This is the seventh chapter in my financial story series. In the previous chapter I became free. Here I’ll show you how cool is a golden cage. In next and final chapter I’ll show you what the future looks like.
I’ve split this chapter in several pages to keep them shorter than the total 3000 words I ended up writing. At the end of the page you’ll find links to other pages.
Note: I have
stolen copied been inspired by “the job experience” post series by livingafi. I loved reading his series and I’m trying to do something similar here, where I analyse both my work and finance history/goals.
Disclaimer: This chapter will be different from the others, since I still work at Hooli and I don’t want to compromise work relationships I have established here. I won’t tell much about Hooli, sorry about that!
We closed last chapter in summer 2012 with “life was amazing back then…”. It really was! I was working 2.5 days per week in Tuscany and some weekends in Veneto. A lot of money to be ‘stashed. I kept spending very little, I was still car-free and never purchased expensive clothes or gadgets. I was (and still am) fully detached from consumerism. I don’t feel joy in spending or in fancy new stuff. I’m actually proud when I cut an unnecessary expenses. I feel true power when I don’t spend.
Anyway, I saved a lot during the exponential growth of 2012. All those extra money went directly in my bank account. No complex investment strategy, I was not good at it. Just cash or short term CDs.
The only problem in sight was the VAT thing. I had few options:
- Work till end of June, reach 30k euro of revenues and stop working till end of the year to keep the same fiscality for the next year.
- Work till end of September, reach 45k euro of revenues and stop working till end of the year (or eventually take a 3 months sabbatical during summer and then work Oct-Dec) and face the issue next year.
- Work the whole year and retroactively adapt to the normal VAT regime. Very bad.
- Reach 45k, get hired by someone (NavalCompany?) and then close the VAT account and become employee again. Very very bad.
I would probably had gone for option 1 or 2. I wasn’t caring too much, I hadn’t Financial Independence in my mind. This lifestyle of working 6-9 months per year and taking long sabbaticals seemed the best I could have. Anyway, the convenient fiscality was only allowed for 5 years, then you’ve to switch to a normal one, which means my lifestyle was unstable anyway. But who cares? Something will surely happen!
And it happened.
It was beginning of April 2012 when my friend and former magic door coworker Virgil called me: “Hey RIP, Hooli is amazing! We are hiring a lot. Why don’t you try to join me? Send me the CV and I’ll refer you internally. You will skip a phone screen but you’d still have to pass 5-7 interviews… let’s try! You’re smart, you can do it!”
I: “I don’t know Virgil, I’m really happy with my life as it is today. I don’t know if I can go back to work for a boss again. Well, Hooli is Hooli and I always dreamed about working at Hooli! I don’t actually feel skilled enough! I’m getting old and I know you hire the best of the best.”
Virgil, for example, he was very talented. He was the definition of software engineering. Super smart and resourceful. I was not as good as him. Virgil: “what the fuck are you saying? Send me that CV! You’re one of the most solid and talented engineer I’ve ever met!“
I: “Ok, let’s give it a try…“
I sent the CV, I was contacted by a recruiter, I did a phone screen, I won an onsite interview and that was my first trip outside Europe. It has been an intense couple of months, where MissRIP had a lot of patience, having to deal with me spending time in Tuscany, in Veneto and weekends and free time studying Algorithms and problem solving. Two amazing months culminated with a phone call on a Friday night: “Hey RIP, you did it! You passed the interviews! You’ll soon be contacted again for the actual job offer!”
I couldn’t believe it. I was in Pisa, couchsurfing, and I couldn’t believe it. I knew 4 out of 5 onsite interviews were very good but the very last one was not. I did it! I really did it!!!
I prepared myself for negotiation anyway. Even though I knew the offer would have been very generous, I knew too that the Hooli interview process is very tough and the few who passes it are very desirable by the company. I did prepare myself studying Swiss salary range for my job description, both at Hooli and in the country. And yes, it was going to be a six digits one! I never had a six digits salary!
I looked up expected salary range on glassdoor for Hooli employee and I ended up expecting something around 110k Swiss Francs (CHF) gross per year. Given the CHF to EUR currency exchange proportion was roughly 5 to 6, it would have been a close 6 digits in Euro too.
Ok, how did I came up in Switzerland and not outside Europe? I thought about that very deeply and I’m still very proud of my decision. I didn’t want to move too far from family, friends and my lovely Miss RIP. Plus, the feeling after the 10 days visit of Hooliland was not super good. They had this office in Switzerland, country which I knew very little of, that excited me. I’ve always liked the Swiss mindset: precision, cleanness, peace. As a plus, it’s closer to both Rome and Milan. Let’s move to Switzerland!