Goodbye Google, San Francisco, California, and United States
Post from July 31, 2013 (↻ September 29, 2022), filed under Everything Else.
I’m resetting my life. I’ve quit at Google, I’ve quit my apartment in San Francisco, I’ve sold most of what I own and put the rest in storage. I’m now about to backpack the world to pursue my studies and goals and to build a new life somewhere else. Where? I don’t know yet. But knowing what to do is more important than where to do it.
Here’s a candid, biased, incomplete Jens eye view on the last few years of my life.
Figure: My dear Masa’s Google j9t doodle.
- I worked hard.
- I wrote two HTML/CSS frameworks (Go, superseded by Maia, continued by the great Tony and team).
- I (re)wrote and published Google’s HTML/CSS coding guidelines.
- I invented a system to measure and grade the overall quality of websites.
- I worked on making a giant code base more robust, scalable, and maintainable.
- I wrote the only valid Google homepage (or pseudo-homepage).
- I redid Google’s error page.
- I was the Google developer behind one of the main campaigns to end SOPA and PIPA.
- I was the Google developer behind Google’s Transparency Report at the very beginning of the project, Google’s Privacy Centers somewhere in the middle of the project, and the Literacy Project at the very end of the project.
- I was a Google developer behind a lot of things.
- I worked on call.
- I was a firefighter.
- I paid attention to detail.
- I got promoted to a Senior rank at Google.
- I worked with a team of almost 100 webmasters on building some really great websites. (Once a webmaster, always a webmaster.)
- I worked on things I cannot talk about in public (agreements).
- I worked on things I wasn’t so good at.
- I worked as a Technical Program Manager for a while.
- I read five books (some good) and got one certificate (all useless) on project management to make a serious effort.
- I became a Webmaster again.
- I wrote a handful of posts for the Webmaster Central Blog.
- (I wrote less and less and less everywhere else.)
- I saw a team rise to stardom.
- I saw a team being betrayed.
- I made mistakes.
- I became afraid of making mistakes.
- I was in rooms (as opposed to company events) with David, Kent, Larry, Linus, Lorraine, Nikesh, Patrick, Rachel, Vic, Vint, &c. (And sometimes I have worked with them, too 😉)
- I also worked with and met Bharat, Dimitri, Eric, Ian, Matt, Paul, Tab, &c.
- I worked with my team!
- I resolved more than 1,000 work-related requests.
- I filed 100s of such requests (also against myself 😊).
- I submitted 1,000s of code changes.
- I reviewed 1,000s of code changes.
- I cleaned up 1,000s of files.
- I followed 100s of Google mailing lists.
- My performance has been rewarded numerous times by numerous Googlers.
- I rewarded the performance of numerous Googlers numerous times.
- I worked with fantastic people. (Thank you!)
- I didn’t gain weight and I didn’t grow gray hair 😊
- I collected Google t-shirts.
- I never wore them.
- I donated them to an internal, inofficial Google t-shirt museum which later got disbanded.
- I saw a lot of googleyness.
- I saw a lot of ungoogleyness.
- I fell in love with Google.
- I almost fell out of love with Google.
- I quit at Google.
- I bought a 1997 BMW 740iL and put 43,000 miles on it.
- I paid 50¢ at every intersection (efficient braking vs. constant brute force acceleration).
- I got pulled over three times.
- I never got caught speeding.
- I had one accident.
- I was never at fault.
- I got at least four different people carsick.
- I flicked at least 20 people off. Or 50.
- I got flicked off at least 10 times. Or 50.
- I made a serious attempt at stopping to flick other people off.
- I learned to… respect the DMV just like every other American.
- I experimented with 133 new activities, sports, or professions.
- I learned a ton of things, without ever hurting myself.
begun writinga book about what I did and what I learned.)
- I did Muay Thai for more than three years (at Gym 445).
- I found that improv and perfume making are awesome and that sewing indeed sucks.
- I owned two handguns, though not concurrently (a Glock 17 and a Springfield XD-9).
- I felt very odd every time I, European, stood in my kitchen, cleaning my gun.
- I sold two handguns (to a dealer).
- I became a pescetarian then a vegetarian then almost a vegan then almost a fruitarian. (All you need to know is that I’m a happy vegetarian.)
- I quit smoking.
- I quit drinking.
- I quit drinking tea.
- I quit drinking coffee.
- I got hooked on coffee again, but only on Four Barrel mochas.
- I began to only and exclusively drink water (when not having a mocha, that is).
- I stopped playing games.
- I stopped watching TV.
- I stopped watching shows.
- I stopped watching movies.
- I started watching movies again.
- I stopped listening to music.
- I still never really figured out where to stop.
- I started feeling bad when I drank a coffee and watched a film. (Up to this day, this is me when I’m totally down.)
- I evolved my dress style from no idea and no idea and no idea over suits and hats and boutonnières to loafers and cardigans and lapel pins.
- I wore Adidas sneakers and t-shirts for travels.
- I wore Adidas sneakers and t-shirts for special occasions like surgeries and moves.
- I got my eye sight restored.
- I got
- I got trained by a pick-up artist.
- I learned I don’t need to get trained by a pick-up artist.
- I never had my hair longer than one third of an inch.
- I made acquaintances and buddies and friends.
- I didn’t make any enemies.
- I was nervous about my Social Security Number.
- I was very safe.
- I became a disaster service worker for San Francisco.
- I was prepared for disaster (there are regions where that makes sense).
- I only experienced one really really tiny earthquake.
- I started knocking on wood.
- I became a certified security guard.
- I became a certified security guard with baton, taser, and other trainings and permits.
- I had nine plants.
- Of the nine plants, one was probably always dead, another one I grew myself (out of an avocado pit).
- I did speed dating.
- I did online dating.
- I did too much dating.
- I did too little dating.
- I was in two and a half relationships. Or so.
- I broke hearts.
- My heart got broken.
- I sometimes was an idiot.
- I sometimes was a very fine person.
- I sometimes was a very fine European ambassador!
- I loved San Francisco.
- San Francisco loved me.
- I was a regular in at least seven parts of town (Haight-Ashbury, Mission, Japantown, Inner Sunset, Outer Richmond, North Beach, Downtown).
- I never went to Alcatraz.
- I knew the city well.
- I had a blind spot in the South-West of San Francisco.
- I also had a giant blind spot with Northern California.
- I studied a lot at YakiniQ Cafe, Tart-to-Tart, and Caffe Greco.
- I neglected some of my friends (bad).
- I rarely neglected myself (good).
- I got a whiteboard for my living room and used it for my studies.
- I read 1 then 3 then 5 then 10 now 15 books a month.
- I found my purpose.
- I found I had to move on.
- I traveled to Washington D.C. and New York City and Boston and Cambridge and New Orleans and Austin and Los Angeles and Denver and Honolulu and Las Vegas and and and at least 20 places in the Bay Area, including East Palo Alto (haha for the mention) and Alamere Falls (haha for giving up on the first attempt).
- I traveled the world in a planned fashion (18 countries on 5 continents in 6 weeks in 2012).
- I prepared to travel the world in a freestyle fashion (2013).
- I trained my humor.
- I got a bit neurotic.
- I had an amazing time.
- I learned a lot.
- I didn’t become good at goodbyes.
That’s where I am now. Onward.
I’m Jens, and I’m an engineering lead—currently manager for Developer Experience at LivePerson—and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.
If you have a question or suggestion about what I write, please leave a comment (if available) or a message. Thank you!
I just wish you all the best, you did (probably) too much good work 😊 So, I hope you’ll find what you’re looking for and live happy! Thanks for all the knowledge sharing!
On July 31, 2013, 23:59 CEST, David said:
Congrats, Jens! You’re going to keep us posted on what’s to come right!?
wow - what a great post.
i wish you nothing but the best Jens.
Be safe - have fun - enjoy life - keep us posted 😊
Sounds like you’ve had a (mostly) good life in the past! Good luck for whatever you will do in the future!
Best luck for the future. It seems that life in San Francisco was another one as in Bremen… 😉
Enjoy Your life
On August 1, 2013, 6:42 CEST, Matt said:
Congrats man! Good luck.
On August 1, 2013, 6:55 CEST, Christina C. said:
Miss you already! And you’re invited to come warm my house anytime.
All the best!
Have fun 😊
All the best, Jens. I hope you’ll find your peace and the sense in your life.
On August 1, 2013, 8:29 CEST, Ansgar Hein said:
This post sent shivers down my spine. Amazing, just like you. And since you take yourself with you, no matter where your travels may lead you, you will most likely always be happy. All the best! Enjoy!
Goodbye. Hello. And all the best!
Wish you all the best, on and after your trip. Maybe there is a chance of meeting each other somewhere in this great small world? Sincerely yours, your “favorite” project manager 😉
On August 1, 2013, 9:32 CEST, Bastian said:
Bääm! Loved to read this. Enjoy!
On August 1, 2013, 10:02 CEST, Martin Stehle said:
Thank you for your post. I wish you the best on your way.
Meet you in the land of hope and dreams.
On August 1, 2013, 11:09 CEST, Simon Owen said:
Nice read, good luck in the future 😊
On August 1, 2013, 11:14 CEST, Kai Laborenz said:
Enjoy your trip and stay save!
Impressive. Good luck with whatever may come from now on 😊
On August 1, 2013, 15:54 CEST, tobs said:
On August 1, 2013, 18:05 CEST, Knut said:
All the best for you, Jens. After a couple of weeks you’ll see the world with different eyes.
On August 1, 2013, 18:23 CEST, Michael Klein said:
Jens, da schau an - alles Gute bei dem Trip!
I hope you’ll be able to keep up to date your CSS Properties page. I find it really valuable and use it a lot. Safe travels!
Lieber Jens ich wünsche Dir alles erdenklich Gute auf deinem zukünftigen weg. Falls er dich in meine Gegend verschlägt bist du herzlich eingeladen 😉
Wow, you beat us to the exit–we’re about 4 years behind you. Hopefully we’ll see you ‘around the world’ somewhere. (You’ll need to be near the coast since we’ll be in a boat.) 😉 Cheers and good travels.
On August 6, 2013, 11:57 CEST, Holger N. said:
Just seeing this.. nice story which makes me don’t head down on this working day.
Thanks for sharing and inspiring!
Bon voyage, old classmate! 😉
Haha awesome blog post. All the best for the future Jens. Cheers
Jens, I wish you all the best for your future! I really can understand your step. It’s better to try new things instead of rather than regret not having done it.
Thank you very much for this really great and detailed post. Hopefully it wasn’t the last.
Maybe this is interesting to you, too:
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