Hi dear RIP Reader,
Welcome to my backstory page 🙂
You’ve probably already read Who I am, and you’d like to know more about my past.
I started blogging back in June 2016, mostly inspired by LivingAFI blog. I loved his “The Job Experience” post series, and I wanted to do something similar. While LivingAFI’s job experience is paved with objectively unpleasant experiences, mine has probably been milder even though within a couple of decades “The Man” destroyed most of my idealistic view of the workplace.
A priori, I was lucky enough – someone would tell that I built my own luck – that I only landed on “dream jobs“. A posteriori, none of them lived up to my own expectations.
Some dreams are better left as dreams.
Ok, I’m lying, freelancing has truly been awesome. 😉
Anyway, “my story” is not only centered around my jobs. I tried to also include my childhood and teen years, my dreams, my personal finance education, my wealth growth and more.
Note: I marked with an asterisk (*) the posts I’ve written long time ago, back in 2016. My writing style was very different from how I’d write about the same topics today. It makes me feel a bit ashamed: English writing quality was low, storytelling quality was meh. I think I evolved a lot since then. I plan to improve the quality of those old posts, given that they are evergreen and still got read a lot more than 4 years after having been published. I plan to re-edit or re-write most of them. Rewritten posts are marked with this weird symbol (§) that I never used for anything in my life since I type on keyboards. Let’s give it a meaning 🙂
First chapter (*) is about my preteen years, and the impact the various players had on my professional and financial education: my family, my school, my friends, my neighborhood, Italy, Rome, society in late 80s and early 90s…
Second chapter (*) is about my High School years, the teenage RIP and the conflicts with society – especially money related. Surrounded by broke friends who had more disposal income than I had, and helped by my father navigating the Money game.
Third Chapter (*) is about my University years. I started earning money while studying (private lessons, working in a lab, lecturing), I thrashed years of savings investing in an actively managed fund at the peak of the DotCom Bubble (!!!), and – unlike many students today – I graduated with no debt.
The Fourth Chapter (*) is the first one of my working career. I’m still attached to the Academia, working as a researcher and trying (failing) to complete a PhD in Machine Learning before it was cool.
On paper this was a dream job (#1). In reality, it’s been a waste of time mostly thanks to my crazy Tutor. It wasn’t until age 30 that I decided to “grow up” and get a real job. A bit too late.
My Financial Story – Chapter 4 – Dream Job Number 1: Research in Robotics
The Fifth Chapter (*) documents my hard decision to leave the Academia for good (Nope! Spoiler: just for 13 years, until September 2020!) and to follow another very deep dream of mine, Videogame Development. I played videogames my entire life, I still do when I have time.
I started coding at age 8 or 9 on a Commodore64 because I wanted to write my videgames! And I studied Machine Learning because I wanted to write impossible-to-beat AI for videogames, in an era where humans vs machine seemed a cool fight, when Kasparov lost against Deep Blue and so on.
So… another dream job on paper, that required relocating from Rome to Milan, destroyed by the needs of the most stressful and lower paying industry in the IT field.
My Financial Story – Chapter 5 – Dream Job Number 2: Videogame Development
I gave up on my Videogame development dreams after more or less three years filled by long hours, crunch time, high stress environment. Passion drained. I essentially stopped playing games on my spare time. Well, not exactly: I kept making games for myself after I quit the industry, and like every other passion of mine it never really goes away. When you start getting paid for it, it fades out a bit… but it never dies 🙂
I realized that my passions were all centered around Creativity, and Creativity must be silenced in a workplace. That’s why my Freelance years were the best so far.
Sixth Chapter (*) documents those two amazing years working for few companies as an external consultant, mostly in R&D. Plus teaching videogame development at Verona University! I more or less doubled my income, and I had a dream life!
What could have possibly gone wrong?
My Financial Story – Chapter 6 – Dream Job Number 3: Freelance
… then Hooli came, and you can’t say no to Hooli.
Seventh Chapter (*) documents my first 3 happy years at this Tech Giant that I call Hooli, my relocation to Switzerland, and the net worth skyrocketing. The real, final dream job… again, on paper.
Last 4 years have been a slow descent into darkness, that culminated with a 6 months sick leave for burnout in 2019 (1, 2, 3, 4), a last attempt to make it work into this golden cage by changing role and team, the final decision to quit in February 2020, and the actual quitting on March 31st 2020, in the midst of Coronavirus Pandemic.
When I wrote my backstory, back in 2016, that was it. I added an Eight Chapter (*) about “dream jobs left“, i.e, what I’d like to do when I’ll be FIRE. Reading that post today (July 2020) is a good reminder of how things change, and how you and I change needs and wants over time.
I’d still love to accomplish most of the things I mentioned in that post, but 4 years, a midlife crisis, a marriage, and a daughter later I can tell I’d better check off some of those TODOs from my list for the sake of my sanity and well being.
I must come to terms with my mortality. I won’t do the large part of what I put in that list, let alone the fact that now I have many more items I’d like to add to it. The list of not done yet things grows faster than my anxious brain can handle, and also faster than how the time I’ve left on this planet shrinks.
On July 2020 I published another chapter, 9a (§), which is an update on my career at Hooli, and its financial impact. I plan to write more about my time at Hooli, what went wrong, why the company and the industry failed me.
Chapter 9 is becoming a mini series itself. Chapter 9b is about some of the negative issues of working at Hooli and in general at large tech corporations.
I want to emphasize that even though I didn’t have a great and fulfilling career (except from a monetary point of view), I still recommend anyone to work there and try their own luck!
Chapter 9c is about Corporate Bullshit at Hooli (not only). Frustrating issues, inferior to the main problems I’ve faced in the previous chapter, but over 7.5 years they do accumulate and destroy from within.
Is “my story” over? Of course not! I’m writing bits of it everyday 🙂
I plan to:
Write another post (Chapter 9d) about my Hooli experience.
- Write a Chapter 10 / Dream Job #5: Funemployment to document the awesome 5 months between the end of my Hooli experience (March 31st 2020) and the beginning of the new Academia job (September 1st 2020).
- Write a Chapter 11 / Dream Job #6: Principal Research Engineer to document my new adventure back in Academia. Maybe this time I’ll wait a bit before getting excited by high expectations 🙂
- Maybe write a new post about the Dream Jobs Left Revisited now that I’m a more mature and less idealistic person. Am I, really? Maybe more conscious of what I could and want to do, and much more conscious of what I won’t do in this lifetime. Aging sucks.
Have a nice day!