My staying or leaving makes no difference to the relentless passage of time.

Reminiscing about something is not the same thing as longing for something. I will continue to miss parts of the past, and that is okay. My long tenure at this company is an indication of how much I loved, and still love it there. It is an amazing place to work and I will dearly miss many of the people there. But there are more places to see; and so little time. It is time for me to move on.

I am leaving a place I love.

Thanks to Kristofer Barber for helpfully suggesting improvements and additions to an earlier version of this article.

I help people run experiments to make better products for customers. I explain science using historical narratives and teach statistics through storytelling.

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