Happy first Calmversary to me! I am revisiting where I was one year ago and where I am today.

I joined Calm for reasons that after a year, continue to hold true.

  1. I deeply care about mental health. Back in 2016, I was going through a period of extreme anxiety and couldn’t sleep for weeks. I tried everything, but it wasn’t until a friend suggested the 7 Days of Calm that I slept through the night. The Calm app introduced me to mindfulness and I’ve been deeply happier along the journey. I continue to be fulfilled by working on a tool that brings tranquility to millions of people.
  2. Career growth. Calm is a growing company and my specialty of consumer subscriptions is core to the success of the business. Every day is the right balance of new, challenging problem shapes I haven’t seen before and opportunities to hone skills that I’ve been developing for years.
  3. Table stakes: I want to genuinely like the people I work with, receive a fair compensation and have plenty of time in my life for the things that keep me happy and healthy – exercise, friends and a long list of hobbies.

After a year of leading a remote team in the midst of a pandemic, driving forward large, business-critical projects and nonstop thinking about how to scale engineering capabilities, I’ve concluded a number of things about myself:

  1. I’m certain that my career is in engineering leadership. I am far more useful to the bottom line in enabling teams and driving execution than I am as an individual contributor. Starting at Calm as a manager (rather than transitioning into management at a company) gave me the “full taste” of being an engineering leader by setting the expectation from day 1.
  2. This job is really hard. Every single day, I’ll jump from having emotionally taxing one-on-one conversations with direct reports and immediately context-switch into something technically complex while trying not to be the blocker on five different projects and then into a strategic product planning session with too many stakeholders and opinions to count. I am a lot more forgiving to myself and to others when mistakes happen, given how much is going on.
  3. I’m not yearning to go back into the office full-time. While I am a 10/10 extrovert, I can’t imagine spending every day scuttling between conference rooms or squeezing in the time to look presentable in person after a hard morning workout. 😅

Someone asked offhand at a happy hour recently: “does anyone really love their job?” and I didn’t miss a beat to say, “I love my job!” While this is partially driven by my conscious decision to look at the bright side, it’s honestly been a great year, and I’m extra grateful to my team at Calm for the laughs and camaraderie while building our beautiful product.