Time for the annual “write something on my blog about my life at the moment so I can have something to look back on in ten years” post.

Leaving Tesla

I officially left Tesla in May after a not-short but not-long one year and three months in the Bay Area. Quitting Tesla was a very weird experience. When I left Facebook, I gave a solid two months notice to my manager, and they let me stick around until my stock vesting date and everything. When I was discussing leaving with my coworkers (after I found out that my wife’s medical residency would be in NYC), the general consensus is not to announce your departure until the day that you plan to leave, since Elon apparently has a habit of axing people right before their stock vesting deadline. In practice, it made the whole endevour feel less like a parting of ways and more like preparing a last will and testament - probably the intended effect of such an arrangement.

That being said, the Tesla engineering culture was one of the most singular cultures I’ve ever been a part of, and one which I think a lot of other places could learn from, so I figured I’d write some notes about what I liked and disliked about working there.

Getting (Properly) Married

Shortly after leaving Tesla, my wife and I had our full-blown, post-Covid wedding with all of our friends and family. It was amazing and I highly recommend it (although I’m glad we were already legally married before hand, because the planning process was pretty stressful). We went on a honeymoon to Hawaii where for the first extended stretch in a long time I didn’t use the internet at all.

Chi and I have known each other for a long time - since we were both Freshmen in college. When we first started hanging out it was in the context of both of us being interested in neuroscience, computer science and generally nerdy stuff, and when we started being involved romantically, having a base level of respect for each others’ interests, motivations and intelligence helped carry us through some of the weirder aspects. Put simply, I’ve never really wondered why I want to be with her and I know what she adds to my life - so when it comes to making big life decisions (like quitting a job that I like and moving across the country), it feels less like a tradeoff and more like an exciting next step.

Moving to New York

Writing blog posts about New York is pretty played-out, so I won’t indulge too much, but man, it’s pretty different from anywhere else I’ve ever lived. It’s incredible to have so many people living so densely together in one place, and it means that things that wouldn’t make sense elsewhere in America - like having a doorman, or commuting by subway - make sense here.

That being said, on first impression, it feels like a city past it’s prime. The entire city smells like garbage because people leave their trash bags on the sidewalk. If you tried just leaving your garbage on the sidewalk anywhere else in America you’d probably get a ticket or worse, but it’s just the way things happen here. The subway is constantly late and compared to London, Seattle, or Hong Kong it’s like living in a third-world country.

Still, the feeling of walking in the shadow of history is pretty palpable. You can go to the art museums here and see artwork that you read about in textbooks (for example, The False Mirror by Rene Magritte, which the painting on the cover of The Mind’s I by Douglas Hofstadter, is hanging in the MoMA). The city has so much potential, and it’s an exciting place to be a young person with no obligations.

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