Changing vessels

Some of you may have heard it already, but I haven't really broadcast it yet: 31st March was my last day working at Google, and probably my last day as a professional software engineer! I wanted to hold off announcing it until after April 1st, to avoid any suspicion of an elaborate hoax, but now it's the 4th, I think it's safe: officially, I'm now unemployed. Some more details to answer what people have been asking me most often:

Why? I like to think that it was inspired by this wonderful SMBC comic. While not following exactly, I had been doing coding for around 10 years (4 at university, 6 at Google), so it was time for a change. Additionally, it's a good time to change - I was finishing a project at work, I had to move out of my apartment anyway, I have no dependents (partner/kids) and working at Google has made me financially stable, at least for the next SMBC 'lifetime', 

There were a few other (relatively minor) things at work which made the decision easier although I can't go into much detail. They were certainly not the deciding factor, but having started to do many non-CS MOOCs, and finding this (and personal projects) much more interesting than work coding, I decided it was time to switch full-time. It's possible I'll give up after a year or so and coming crawling back to free food and stable employment, but hopefully this next lifetime will be as long and enjoyable as most of the last!

What next? My plan for life #2 is more along the looking for facts/truth part of the comic: I'm hoping to switch into Psychology/Neuroscience - or more particularly, an undergraduate degree in Cognitive Systems at UBC in Vancouver (if they accept me...). This has the best mix of Psych/Neuro I could find in a city that seems really nice to live in, gives me a little while to pick a specialty (both the philosophy and psych tracks look good). This also means about 5 months of 'holiday' until it starts - some of that is actual holiday (like now - in Paris then London! Probably NZ at some point too), definitely expect more blog updates and coding on my github, plus catching up with folks in Adelaide / Sydney, and a few attempts at more creative writing (stories/music/...).

Assuming all goes well - let me know if you're visiting Vancouver!


  1. Congrats and enjoy your break! Hey, let us know if you do get into UBC - Seattle isn't that far away. And I'm guessing Vancouver has another advantage- skiing! (though not so much this year.) njh is into machine learning at the moment, btw.

  2. Congratulations patrique! I know a number of people who are doing what you are doing now! (Not the actual study but the life changes) If you need anymore life inspiration (although seems like you're doing well enough on your own!) Check out my friends blog at she has taken some big risks and is starting anew! (Also currently lives in Vancouver so may have some ideas for you) Good luck with your new venture! Xx

  3. Bold move. Wish you the best of luck, Pat.

  4. I have so many questions! I think about doing this every day...

  5. Thanks all for the wishes!
    One update: UBC accepted me, and I have my visa, so in Vancouver in June and start the degree in September...which also means three months holiday :)


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