What Do I Want from My Next Job? 2022 Edition

The last time I wrote about this was 8 days after I left my last position, at ActiveState. Since writing that post, I’ve continued to think about what I want, and my thinking has evolved.


  • Top tier TC1 or a 4 day week, and both would be ideal (but unlikely).
  • 5+ weeks of PTO.
  • Yes++ to Rust. No Java or PHP.
  • No companies in certain fields like crypto.
  • I want to do a significant amount of IC work, even if I’m in a management position.

Reflecting on how I felt last October, I was well and truly burned out. The past few years had been quite tough for me. In September of 2020, my mother died. Then a few months later, my father moved to Minneapolis from Florida. We purchased a duplex together. He moved in right away, and my wife and I moved in a few months later in April of 2022.

This was a lot to deal with. Soon after, some things had happened at my job that had made me unhappy. I think if this had been a different time in my life, I would have fought harder to change these things2. But at this particular time, I mostly felt exhausted and discouraged. I didn’t have the energy to tackle the issues that had come up. So instead, I waited until we sold our previous house, which gave us enough cash in the bank for me to take some time off.

I’m really glad I did that. This break has been fantastic. I’ve ended up coding more during this break than I did at ActiveState. It’s amazing how easy it is to write code when you’re the only customer and you can work on whatever you want.

But I’ve also been thinking more about what I want from my next job, and more broadly, what I want out of life3.

Working Less vs Compensation

Last time I wrote about this, I said this:

My number one criteria for my next job is being able to work 4 days per week (or less).

But I think this was mostly my burnout talking. While I do like the idea of working less, what I realized was that this should be a long-term goal too. That means that I should be willing to work a bit more now to work less later. Specifically, if I can retire earlier than average, that’s a lot less working.

So here’s my new number one goal:

I want to work less, but that doesn’t have to happen this year or the next.

All of which is to say that I think I’d be perfectly happy to take a higher compensation 5-day job right now so I can save a significant amount of money towards earlier retirement. I’m not aiming for the full FIRE. I’m already too old for that. But I think it’s realistic to aim to retire in my late 50’s or early 60’s.

But I’d still consider a 4-day week too, with the expectation that the highest TC jobs will probably require 5 day weeks.


I also said:

I also want at least 5 weeks of PTO per year.

This still seems pretty reasonable. I’m sticking with this one, especially if I’m working 5 days a week.

Languages and Technology

I’d still love to work with Rust. During the last 5 months I’ve mostly been writing Rust, and I’ve greatly enjoyed it. I haven’t touched Go since I left ActiveState, though I plan to refresh myself before I start interviewing in earnest.

Everything else I said in my last post about this topic still stands true.

Company Size and Stage

I’m still open to pretty much anything. If I want to focus more on total compensation, I think I will by necessity be looking at larger companies as well, and that’s fine.

IC4 or Management?

Same as last time. I’m open to either, but if I’m managing I’d like to be able to code as well.

Company’s Product

Again, same as last time.

  • No crypto/blockchain.
  • No social networking5.
  • No gig economy work for non-professionals.

I’d also add “no companies that use animals or animal products”, though this is uncommon in the tech field anyway. I guess I’d probably be avoiding many biotech companies because of animal testing, but given my skill set, I don’t think I’d be a good fit for that field anyway.

Narrowing it Down

My hard requirements are:

  • Top tier TC or a 4 day week, and both would be ideal.
  • 5+ weeks of PTO.
  • Yes to Rust. No Java or PHP.
  • No companies in the unacceptable fields I’ve mentioned.
  • I want to do a significant amount of IC work, even if I’m in a management position.

  1. TC = total compensation ↩︎

  2. Yes, I’m being vague. There’s no need to air dirty laundry. ↩︎

  3. I’m 48, which means my life is very likely more than half over. I think it’s good to keep that in mind as I make big decisions. ↩︎

  4. IC = individual contributor, aka not management ↩︎

  5. I also included “surveillance capitalism” in my last post, but it occurs to me I’m not 100% sure what that means. I need to think this one through a bit more clearly. I know I wouldn’t work for Facebook, but would I work for Google? My gut instinct is that they have many products that seems perfectly fine to work on, like GCP↩︎